Length 14.4 km (9 miles), terrain: very hilly, sometimes steep, gain 757 meters!
This is one amazing run. You'll transition from rain-forest shade forests to blasted, wide-open volcanic lava-flows. Sometimes you'll be in the clouds, sometimes you'll have views out over a carpet of clouds way below. You'll be stepping along the edge of craters, and viewing out across the Atlantic Ocean towards other islands.
|Trail view over the Atlantic towards Tenerifa|
The Canary Islands isle of La Palma is the result of one huge volcano, then many smaller ones that followed through the millennia. No visit to the island is complete without a visit to the edges of the volcanic craters, some less than 50 years old.
This route follows the Ruta de los Volcanes (E7) hiking trail that winds along the peaks among a variety of volcanic cones and lava fields that popped up, one by one, forming the south end of the island. The route is normally well-marked, heading north-south almost the whole way.
|El Pilar mist|
The E7 hiking route begins a long ways north of here, circling the huge Caldera de Taburiente then heading southwards past all the main volcanic cones along the ridge of Cumbre Vieja, all the way to Fuencaliente, at the southern tip of the island. We'll just follow the middle section of the trail, Cumbre Vieja, where the biggest concentration of volcanoes and lava flows can be found.
|Start of the run at El Pilar|
Now walk to the area with the picnic shelters and playground swings on the south side of the road. If you walk past the playground to the far south end of the park, you'll see the waymarker signs for the hiking trail towards Fuencaliente, which begins going right up the hill. Did I mention that this is one difficult trail? Oops, well now is the time to tell you...
|View northwards towards the Caldera de Taburiente|
After a kilometer, the trees thin out and you have a wide view westwards, over the black lava fields of an eruption about 70 years ago.
|View westwards over the clouds|
|Blackened pine tree along the way|
|Downhill runner at the trail branch-off|
Soon, at the 5-km mark, you'll come to the steep edge of a crater opening westwards, Volcán Hoyo Negro. The black and tan volcanic ash layers are strongly eroded into deep canyons. What a sight!
|Volcán Hoyo Negro|
|Approaching Los Charcos|
Just south of los Charcos is a second cinder cone, Deseada, almost 2000 meters high. There are some cement markers along the trail here, with a couple of smaller trails heading off the the left (eastwards) that take you to the edge of Deseada and los Charcos.
Take one of those trails down to the crater edges and get a closer look at these other-worldly sights. You'll feel like you're on Mars.
|Deseada and Los Charcos|
|Here's to one beautiful run!|