Pico Viejo viewpoint is one of the best spots in Tenerife where you can stop, take a deep breath and enjoy the views. Bear in mind that you will be looking at an incredibly big crater from where lava poured out in 1798 as the last volcanic eruption inside Teide National Park.
The easiest way to get to this viewpoint involve taking a ride up to a stunning 3,555 meters (11,663 feet) on mount Teide cable car. The upper station corresponds to an area best know as La Rambleta from where the path starts to the viewpoint.
Walking from mount Teide cable car upper station
At such high altitude you can feel a little bit weaker but don´t worry, you will get over it after just 5 minutes (there is a 21% less oxigen up there). Take it easy, there is no rush. Anyhow, the real interesting thing about beeing so high up are the fantastic views you have as soon as you get off the cable car. Believe me, you get to think you are in another planet.
From La Rambleta you have 3 trails you can walk through, each of them are slightly different but lucky enough they are equally beautiful. The trail nº10 is the path that takes you to the very top of mount Teide, the trail nº11 leads you to the viewpoint of La Fortaleza and the trail nº12 to Pico Viejo viewpoint.
The first one is the most important because it is the path that takes you up to the very top of mount Teide. This trail (nº10) is known as Telesforo Bravo in honor of the great Canarian geologist whose studies led to explain the formation of the great volcanic circus of the Cañadas del Teide (you can read about it in this link).
In the other hand from La Rambleta you have two other trails which are open to access, no permission is necessary. The trail nº11 that takes you to La Fortaleza viewpoint and trail nº12 that runs to Pico Viejo viewpoint. The latter is one of the most impressive trails on Teide as it brings you closer to the enormous 800 meter diameter crater.
First steps on the path to Pico Viejo viewpoint
The path that leads to this viewpoint is one of our favorites on the National Park. The views you get to enjoy from it are not only incredible but also accessible to all. As noted above, it begins at 3,555 meters high just on one side of the upper station of the Teide cable car. By the way, read here as we recommend buying the online tickets for Teide cable car.
Just as you start walking you will find at your feet some sulfur emanations. These smoky areas are peculiar as a strong sulfur smell (as if it were rotten eggs) indicates without a doubt that we are walking over an active zone, an area that is alive. The last eruption on mount Teide is estimated to have been about 1,000 years ago. Note that Teide and Pico Viejo are 2 different volcanos.
Half way through on the path to Pico Viejo viewpoint you will find a wider area where we recommend you to make the next stop. Right in front, the volcanic circle of the Cañadas del Teide is perfectly drawn, a huge crater of 46 kilometers in perimeter and 16 kilometers in diameter as a result of a great gravitational slide.
Almost at your feet we also see the Parador de Turismo de las Cañadas del Teide, in front yet another great viewpoint (which we also recommend visiting), the Roques de García. This is the spot where more tourists stop at in the entire National Park, everyone wants a picture with the great mount Teide behind.
We are now half way through the path to Pico Viejo. It is time to look again and to enjoy the wonderful weather conditions that allows us to see the entire southern coast of the island and, a little further in the distance, the island of La Gomera and even El Hierro right at the back.
Once we reach the end of the path we find a viewpoint, a balcony from which we can observe the Pico Viejo crater with all its greatness. A perfect and huge mouth of 800 meters in diameter that encourages you to get even closer to contemplate its interior, but it is not possible.
If you continue walking from this point you need to be really fit, the path gets very tough. Keep in mind that only from the viewpoint (where the photograph is taken) to the Pico Viejo crater it takes about 90 to 120 minutes of hard walking since the terrain is quite uncomfortable and irregular.
From this viewpoint we can see the lava flows of Arenas Negras, a flow with a really intense black color that corresponds to the last volcanic eruption that occurred within the current National Park: Narices del Teide in 1798. This lava flow is crossed by the road that ascends from Chío, the west entrance to Teide National Park.
We can also see several volcanos, one of them is the Chinyero which refers to the last volcanic eruption that took place on Tenerife (1909). After enjoying the views it will be time to walk back to the cable car (or to complete the other trail you can do from there).
As stated, it is very easy to complete this hike to Pico Viejo viewpoint since it does not require a special physical preparation. In total there is a distance of about 800 meters and it takes 20 minutes to cover it each way. No special equipment (shoes) is needed if you are only walking there and back but bear in mind that it can get really cold during winter.
→ This path can be done by yourself, no need to book a tour but you should consider checking out the sunset from this same viewpoint. Colors and views are totally different and well worth the price. Take a look at prices and availability here (look for the tour called Cable Car at Sunset) ←
Top tours and attractions in Tenerife
Tenerife has all you may need to enjoy your holidays. Renting a car is a must to get around at your own pace and to discover those hidden gems that booked tours rarely get to show you. Anyhow if you are in a package tour but still want to do some tours by yourself please check this selection ↓
- Whale watching tour from Los Gigantes marina
- La Gomera full day tour
- Guided visit to Teide observatory (in english)
Travel smart, travel safe
Trust us, going away with a travel insurance is the best thing you can do ever. You’d rather not think about all of the things that might go wrong on your trip, but these things can and do happen. Trip cancellation, medical expenses or missing baggage are only some of the essentials that are covered by WorldNomads. Check it out here ↓