Take freeway R101 until its end at Ribeira Brava. After the long last tunnel don't turn to Ribeira Brava but to Serra de Água (ER104). Just at the entry of the village turn left and go up to the pass.
Altitude Gain: 700m
Duration: 3h 45min
Trailhead: Boca da Encumeada
A long but worthwhile ascent, this tour follows the western face of Pico grande towards Boca do Cerro, from where you follow the general ascent route. Boca da Encumeada is the lowest point in the central Mountain ridge so that most of the time the trade wind clouds cover it in mist. Our trail however leads away from the weather divide so that it is pretty save.
Start the tour a little below the pass (on the Serra de Agua side) using a gravel road which after several 100m turns into a narrow trail. Again the gorse bushes block the way; be prepared to obtain quite some scratches. At first the trail keeps level and heads along the sides of a valley. Afterwards it gets steeper and you climb through the lower parts of the western face towards Boca da Curida. From there follow the normal ascent.
Hiking gear and long pants (because of the gorse). Take into account that part of the hike is exposed.