The Highs and Lows of Hiking the Masca Barranco

Fri, June 15th, 2012 - By Andrea Montgomery

In the hills above the super sleek hotels of Costa Adeje lies the picturesque town of Adeje, famous for its garlic chicken and its Barranco Del Infierno walk which takes hikers deep into the mountain ravine to a waterfall grotto. Unfortunately, for the past few years the walk has officially been closed due to the possibility of dangerous rockfalls.

Hiking Masca Barranco, Tenerife

With Barranco del Infierno closed, all hiking eyes have turned to its bigger and better barranco brother, Masca, and every day hordes of hikers set off in guided groups or independently to traverse its rocky floor all the way to Masca beach. But unlike the manicured paths and easy ascents and descents of its Adeje counterpart, Masca Barranco is a very different challenge and lures many a walker who should never set foot in its rocky terrain. This is no stroll in the park.

Leaving the beauty and serenity of the little hamlet of Masca where the walk begins, once you start the descent to the valley floor, you quickly get a chance to gauge your own fitness against that of nature’s assault course. You should treat your entry into the gorge as a litmus test for your likelihood of making it to Masca beach. If your nerves, knees, lungs or footfalls struggle at this stage, you’re unlikely to enjoy the full three hour hike and may even find yourself in difficulty. You may not relish the climb back up to the village, but the alternative could be a lot worse.

Hiking Masca Barranco, Tenerife

Beginning with a wooden bridge and then a pleasant ravine-side path to get you into the real beginning of the hike, once you descend to the valley floor the terrain becomes strewn with large rockfalls to be climbed and slippery-footed descents through caves dripping with water. Added to that, the path has a way of appearing and disappearing at will so that many hikers have found themselves lost – which is ironic considering the terrain could have been used as the set for Lost. But it’s no joke if it happens to you and, unless you have adequate insurance, can end up costing you a great deal of money to be rescued.

Hiking Masca Barranco, Tenerife

So, with all this grim reality and scaremongering, why hike the Masca Barranco at all?

Because for reasonably fit people who are at least used to doing some physical exercise and preferably have some experience of hiking tough terrain, Masca Barranco is one of Tenerife‘s finest walks and will take you into a prehistoric wonderland. The source of numerous springs, the valley floor is carpeted in tall, willowy canes that cluster around still ponds the colour of emeralds and stand sentry alongside small waterfalls gently cascading down the rock face. The further into the barranco you hike, the taller and narrower the cliff sides become, blotting out all sunlight from the valley floor and unveiling colossal sculptures of basalt columns and twisted arches above your head.

Hiking Masca Barranco, Tenerife

When finally you reach Masca beach, the sight of the ocean at the mouth of the ravine is one to set your heart singing and you join the ranks of fellow hikers on the jetty, awaiting your boat taxi to Los Gigantes and a well earned beer.

Posted : Friday, June 15th, 2012 at 10:46 am
Category : days out
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