Guajara is Tenerife’s 4th highest peak. Rising to 2,715 metres (9,000 feet) this impressive turret-shaped mountain has shear cliffs on 3 sides. Located on the south-eastern edge of the Las Cañadas ridge, Guajara is best approached from the Parador (state run hotel) in the Las Cañadas National Park.
A word of warning, Guajara certainly isn’t a mountain for casual walkers, although the ascent is just a little over 600 meters from the Parador, the high altitude of the walk and thin air means, climbing this mountain can feel a lot hard. Altitude sickness may become a problem, particularly over 2,500m as you near the summit. Plus the changeable and unpredictable mountain conditions can lead to sudden changes in weather. Temperatures are likely to be 10-20 degrees cooler on the summit than on the south coast and snow flurries in winter are a real possibility, so exercise caution and go prepared.
For me the best time to attempt an ascent of Guajara are in May/June or September/October, the weather tends to be less severe and you can focus on the other challenges this mountain offers.
For example, if you travel by bus, you will arrive at the Parador at about 11:00, both from Playa de Las Americas/ Los Cristianos (Line 342) and from Puerto de la Cruz (Line 348). Both buses then depart the Parador at 16:00 so you have just 5 hours to complete the ascent and return to the Parador.
Our route sets off from the Parador, east along a good trail know as Siete Cañadas and after a couple of kilometres walking along this track through the lunar landscape of Las Cañadas we turn off the track and begin our climb up to the ridge on the east side of Guajara. In May and June you will see beautiful red flowering tajinastes as well as other high mountain shrubs which some how eat out an existence in this volcanic landscape.
Once up onto the ridge you will enjoy breathtaking views of Las Cañadas, Mount Teide and the south coast of Tenerife, subject to cloud cover, which if anything will usually be beneath your feet. From here we walk along the ridge up to the back of Guajara. A dusty track, ground out of the soft volcanic rocks, leads the way to the summit. The path is fairly steady, steep in parts without been arduous and you can normally arrive at the wide open summit within 2.5 hours at a slow steady pace.
There’s a ruined stone shelter on the summit, just short walls remain, but its a good place to shelter from the wind and eat lunch. Remember it can be cold on the summit so take an extra layer as well as a waterproof just in case.
Descent is urged by the same route, however, its possible to pick up an old goat-herder trail which follows a ravine down the west face. This is certainly a more advanced route as the trail descends quite far down in the valley on the ‘wrong’ side of the ridge and you have to climb 50-100 metres back up to the Ucanca Pass on the West side of Guajara or alternatively cut across country, picking your way through boulders and tabaiba shrubs, before the path descends lower than the head of the pass.
From the Ucanca pass on the west side of Guajara, we follow a steep but clear path back down to the Parador. This last leg of the journey takes less than a hour at slow pace and can be yomped in 25 minutes if you are running short of time. Its during this last leg that you get the best views of Mount Teide, so don’t forget your camera for some memorable photos.
Walking Route: Guajara (from Parador)
Distance: 9km (5.5 miles approx)
Ascent/Descent: 600 metres (2000 feet)
Grading: Difficult (high altitude)