December of 2015, I climbed Mount Teide. I went to the summit after hiking for more than 7 hours hike. The whole hike was full of experiences – exhaustion, solitude, star gazing, sun rise, achievement.
Mount El Teide is a volcano on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Its 3,718-metre (12,198 ft) summit is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic. At 7,500 m (24,600 ft) from its base on the ocean floor, it is the third highest volcano on a volcanic ocean island in the world after Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa in Hawaii.[ Its elevation makes Tenerife the tenth highest island in the world.
I remember when I was planning my hike, I had hard time getting all the definitive knowledge and after hiking a lot of people asked me about information. In this guide, I am gonna cover some details and options about hiking in Teide National Park and going to peak.
Permit to reach the Peak
One really important thing you need to know that in order to go to all the way to summit of Teide, you need to obtain a permit. This permit is checked at the upper station of Teide cable car lift. You can go without permit to 3,555, but in order to go another (tiring) 163 meters. you need the permit. You can obtain permit here online.
There is also a work around to go to peak without permit. The people who check permit usually arrives around 8-9 am in morning, if you can reach the upper lift before that time, there is no one to check the permit and basically you can proceed to hike to peak.
Any time to be in Tenerife is a good time. Weather is consistent and temperature is around 20 C round the year average. The temperature doesn’t gets too cold even at mountain, but there could be a bit of snow at mountain so that’s up to you. But I think the best time would be November. Less crowd of tourist this time.
In any case, you should go to mountain prepared. Don’t go there in your shorts and flip flops. Put on shoes with good grip, clothes in layers, gloves, plenty of water to drink etc.
Climbing the Teide
Based on my small experience, I found three options to reach the peak of Teide. If you experience other option, you can suggest them in comments
1- Montaña Blanca Route
- Difficulty: Advanced
- Distance: ~9 Km
- Elevation Increase: 1500 m
- Permit Required: Yes/No
- Experience: 99.99%
I took this route myself and I before I go into details, let me tell you, it’s worth all the efforts. I hiked for almost 9 hours but I experienced so many things on the way and I’ll totally recommend this route. Having said that, you need to take into the account the increase in elevation and distance. You should only choose this route if you’re physically fit and had some experience with high altitude before.
The hike starts from small parking of Montana Blanca, it’s 3 kilometers away from the lower station cable car lift. My recommendation is to drive there around 10 or 11 in night. Park your car there and start the hike.
It may sound strange but hiking at night much more fun at Teide. First, there are no wild animals in the National Park so you don’t need to worry about it. Second, the Teide National Park is one of the best places in Europe for star gazing. Due to lack of light pollution, sky is dark and you can see a huge number of stars.
The hike of 4.6 kilometers from the the parking, half way to the hike is pretty simple, trail is wide enough and the altitude is also not too high. You have to be here around 2:30 in morning the latest, if you wanna make it to the peak around sunrise.
During this 4.6 kilometers from start of hike, you can see Huevos del Teide or Eggs of Teide at several places. These are the giant accretionary lava ball shaped stones. These balls of magma were ejected from the volcano and rolled down the mountainside to the bottom.
From here, the summit is 4.7 kilometers and the camp is 2.5 kilometers. The hike gets tough as the trail becomes narrow, air gets thin and it becomes more windy. Also, be careful not to get lost because sometimes you’ll get off of the trail. If you feel like you’re not headed on the trail, go a few steps back and see if you’re right or not. Continue hiking from here and in 2-3 hours, you should reach the Altaviste Refuge camp.
At the camp, if someone let’s you in, take a bit of rest. You should be at camp around 5:30 the latest. From here you can join the other hikers. From here the peak is another 2 hours hike.
First you have to reach the upper station of Teide cable car at 7 latest if you wanna see sunrise from peak and avoid the people who checks for permit.
The upper lift is at 3,555, and to summit it’s only 163 meters. But the trail get’s really steep from here as you can see in the picture
It can take 30-45 minutes to get to peak from here. Give it a try and when you reach there, you’re gonna see the sunrise from there.
For the return journey, after enjoying sometime at peak, return back to lift and wait there for them to start. You can buy tickets at the lift station. Lift will take you lower station in matter of minutes. For there, you can take buses or you can try to hitch hike.
As you can see, this hike if done at night has so much to offer. But please beware that after 3000 meters, air gets thin and can cause altitude sickness. Also the elevation increase in this hike is 1500 meters, that’s like taking stairs from ground floor of Burj Kahlifa (Tallest building) to top floor two times.
2- Cable Car to Altaviste Refuge to Peak
- Difficulty: Medium
- Distance: ~1-2 Km
- Elevation Increase:
- Permit Required: No
- Experience: 66%
Another way to reach the peak in morning is to is using the cable car in afternoon to upper lift station the day before and then spend the night in Altaviste Refuge. Altavista del Teide Refuge consists of two buildings and is equipped with a first-aid room, dining room and kitchen. It has three dormitories with a total capacity for 54 people. The rooms are heated and beds are fully equipped with sheets and warm quilts, so you don’t have to bring a sleeping bag. It has toilets and washbasins, without showers. The Refuge sells hot drinks, soft drinks and water and it is also possible to heat up food.
Since the capacity is limited, you might wanna book the camp a bit earlier. Keep in mind that you’ll have to take your food with you for night. You can start the hike to peak around 6 in morning with other people staying in hut. And the rest of the experience is pretty much the same as I described above.
If you take this approach, you’re gonna miss out hiking in National Park and spending a night alone with thousands and thousands of stars.
3- Cable Car to Peak
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: ~1-2 Km
- Elevation Increase:
- Permit Required: Yes
- Experience: 33%
This is the easiest approach and with the least experience approach to scale Teide. Basically in the morning you take the cable car and from there you hike the last 166 meters (vertically) to the peak. I am not sure it’s worth it 🙂