An Easy Walk to a Different View of Roques de Garcia

Fri, May 1st, 2015 - By Andrea Montgomery

Everyone who visits Teide National Park must have that same shot of Roque Cinchado at Roques de Garcia, the one where the giant, shillelagh shaped rock fronts the peak of El Teide. There’s no doubt it’s an iconic Tenerife image and, let’s be honest, if it was good enough to feature on the old 1000 peseta bank note it’s certainly good enough for the average memory stick. But with just a little effort, you can get yourself a whole different view of the emblematic rock formations, lose the crowds and enjoy a bit of exercise into the bargain.

 

Roques de Garcia

 

The 3.7km (2.3 miles) circular Roques de Garcia path is number 3 in the Parque Nacional del Teide walking routes (you can pick up a leaflet with routes in at the Portillo Visitor Centre) and begins at the base of the rocks. Instead of following the steps up the rock face as most visitors do, follow the gravel path that runs alongside the base of the rock formations, towards the unmistakeable outline of Roque Cinchado. The path here is almost flat and the surface is good so it doesn’t present any problems.

 

Roques de Garcia

 

After about 20 minutes you’ll find that you’re almost alone as the path continues along the top of the rocky ridge, the occasional gap in the wall revealing the expanse of the Ucanca Plains below. As you reach the last peak in the row of rocks, the path climbs up and around it to descend gently into the plains. It’s from here that the real scale of Roques de Garcia reveals itself.

Viewed from alongside, the Roques are impressive for their structure and shape alone but down here you realise just how big they really are and what surreal shapes they have all been hewn into by wind erosion. They’re like termite mounds from the Land of The Giants and you’re the size of a termite next to them.

 

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The path now turns back on itself and you walk along the base of the rocks towards a large, single rock which stands on its own ahead of you. Known as The Cathedral, for reasons which will be obvious when you see it, this is a popular spot for rock climbers. After pleasantly strolling for the past hour, some effort is now required as the path climbs up alongside The Cathedral to the ridge from where you can look back over the plains you just traversed. Visitors looking down from the viewpoint at the car park above have been treated to the full perspective of the size of the Ucanca Plains as they watched your termite progress across them. Unfortunately, now you have no choice but to climb up the rock face to re-join them.

 

Roques de Garcia

 

It’s a lung tester but the path is clear and straightforward enough and it’s only short. Taking lots of pauses under the pretence of looking back over the plains is the best way to tackle it. Finally, you emerge back onto the top of the rock face, alongside the viewpoint and head across the road to The Parador café for a suitable reward and to browse your views of the Roques de Garcia which you can guarantee, few other people will have.

The Roques de Garcia route takes an hour and a half at leisurely pace and can be followed by anyone who is reasonably fit and doesn’t have mobility or respiratory issues. It’s advisable not to leave any valuables in cars and to remove the parcel shelf to deter break-ins. Theft from cars is not unknown here.

Posted : Friday, May 1st, 2015 at 2:28 pm
Category : days out
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