At 2576m Roque de la Grieta is number three among the rim mountains of the giant crater of Cañadas del Teide on Tenerife behind neighbouring Guajara (2715m) and Topo de la Grieta (2601m). It is a twin sumitted, mesa-like mountain with a sharp drop towards the crater and steep slopes on the outside. No actual path leads to any of the both summits but a popular hiking route passes close by roughly 150m beneath the main summit on the outside. This turns Roque de la Grieta into one of those rare mountains: easy to reach but rarely visited.
In addition, Roque de la Grieta boasts one of the best views on the Canaries, Rivalled only by Teide and Guajara: a wonderful panorama of the Cañadas del Teide to the north with faraway views towards Gran Canaria and La Gomera. On very clear days it is possible to see Fuerteventura 300km to the east and Lanzarote 60km further behind. But the main attraction is the crater of the Cañadas del Teide, a giant cauldron of 48km circumference, which was created when a predecessor of today’s Teide collapsed in a giant landslide which created the Orotava Valley in Tenerife’s north. Over the centuries a lot of the crater has been filled with lava flows from Teide, creating the Siete Cañadas, seven plains at different elevation levels inside the caldera.
One of these is Cañada de la Grieta, a sand and tuff filled basin at the feet of Roque and Topo de la Grieta, at the same time naming patron of both. Here, the giant north faces of both mountains rise for 600m – 700m above the Caldera. However Roque de la Grieta’s face is very brittle, lots of rockslides have created talus slopes beneath the mountain which rise up to about two thirds of its height. On its broad summit the ground is very soft, easily shifting towards a drop down the north face.
There are two trailheads for reaching Roque de la Grieta. One is the Cañadas Highway near the Parador Hotel, the other is near the National Park Headquarters at El Portillo.Both are connected by the Cañadas Highway (TF21)
There are four access roads to the Cañadas del Teide
- TF38 from Guìa de Isora (W)
- TF21 from La Orotava (N)
- TF24 (Cumbre Highway) from La Esperanza (E)
- TF21 from Granadilla (S).
The trailheads in the Cañadas come with parking lots. However, the ones near Parador Hotel and Roques de Garcia is notoriously overcrowded.
Route from Parador Hotel
From the dead end roundabout south of the hotel a hiking path leads southward in direction of Guajara. It joins a dirt road running through the Siete Cañadas beneath the north faces of the rim mountains. This road avoids the rock cities near Piedras Amardillas. After having circled the Guajara north face it heads to a spot beneath Degollada de Guajara, which separates this mountain from Montaña Pasajiron. A brittle, narrow path leads up to the saddle. Turn left onto a steep path which heads directly to the summit plateau of Montaña Pasajiron.
Beyond the plateau a path heads down a broad ledge towards the next saddle. The regular hiking route now turns right, avoiding Roque de la Grieta. Follow it to a spot where you have already passed the foresummit of the mountain. Here turn off and head up the south slopes of Roque de la Grieta. Make sure you stay on the right hand side of a 20m - 30m high basalt wall which serves blocks summit access from the west. Above the wall the slope gets shallow and turns into a wide summit plateau with a sudden drop towards the Cañadas.
Route from El Portillo
From the visitor centre cross the highway to hike down a dirt road, which heads down into the Cañadas. It splits after a few hundred metres and you need to take the left hand branch (trail No 2). Running eastward it hits an intersection, where you need to switch to trail No 8, which gradually heads for the caldera rim. In general you follow this path, which turns into a dirt road once you're on top of the rim and runs along its outside.
After having passed Montaña de la Angostura the road turns very rugged as it passes Topo de la Grieta and Roque de la Grieta on the outside (south). Before you reach the saddle with Montaña Pasajiron and east of the western foresummit of Roque de la Grieta you have to turn right onto the south slopes of the mountains which take you all the way up to the summit.
The summit of Roque de la Grieta is located on the border between the Parque Nacional del Teide which is composed of a giant volcanic crater the Cañadas del Teide with 48km circumference, and the Parque Natural Corrona Forestal, a natural park in which similar rules apply as in the national park. Trails are marked and it is not permitted to leave them. Strictly speaking, the summit should be off limits but this would apply to all other rim mountains except for Guajara.
AccommodationOf course you can find a lot of hotels, fincas and casas on the island which you can book from any travel office. The Cañadas del Teide have been declared national park so camping is not allowed. You might use the Parador Hotel which is supposed to be quite expensive, however. Better stay at one of the hotels at sea level and drive up by rental car or bus.
The closest villages are Vilaflor and Aguamansa to the south and north of the Cañadas, respectively. Both offer inns and hotels but are not among the most popular tourist destinations.
There are several sites on the web which give you information on the weather on Tenerife. However, they all show the weather for the coastal regions (Puerto de la Cruz, Los Cristianos, La Orotava) which significantly differs from the weather in the Cañadas del Teide which are 2000m higher. The following table shows data for Puerto de la Cruz on the coast.
|Avg. day temp.[°C / °F]||19 / 66||19 / 66||20 / 68||21 / 70||22 / 72||23 / 73||24 / 75||26 / 79||26 / 79||24 / 75||22 / 72||20 / 68|
|Avg. night temp.[°C / °F]||13 / 55||13 / 55||14 / 57||14 / 57||16 / 61||18 / 64||19 / 66||20 / 68||20 / 68||18 / 64||17 / 63||14 / 57|
|Water temp.[°C / °F]||19 / 66||19 / 66||19 / 66||19 / 66||20 / 68||20 / 68||22 / 72||23 / 73||22 / 72||22 / 72||21 / 70||20 / 68|
The Canary Islands are located in the trade wind zone. You almost always encounter northeastern winds which carry a lot of humid air. Being forced to climb to higher altitudes this moisture condenses into clouds. This in return means that most of the time the northeastern part of the islands is covered in clouds from altitudes of 1000m through 2000m.
The mountains themselves - being mostly of the same altitude - finally stop the clouds so that on their southeastern slopes the clouds "run out". In the case of Tenerife the Cañadas del Teide are so high that rarely ever you encounter fog or clouds. This on the other hand means that the whole area is very dry so be sure to bring your own water.
Maps & BooksOut of the multitude of maps and books I have been using the following. However, so far I have not found a good hiking map of the island. The one posted here is ok but shows only a fraction of the marked hiking trails. The guidebook is excellent but be careful if you do any one of the suggested "variations" to the tours described therein. The variations are described in a few words only and you might get the wrong impression of their quality.
Kompass Map WK233
Freytag & Berndt
- Teneriffa, Tenerife
K. & A. Wolfsperger
Rother Walking Guide
English - ISBN: 978-3-7633-4809-1
German - ISBN: 978-3-7633-4016-3
French - ISBN: 978-3-7633-4904-3
Spanish - ISBN: 978-3-7633-4700-1
- Teneriffa, Tenerife