This is a moderately challenging circular hike which takes you past a beautiful 400-year-old dragon tree (El Drago La Gomera). You will walk through lush vegetation and a forest of cacti and agave plants and have spectacular views of the surrounding ravines and mountains.
Basic Information – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
Introduction – Hiking On La Gomera
If you like hiking, you will love La Gomera. The island has the most incredible variety of landscapes, with steep cliffs overlooking rocky coastlines, and inland the coast gives way to volcanic peaks, dramatic rocks and staggeringly steep ravines.
In the heart of La Gomera is National Park Garajonay, with damp, dense forests of moss-coated trees. It seems a world away from the sunny and arid south coast. The variations in climate result in a vast range of plant life in La Gomera, where you will find cacti, lush green forests, palm trees and banana plantations.
Although the climate varies dramatically as you move around the island, the temperature is surprisingly constant. You are unlikely to experience temperatures much outside the 15-25 deg C range at any time of year. This means that the weather is almost always perfect for hiking.
However, the most significant advantage for us was the sheer volume and range of hikes on La Gomera. The Garajonay National Park has an incredible network of well-defined trails, many of which have been designated as “recommended routes.” These numbered routes, or “rutas,” are signposted and easy to follow.
The only downside of hiking on this wonderful island is that you won’t find a trail without some elevation gain. Also, many of the trails are high with steep drops and definitely not for the faint-hearted. If you dislike heights, check your routes carefully before setting out.
Overview – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
This is a moderately challenging hike, it has some steep sections, and for a time, the trail is difficult to see as it follows the dried-out river bed.
We found the route on the app Alltrails.com; it is entitled “Ruta 21: Alajero-Agalan”. You can view the route on the app without a subscription, but for a relatively small amount, you can subscribe and download maps for offline use.
Some clambering over rocks and pushing through bushes is needed. It is a beautiful hike but something of an adventure. If you prefer a well-defined trail, you can ignore the loop and return to the village the way you came.
There is a steep climb up the side of a mountain towards the end of the hike, but there aren’t any of the dizzying drops you find on some La Gomera trails.
Prepare – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
There are a few things to note before starting this hike:
- Footwear – parts of this hike are steep, rocky and uneven; we recommend wearing sturdy hiking shoes or boots.
- Trousers – After El Drago, the trail narrows, and you will need to push through bushes and dodge cacti; it is better to wear full-length trousers, and there is a chance that any clothing could get snagged.
- Sunburn – The coastal winds on La Gomera mean that sunburn is common. The sun here is powerful, and the cooling breeze can fool you into thinking you aren’t at risk. This is an exposed trail without much shade.
Starting Point – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
The walk starts in the village of Alajero. There are plenty of parking options. Firstly, there is a good-sized car park off Calle Fagundo near the Iglesia de El Salvador.
Alternatively, there is parking on the side of Calle Vega Viela, which you pass on the way out of the village. The only downside of parking here is that you will finish your hike with a steep walk up the road.
Route Description – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
The first part of this walk is relatively easy. You head north out of the village on a road and then move onto a good trail with little elevation change.
After a while, you will come to a long descent down steep stone steps to the dragon tree (El Drago La Gomera).
After the tree, you drop slightly through bushes, trees and cacti to a dried-out river bed. This is where the trail can become difficult to follow. You can’t go too wrong if you follow the river bed downhill, watch for the small piles of stones which will guide you.
After around a kilometre along the river bed, you turn left just before a small lake/reservoir and climb up the mountainside. It is a steep, hard climb but doesn’t have any scary drops off the side.
Once you reach the top of the mountain, you follow a good trail and then a narrow road back to Alajero.
Route Variations – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
There are a couple of alternatives we can suggest:
Option 1 – Hike to the dragon tree from Alajero, following the trail anti-clockwise out of Alajero, and then return back to the village the same way.
The advantage of this is that you avoid the difficult section of the route along the dried river bed. However, the downside is that it is a very steep climb back up the stone steps.
Option 2 – Park on the CV-19 around 1/2 kilometre north of Alajero village. Look for a layby on the left-hand side of the road as you head north.
From here, there is a trail that leads down to the dragon tree. This is the shortest route to the tree, but there will still be a steep return climb.
Points Of Interest – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
Of course, the main point of interest is the dragon tree. Known as El Drago de Agalan, this is the oldest (more than 400 years old) and largest dragon tree on the island.
It really is a magnificent tree, but some people are disappointed by the protective metal fence that surrounds the tree. However, although this may stop you from getting up close, it doesn’t stop you from admiring the tree and getting plenty of good photos.
This walk also has stunning views of the valley and surrounding mountains, and you will pass through palm trees and masses of agave plants and cacti.
The town of Alajero is worth spending a little time at. It is a beautiful village, on a steep mountainside with views down to the sea. Also, be sure to look for the tiny white Ermita de San Isidro perched high on Roque Calvario.
Pros And Cons – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
Pros – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
- Beautiful old dragon tree
- Spectacular views
- Lush varied vegetation
- Easy parking
Cons – Hiking To El Drago La Gomera
- Difficult route to follow
- A steep climb up from the valley
- Very little shade
In Conclusion: A Journey Worth Taking
So, you’ve made it to the end of this comprehensive guide on hiking to El Drago in La Gomera. From the lush vegetation to the awe-inspiring 400-year-old dragon tree, this moderately challenging hike offers a bit of everything. The trail takes you through a forest of cacti and agave plants, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding ravines and mountains.
While the hike does have its challenges—like steep sections and a route that can be difficult to follow at times—it’s an adventure that’s well worth the effort. Just make sure you’re prepared with sturdy hiking shoes, full-length trousers, and sun protection. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a newbie looking for a memorable experience, this trail offers a unique blend of natural beauty and physical challenge.
So, are you ready to lace up your hiking boots and embark on this unforgettable journey? Trust me, you won’t regret it.