Even though Tenerife is an island with many spectacularm ountains and routes, the ridge traverse across Cumbre de Masca to Cruz de Gala and Pico Verde (also Montaña de las Rosas) is one of the most scenic routes on the island. The ridge connects Barracan with Pico Verde and traverses across the Tabaiba Road Pass which is an excellent starting point even though parking space is very scarce. It pays to be early as later in the day you can encounter busloads of tourists taking in the scenery.
A visit to Baracan to the north-west of the pass might seem like an unneccessary addition, however it is the best spot to scout the traverse to Pico Verde. It takes less than an hour (round trip) and serves as a good warm-up. The route from Tabaiba Pass to Pico Verde almost directly follows the ridgeline with several lesser summits to traverse before getting close to the summit.
It offers wonderful views into the canyons and barrancos on the west coast with the popular Barranco de Masca topping the list. The canyons are separated by narrow rocky ridges giving the whole area a very wild aspect. Right beneath the ridge, several hundred metres below you'll see the village of Masca, very popular among tourists and if you find a decent resting place you can admire the dexterity of bus drivers encountering one another on the very narrow road which leads to the village.
From the North
- Take motorway TF5 to Puerto de la Cruz and Los Realejos.
- Follow the coastal road (still TF5) to Icod de los Vinos.
- There the road turns into TF42, heads through Garachio and Los Silos and finally reaches Buenavista del Norte.
- Here turn onto the narrow TF436, direction Masca and Santiago del Teide.
- Drive through El Palmar and Las Portelas until you reach Tabaiba Pass.
From the South
- Take motoway TF1 to its end at Adeje.
- There either follow TF82 through Guia de Isora to Santiago del Teide or follow the coastal road TF47 to Los Gigantes and TF454 to Santiago. The latter route takes much longer but offers great coastal views.
- From Santiago take TF436 through Masca until you reach Tabaiba Pass.
- Start altitude: 820m
- Summit altitude: 1347m (Cruz de Gala), 1318m (Pico Verde), 1002m (Baracan)
- Prevailing exposure: NE, SW
- Type: Hike
- Protection: None
- Start altitude: 820m
- Effort: 2 - Elevation gain: 1100m
- Power: 2 – Strenuous
- Psyche: 2 – Easy with some exposure heading up to Baracán
- Difficulty: 1 - Easy
- Orientation: 1 – No marks but the path is plainly visible. Some sections around Cruz de Gala are hidden in the cloud forest.
The first summit of the day should be Baracán, a summit which stands to the north-west of Tabaiba Pass. It is less than 200m higher than the pass so it can serve as a good warm-up for the remainder of the day. Step onto the path which heads up the mountain's south-east ridge. It heads up a side summit, which stands directly above the pass. From there the route negotiates some rather steep and exposed sections bypassing by some rocks on the eastern side of the ridge. It then passes over to the western side and traverses the south-west face of Baracán thus bypassing the summit altogether. Once on the west ridge a path turns of east to head for the summit. After scouting the further route to the south-east, head down to the pass the way you came.
In the pass head down some steps in the direction of Las Portelas to where a path heads up to the long south-east ridge of cRUZ DE gALA. It heads up towards a first round-topped summit, staying close to the ridge all the time. There are fantasic views across the west coast and towards La Gomera here already.
After descending into a saddle the path turns towards the left side of the ridge, bypassing the next summit completely. It runs through the east face of this summit, climbing steeply and returning briefly to the ridge beyond the highest point. The risge turns towards the east and again the path dives under the tree canopy on its left hand side. Again a summit is bypassed but right at the base of Cruz de Gala's summit the path switches sides to traverse the mountain's west face.
The route heads for Degollada de la Mesa, the saddle between Cruz de Gala and Pico Verde from where an somewhat exposed ridge climb leads towards the latter's summit in the south-west. It is probably the best spot to marvel at the wild coastal landscape of the Teno Peninsula while at the same time offering an excellent view of Pico del Teide.
Turn back along the ridge towards Degollada de la Mesa, there turn right descending towards a forest road. Follow the road tu the east side of Cruz de Gala, where it intersects with a paved road, which heads towards the radio installations on the summit. After enjoying the views return until a dirt road turns off to the left. Follow this road until it harply bends towards the right. Head on straight onto a narrow path which leads through the dense (and dark) cloud forest, returning towards Sendero de la Cumbre. Turn right and descend the way you came towards Tabaiba Pass.