A Guide to Gran Canaria’s Top Hiking Trails

First published on March 15, 2024 and last updated on March 31, 2024
Mountain direction road signs in Gran Canaria
Mountain direction road signs in Gran Canaria

There are an array or different activities in Gran Canaria to do for those visiting this wonderful island, not least of all hiking. With it being renowned for its diverse landscapes, ranging from sandy beaches to rugged mountains and lush forests it makes it a paradise for hikers, offering a wealth of trails that cater to all levels. In this post, you will discover some of the top hiking trails in Gran Canaria, each offering a unique adventure. From towering peaks to serene valleys and ancient forests, these trails invite explorers and holiday-makers to discover the island’s natural beauty and cultural richness.

Roque Nublo Trail

Roque Nublo(Nublo Rock) on Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

The Roque Nublo Trail is one of Gran Canaria’s most iconic and beloved hiking routes, leading adventurers to the majestic Roque Nublo, an 80-meter tall volcanic rock monolith that stands proudly as a natural monument and symbol of the island. The trail itself is a moderate hike, approximately 1.5 kilometers long, and can be completed in around an hour, making it accessible for most fitness levels.

Roque Nublo on sunny day

Starting from the La Goleta car park, the path winds through a stunning landscape of pine forests and rugged terrain, offering hikers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the serene beauty of the island’s highlands. As you ascend, the views become increasingly spectacular, with panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, volcanic craters, and, on clear days, the neighboring islands in the distance.

The climax of the hike is reaching the base of Roque Nublo, where hikers are rewarded with awe-inspiring views and the chance to stand beside this towering geological wonder. The area around Roque Nublo is also a perfect spot for rest and contemplation, allowing visitors to soak in the tranquillity and majesty of Gran Canaria’s mountainous landscape.

view from roque nublo

Camino de Santiago

Gran Canaria’s Camino de Santiago is a lesser-known route compared to its famous namesake on the mainland of Spain. This trek stretches across the island, offering a unique journey through diverse landscapes, including verdant valleys, ancient forests, and traditional villages.

Gran Canaria’s version allows for various starting points, with one popular route beginning in the southern coastal town of Maspalomas and culminating at the church of Santiago de los Caballeros in Gáldar in the north. This trail, spanning approximately 66 kilometers, can be undertaken in several stages, making it a versatile option for both seasoned hikers and those looking for shorter, more manageable sections.

The route passes through several towns and villages where hikers can explore local traditions, cuisine, and historical sites, including ancient religious landmarks and archaeological remains. The path also offers stunning natural beauty, from the arid landscapes of the south to the lush greenery of the north, showcasing the island’s rich biodiversity.

One of the highlights of this trek is the ever-changing scenery, providing a vivid cross-section of Gran Canaria’s varied ecosystems. The path also winds through different altitudes and climates, offering hikers the chance to witness the island’s unique flora and fauna.

Pico de las Nieves

Pico de las Nieves stands as the highest peak in Gran Canaria, reaching an altitude of 1,949 meters above sea level. This summit offers one of the most spectacular vantage points on the island, providing panoramic views that span across Gran Canaria and, on clear days, extend to neighbouring islands like Tenerife, where the impressive silhouette of Mount Teide can be observed.

The hike to Pico de las Nieves presents a challenging yet rewarding journey, attracting those who wish to conquer the island’s highest point. The trail can vary in difficulty depending on the starting point. One popular route begins at Cruz de Tejeda, offering a more gradual ascent, while more adventurous hikers might opt to start from lower altitudes, such as San Mateo or even Agaete, which make for a longer and more strenuous hike.

The terrain towards the summit is diverse, with paths winding through pine forests, rocky landscapes, and alpine vegetation. As hikers ascend, the environment changes, revealing stark, rugged beauty and dramatic cliffside views.

Barranco de Guayadeque

Barranco de Guayadeque, Gran Canaria, Canary Island

The Barranco de Guayadeque is a remarkable ravine located between the municipalities of Ingenio and Agüimes in the eastern part of Gran Canaria. This area is not only a natural wonder but also a cultural treasure, steeped in history and home to some of the island’s most significant archaeological sites.

The ravine itself is a lush oasis snaking through the arid landscapes of the surrounding area, offering a stark contrast to the island’s coastal regions. Its steep cliffs and rocky formations are dotted with a variety of endemic plants and flowers, making it a botanist’s paradise. The trail through Barranco de Guayadeque is relatively easy to navigate, with paths that meander along the valley floor, following the course of a seasonal stream.

What makes Barranco de Guayadeque particularly special is its historical significance. The area was a vital habitat for the pre-Hispanic inhabitants of the island, the Guanches. Evidence of their presence is found throughout the ravine, with numerous cave dwellings, burial sites, and granaries carved into the cliff faces.

Hiking through Barranco de Guayadeque not only provides a physical journey but also a journey through time, offering insights into the island’s geological formations and its ancient cultures. The trail is accessible for most hikers and provides a peaceful retreat into one of Gran Canaria’s most enchanting landscapes.

