Roque El Toscon above the banana plantations near Buenavista
Buenavista del Norte is the westernmost town on the north coast of Tenerife located on a shelf above the sea from which the mountains of the Teno mountain range rise abruptly. The town is the northern gateway to the range since a narrow and winding - but nonetheless very much traveled road connects it with Santiago del Teide, the largest of the Teno villages and towns. Herer - near Buenavista - the character of Teno range is quite in contrast to the ridge-and-gorge nature of the southern parts. The north of the range is composed by a large high plateau which suddenly drops to the northern coast in near vertical walls. There are ridges and gorges - but both are much shorter and steeper than the ones in the south. On the plateau you find several small villages, lying amidst barren and rocky fields and meadows. The locals keep flocks of sheep and goats and herd them all over the plateau and the gorges. Several old trails connect these villages with the north coast, mainly with Buenavista and neighbouring Los Silos.
One of these trails, Camino de los Riscos, runs from Buenavista through Barranco de la Torre to the hamlet Teno Alto on the high plateau. Its name already indicates its nature - a rocky path, often quite airy but never exposed. Where it heads out onto the plateau a ridge heads out towards the north coast, at the end of which you will find Roque El Toscon, a volcanic outcrop, towering high above the sea. It is set apart from the ridge by a little saddle, the main difficulty in the whole climb of the rock. Both sides of the saddle are steep, a chimney on the southern side, an exposed crest on the northern one.
While the views from Roque El Toscon are already quite impressive - Teide and the north coast on one side, the island of La Palma on the other - the real breathstopper are the colours you encounter on your route towards the summit. Much of the Teno Plateau is made up from sedimentary material, a mixture of sand, tuff and humus. Near Roque El Toscon the surface has been eroded away, creating beautiful "half-pipe"-like structures of red, orange and yellow. Unfortunately these structures are quite confusing when you walk through them and finding the return route from Roque El Toscon can be quite a challenge.
Climb this mountain in the early morning, while the faces of Barranco de la Torre are still in the shade. In the afternoon heat the climb can become unbearable.
Also, you can combine the ascent of Roque El Toscon with a climb of Baracàn
. The route from Buenavista to Baracàn, Tabaiba Pass and back takes about 6h and covers 1250m in elevation gain.
View along the north coast of Tenerife towards Teide
From the north
Take motorway TF5 through Puerto de la Cruz to Icod de los Vinos. Stay on the coastal road, now TF42, which takes you to Buenavista del Norte. Pass through the town (signs for Punta de Teno) and head out west along TF445. Right after you pass giant warning signs which advise you not to take the road in times of bad weather (floods, rockfall) there is a water reservoir to the left with a small parking lot. Here Camino de los Riscos starts heading out into Barranco de los Torres.
From the south
Buenavista del Norte is hard to reach from the southern side of the island. At least it will take a long time to get there.
Take motorway TF1 to its end at Adeje, wher you turn onto TF82 through Guìa de Isora to Santiago del Teide. Here you can take the mountain road through Masca to Buenavista (TF436), which is very narrow and very crowded - due to its beautiful views. You can also take TF82 to El Tanque, from where TF423 leads to Los Silos and the coastal highway TF42 which leads to Buenavista. From here follow the instructions above.
There is no actual red tape in the Teno mountain range. However, the land is used for farming and belongs to the locals of the area. They have agreed to hiking trails being created which traverse their fields but request that hikers stay on them. Also, any gates should be left the way you found them.
Of course you can find a lot of hotels, fincas and casas on the island which you can book from any travel office. The closest tourist locations are at Los Gigantes and Buenavista del Norte. The Teno mountain range can be easily reached from the towns in the north as well as the ones in the south and simply requires a 1h - 2h drive. In the villages of the range you can find inns where you can find a place to eat and maybe even to sleep. You should not count on the latter, however. Camping is not allowed in the Teno Range. The closest possible accommodation can be found at Buenavista itself.
There are several sites on the web which give you information on the weather on Tenerife. The following table shows data for Puerto de la Cruz on the north 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. The Teno and Anaga Ranges often are covered in clouds, though mostly along the north coast. It is a lucky day when there is no fog on the Teno plateau and on Roque El Toscon. Also, very often fierce winds sweep the summits.
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. 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
- Teneriffa, Tenerife
K.Wolfsperger, C. Ade
Rother Walking Guide
English - ISBN: 3-7633-4809-3
German - ISBN: 3-7633-4016-5