Las Canadas and El Tiede

  • Las Canadas rim - © William Mackesy
  • El Tiede and Roques de Garcia - © William Mackesy
  • Across Las Canadas From Guajara - © William Mackesy
  • Across Las Canadas to El Tiede - © William Mackesy
  • Guajara at sunset From Las Canadas - © William Mackesy
  • Las Canadas - © William Mackesy
  • Las Canadas floor - © William Mackesy
  • Las Canadas to El Tiede - © William Mackesy
  • Las Canadas track - © William Mackesy
  • Roques de Garcia - © William Mackesy
  • The Cathedral - © William Mackesy

Key information: Las Canadas and El Tiede

    • Tenerife's undoubted highlight is the Las Canadas and El Tiede area, a huge caldera ringed by thousand-foot cliffs, with magnificent Tiede to the north and a dramatic floor of lava flows. Volcano-nerd heaven.
      • These are why walkers come to Tenerife; Top 100 walking.
        • A plethora of superb trails, from Tiede's high, cindery outer slopes to the drama of the rim, and the gravelly caldera floor. 
          • Huge views over the crags and chasms of the caldera; and, from the outer slopes, across craters, fumeroles and barrancos down to the ever-present sea.
            • This can be tough walking in serious mountains: prepare.

Walkopedia rating

(Top 100)
  • Walkopedia rating88
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest18
  • Human interest3
  • Charisma34
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating88

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,718m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
El Tiede and Roques de Garcia - © William Mackesy


Imagine an underwater volcano so large, it has grown from the deep ocean into an island nearly 4,000 m high. It is subject to a catastrophic collapse, the whole of its highest massif, the Caadas Edifice, falling back into the sea, leaving a huge abyss surrounded by a crescent of cliffs hundreds of metres high. In a mere 170,000 years, a new volcano grows that dwarfs the rim - remnant of its predecessor, filling the great hole with its hot spewings. It in turn is supplanted by its unruly offspring, so energetic that it nearly overwhelms its worn-out parent, growing so that it stands more than 500m above it, the tallest mountain in a mountainous country. That island is Tenerife; that clogged-up abyss the Las Caadas caldera; that young mountain, El Tiede.

When the Caadas Edifice collapsed in a northward landslip, it created a huge caldera now called Las Caadas surrounded by a jagged curve of cliffs to the south. The grand but not lovable peak of El Tiede (at 3,718m) fills in its centre, with great lava flows running off it into the crescent-shaped depression, which has filled up a long way


The present caldera is 16km long and five or so wide, a series of arid gravelly-flats almost overwhelmed by the vast lava flows of the millennia.


This natural and visual drama makes for thrilling walking it is in our Top 100. If you can, spend at least two, preferably three days in this area.


While most walkers come to Tenerife to experience Las Caadas, or to climb El Tiede, there are many superb walking areas, and we recommend that, having made the effort to come here, you allow time to explore more widely.


From the score of fantastic walks in and just outside Las Caadas described by Cicerone and Sunflower, these are perhaps the best:

  •  Guajara, the high point (in all senses) of the caldera rim with a couple of hours on the Caadas floor thrown in, and in our view the best overall walk.
  • Roques de Garcia: superb scenery and volcanic nerdery, albeit over-popular.
  • The 18km trail along the Caadas floor from El Portillo to the Parador. (You get quite a taste of this on the Guajara walk.)
  • The tough but marvellous 24km along the Caadas rim, from El Portillo to the Parador. (You get quite a taste of this on the Guajara walk.)


Central Uplands
Other excellent walks near Las Canadas include: 
  • The short walk in the lava-gravel area around Samara or a longer but superb-sounding trail from La Montaaeta to Los Silos (Sunflower 16) through bleak, cindery scenery.
  • Various walks from Las Caadas down the mountainside to the upland towns such as Vilaflor in the south, or north-west toward Teno, with wonderful sea views and volcanic scenery see the Cicerone guide (eg. walk 34): walk 41 sounds particularly intriguing, from Chiuyero down rounded slopes of dark cinders, littered with struggling Canary pines, bleakly beautiful and dotted with intriguing little craters and other volcanic detritus.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.


See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist. Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.

Books and Maps

Suggest books and maps

Books on this walk           

Canary Islands: 1 West – Cicerone: excellent ideas and information as usual, a must-take

Tenerife – Sunflower Landscapes: a good complement to the Cicerone

Walk! Tenerife – David Brawn

Other books

Canary Islands – Eyewitness Travel Guides – brief but very accessible.

