One of the western Órganos towers
Los Órganos (the organ pipes) are among the many landmarks of the island of Tenerife on the Canarian Islands
. They are basaltic pillars of rock, about 100m - 150m high, overlooking the village of Aguamansa and the grand Orotava valley in the north of the island. As landmarks go, this is a hidden landmark, only visible from a short stretch of the road (TF21) which connects La Orotava with the Cañadas del Teide. You come upon this stretch as you leave the village of Aguamansa and within a few hundred metres you lose sight of Los Órganos again.
The organ pipes are located on the lower north face of Montaña la Crucita
at an elevation between 1300m and 1400m. They stretch along for several hundred metres in perfect east-west alignment before the mountain slope turns southwards to the west of the group. While the regular Órganos are perfect vertical pillars the structures in the south west rather resemble standalone towers with steep but non-vertical slopes. The rock quality stretches from "horrible" across "hopeless" to "wonderful". The latter types of rock you can find in the south-west of the formation, where firm basalt blocks are piled up across each other.
Los Órganos are accessible to hikers by a loop trail which starts and ends at the La Caldera recreation area. One leg passes underneath the structures (without granting too many - if any - views) while the upper leg heads through the easternmost faces and climbs to the top of the westernmost ones. In one or two places you can step out onto the pillars themselves, which stretch out for about 50m before dropping into the forest underneath.
The hiking trail is difficult for hiking standards - there is some considerable exposure while crossing through the eastern faces and the wobbling cables are rather of psychological value only. Since the area is exposed to the north-eastern trade winds it often is covered in dense fog which makes the paths muddy and slippery. Still it is a great place to go and the experience of standing on top of one of the pillars, looking out towards Teide across the wide Orotava Valley is wonderful indeed. A strenuous hiker can combine the Órganos Loop with the climb of Montaña la Crucita on the Cumbre Dorsal Crest by switching over to the northern part of Camino de la Candelaria.
As you can see from the pictures fog and mist often spoil the fun when completing the Órganos Loop. The rocks are positioned on the north face and you usually reach them just as the sun hits his topmost position. Therefore pictures of the rocks are often underexposed, especially when mist lights up the surroundings.
View across the Orotava Valley towards Teide
As one of the major European vacation getaways Tenerife can be reached from all major European airports. From Spain there are regular flights from the rest of Europe you can book lots of charter flights. On Tenerife there are two international airports, one at Santa Cruz in the east, one at Los Abrigos in the south.
You can reach the Organs Rocks most easily from the recreation zone La Caldera near Aguamansa.
- Take motorway TF5 to the exit La Orotava.
- Turn onto TF21 through La Orotava to Aguamansa.
- Some 2km after the village there is the huge picnic area of La Caldera, which serves as a trailhead to many hiking routes in the area.
Teide as seen from the Órganos Pillars
Los Órganos are part of the natural park "Parque Natural de Corona Forrestal". Open fire is forbidden anywhere except for the recreation areas. Furthermore quite naturally all usual restrictions for natural parks apply.
Of course you can find a lot of hotels, fincas and casas on the island which you can book from any travel office. The nearest towns are Aguamansa in the north and Arafo in the south. Both offer limited accommodation possibilities so it is advisable to stay at one of the resort towns and villages further down the slopes near the coast.
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) which significantly differs from the weather in the mountains higher up. 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 Canarian Islands (as well as Madeira) 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. It is exactly in this zone in which the Organos rocks are located. Often you have to deal with foggy conditions. Moreover, the paths can be wet and very slippery, especially where the path winds through the faces themselves.
Maps & Books
Out 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. Both parts of Camino de la Candelaria are described separately and excellently.
Kompass Map WK233
- Teneriffa, Tenerife
K.Wolfsperger, C. Ade
Rother Walking Guide
English - ISBN: 3-7633-4809-3
German - ISBN: 3-7633-4016-5