Tamadaba Natural Park

Gran Canaria, Natural Park Tamadaba

Tamadaba Natural Park, located in the northwestern part of Gran Canaria, is a pristine natural area offering some of the most spectacular landscapes on the island. This park is known for its dense forests of Canary Island pine, rugged mountain terrain, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Teide volcano on neighbouring Tenerife.

Tamadaba Natural Park is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park features a network of well-marked trails that cater to all levels of hiking experience, from leisurely walks to more strenuous treks. These trails meander through the pine forest, offering glimpses of the island’s unique flora and fauna, including several endemic species.

view from Park Tamadaba towards Teide on Tenerife

One of the highlights of visiting Tamadaba Natural Park is the viewpoint at El Balcon, a natural balcony that provides stunning vistas of the Agaete Valley, the pine forest, and the rugged coastline. On clear days, the view extends across the sea to Tenerife, making it an ideal spot for photography and sightseeing.

The park also serves as an important ecological site, playing a crucial role in the conservation of the island’s biodiversity. Its remote and relatively untouched landscape has helped preserve the natural environment and provides a sanctuary for wildlife, including birds of prey, lizards, and a variety of plant species.

Cruz de Tejeda to Teror

Cruz de Tejeda at Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

The hike from Cruz de Tejeda to Teror is a captivating journey through the heart of Gran Canaria, connecting the high-altitude crossroads of Cruz de Tejeda with the historic town of Teror. This trail offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and religious significance, making it a unique and enriching experience for hikers.

Cruz de Tejeda, situated at an elevation of over 1,500 meters, is not only a major crossroads for several trails but also a scenic spot known for its impressive views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The hike to Teror descends through diverse landscapes, including pine forests, rural farmlands, and rugged terrain, showcasing the island’s varied ecosystems.

olf farm in caldera de bandama gran canaria

The trail is approximately 10 kilometers long and takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete, making it a manageable day hike for those with moderate fitness levels. Along the way, hikers can enjoy the changing scenery and the peaceful ambiance of the island’s interior.

Gran Canaria, panoramic view of Teror

Teror, the endpoint of the hike, is one of Gran Canaria’s most important religious and historical towns. It is renowned for the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pine (Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino), which is the heart of religious pilgrimage in the Canary Islands. The town’s charming streets, lined with traditional Canarian architecture and wooden balconies, offer a delightful contrast to the natural landscapes of the hike.

Exploring Teror after the hike provides a wonderful opportunity to experience the local culture, with its historic buildings, artisan markets, and local gastronomy. The town is a living museum of Canarian heritage, making it a fitting conclusion to a hike that encapsulates both the natural and cultural richness of Gran Canaria.

Los Tilos de Moya

Los Tilos de Moya is a lush forest located in the northern part of Gran Canaria, renowned for its dense laurisilva (laurel forest), a type of subtropical rainforest that once covered much of southern Europe and North Africa. This forest is a relic of the Tertiary period and provides a rare glimpse into an ecosystem that has largely disappeared from the mainland.

The trail through Los Tilos de Moya is relatively easy, making it suitable for families and hikers of all skill levels. The path is well-maintained and winds through the heart of the forest, enveloping visitors in a green canopy of laurel, ferns, and moss-covered trees. The atmosphere in the forest is often described as enchanting, with frequent mists and the sound of birds and running water creating a serene environment.

In addition to its natural beauty, Los Tilos de Moya has educational value, with information boards along the trail providing insights into the ecological and historical significance of the forest. The area is also part of the Doramas Rural Park, which aims to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of this unique landscape.

Caldera de Bandama

caldera de bandama

The Caldera de Bandama is a striking natural landmark located on the eastern part of Gran Canaria, near the capital city of Las Palmas. This large volcanic crater, with a diameter of about 1 kilometre and a depth of around 200 meters, offers a unique geological spectacle and a glimpse into the island’s volcanic past.

The hike around and into the Caldera de Bandama is a fascinating experience for those interested in geology and natural history. The trail around the rim provides panoramic views of the crater and the surrounding landscape, including vineyards, farmland, and distant mountains. This circular route is relatively easy and takes about an hour to complete, making it accessible to most hikers.

For the more adventurous, a path leads down into the caldera, allowing visitors to explore the crater floor. This descent is steeper and more challenging but rewards hikers with a closer look at the volcanic features, such as the different layers of rock and ash, and the unique vegetation that has taken root in this fertile soil.

The area has been used for agriculture for centuries, particularly for vineyards, and a visit to the crater can be combined with wine tasting at local wineries. The region’s wine-making tradition adds an extra layer of interest to the hike, offering a taste of the local produce and a glimpse into the agricultural heritage of Gran Canaria.

Trail’s End

Exploring Gran Canaria by foot reveals the heart and soul of this enchanting island. The trails explored in this post, from the iconic Roque Nublo to the verdant expanse of Los Tilos de Moya and the geological marvel of Caldera de Bandama, offer a mosaic of experiences that embody the island’s geological diversity and historical depth. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, Gran Canaria’s trails provide a gateway to unparalleled natural splendours and cultural treasures, ensuring that every step taken is a journey through both time and nature.