Canary Islands – Lonely Planet Country and Regional.

Tenerife – Globetrotter Travel Pack.

Native Flora of the Canary Islands – Miguel Angel & Cabrera Pérez.

Flora of the Canary Islands – David Bramwell.


Tenerife Hikers Map – David Brawn – Doesn’t cover all areas, but worth having.

Free Tenerife maps are easily available.

Stanfords:  A good online specialist source of worldwide.


Best times to walk/weather

Best times to walk

Very broadly, the north gets quite a lot of rain, and is often humid; the south a huge amount of sun and little rain; the Tiede Massif, cloud quite a bit of the year and some snow in winter. Subject to that, you can walk all year, though the best times are spring and autumn. Winter is lovely if you stay lower (high-up is unpredictable). Summer can be blazingly hot.


The weather depends on the direction of the wind at the time. There is often a bank of cloud around the upper reaches – although the Las Canadas area is usually above it, with wonderful views in bright sun across a ‘sea of clouds’.

The weather is unpredictable, so always come prepared for rapid change.

For detailed weather information, have a look at: or


Getting there/transport/permits/fees

Add a comment

Flights to two international airports, in the north and south.

Hiring a car gives you a lot of flexibility and is easy. Many people hire taxis to get around: excellent for non-circular walks, although the cost is best shared! You can get about by local bus, and the Sunflower Guide is good on routes that link up to walk roadheads.

Permits are needed to climb the final section of the El Tiede peak, and used to be obtainable only in at the National Park office in Santa Cruz. However, as at March 2011, permits had to be got at and turned out to be bookable only four days ahead. Infuriating. Check the latest on this.



Add a comment

See Walk Summary above.


Map of Tenerife

By Mysid. License: Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.


Possible problems, health, other warnings

Add a comment

  • Altitude: can affect you on the upper reaches of El Tiede. Be prepared and acclimatize appropriately. 
  •  Mountain weather: snow (in winter), rain, severe cold and wind are possible on the high mountain. Rain and humidity in the north. The weather and temperature can change rapidly. Come prepared.
  • Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
  • Heights: can be dangerous; not for those who have difficulties with heights.
  • Dogs and chained billy-goats in farming areas. Bring a stick and take appropriate precautions.
  • Canyon dangers: canyons can be lethal, particularly as a result of flash floods. Assess and prepare for all risks on those walks involving canyons. 
  •  Parts of Tenerife are remote: and help may be hard to get if things go wrong.

See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and problems can arise on any walk. Many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks and possible problems. This website cannot, does not purport to, identify all actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to a walk or a country. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Make sure you have appropriate insurance.


Guided or independent?

Add a comment


You can do these walks independently, but come prepared.


There are excellent organised/supported expeditions available. Organisers can arrange for permits to be obtained. Expedition organisers include:



Staying in a town or village (or in a coastal hotel if you don’t mind hordes of tourists) and driving out for day walks is the recommended way. The guidebooks have some recommended accommodation.

You should stay at the slightly tired Parador las Cañadas, over 2,000m up in the amazing Las Cañadas caldera: you can do two days’ walking straight from the hotel.

Hostelbookers usually has a good selection of cheaper-end accommodation.

Add a comment


Other information and tips

Add a suggestion


Useful websites and information

There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.

Add a comment

Other things to do in the area

Add a comment

Other walks

There is a huge variety of great walks on the other Canary Islands, if you want to travel around.

Other activities

Endless: riding, sailing, cycling, diving, surfing, fishing. Sunning yourself and swimming!


Name: 360-vr
Posted on: 30/09/2012
Hello! My name is Andrey Sal'nikov. I'm a panorama photographer from Russian Federation. I went to Mitikas from Litihoro. February 2012 I was hiking around the Teide volcano & climbed on its top. During my 2-day trip i took a number of panorama pictures, 26 of which became a part of my virtual tour "Solo tracking and Climbing Caldera las Canadas - Pico del Teide". You can check it out on my website: I think it can be used as links. Please contact me e-mail: Best regards, Andrey Sal'nikov.

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Across Las Canadas to El Tiede - ©William Mackesy

share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Guajara at sunset From Las Canadas - ©William Mackesy...

Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more

Our partners Responsible Travel 

have carefully chosen expeditions 

and holidays around the world.    

Great walking, and much else...

Walkopedia Sponsor

See their site for inspiring ideas.

For £100 off your trip, contact them quoting WW50

All material on this website is © Walkopedia Ltd 2008 - 2019, unless specified otherwise.