This fairly easy walk starts at Las Lajas barbeque area and camp site in the Parque Natural de la Corona Forestal about 10Km above Vilaflor deep in the pine forests of Tenerife’s southern slope. We descend down forestry tracks through the pine forests towards our destination, the village of Ifonche which is some 1,000 metres below us.
The first leg of our journey is very easy going, a long slow descent from Las Lajas (2,000 metres) along a really good dirt track, which is popular with mountain bikers at weekends, particularly during winter, but in the heat of the August sun, completely abandoned. The smell of the pine trees is thick in the dry air and the bright sunshine abounds, though on another day you might find misty clouds rushing up the hillside to greet you. As we descend we get a fleeting glimpse of our destination between the trees, the Pasaije Natural Protegido (Protected Natural Space) of Ifonche is visible and beyond it in the haze the tourist resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas.
After about 2 hours we find our view has been obscured by the mound of Alto de Chimoche, a rounded hill rising to 1,500 metres, though as we have descended from above it, we are stood on its back and from our perspective its a modest 50 metre hump on the landscape.
From here we pick up a footpath with is absent from most maps, or incorrectly marked as is the case with the IGN (Spanish Geographical Survey) maps, this narrow footpath takes us around the side of Alto de Chimoche and decends down its southern face through thick pine forests. Finally we descend into a deep valley and follow a path alongside a dry riverbed to some of the outlying farmsteads of Ifonche.
This is not a route to be rushed as the 342 bus drops you in Las Lajas around 10:30 and the first bus back from Ifonche is the returning 342 bus which passes at about 16:45. (NB: The Ifonche bus stop is on the main road to Vilaflor, the bus does not come into the village.) As the route can be completed within 4 hours unless you have private transport, its well worth eating a late lunch or enjoying a refreshing beer in one the tipico restaurants in Ifonche. Or if you are feeling exceptionally energetic you may wish to continue the walk on down to Arona.
Walking Route: Las Lajas Ifonche
Distance: 12km (7.5 miles approx) +3Km for bus
Descent: 1,000 metres (3300 feet)
NB: This distance is an approximation based on the time it took me to complete the walk. My maps are not accurate enough for me to trace a distance measurement. The route could be as long as 15Km, excluding the walk out of Ifonche to the bus stop.
Alternative strenous route, do the walk in reverse.