Inspirational Trails 12: Tenerife
Written By: SportsShoes
Here, in part 12 of a series featuring inspirational trails, ultra-runner, James Lewis Carr, describes the beautiful trail on the island of Tenerife.
The sight of Pico de Teide, Spain’s highest mountain at 3718m, really is something to behold. I first glanced at it from the plane as we prepared to land in Tenerife, towering above the sea of clouds which had engulfed the island and looking almost “Himalayan-esque”. I had been excited to see the volcano given its high altitude with it being so close to sea level and it did not disappoint. A true monster that both inspired and terrified me, and still does.
I run to explore and to be amongst nature as nothing makes me happier. I have longed to compete in a more technical race with steeper and longer climbs and descents across varied terrain as I believe this is where you can find the most beauty and gain the greatest experiences.
The Tenerife Bluetrail (105km, 6,500m+) begins in Playa Fanabe on the south western coast of the island and climbs through golden volcanic valleys sprinkled with bright green pine trees heading towards Teide. I sampled sections of the route from the small town of Adeje through to Villaflor, c. 1500m, and was blown away by the scenery as I looked back towards the sea.
On a separate excursion I began a little further along the route from Parador, sitting above 2000m, in an enormous red, black and orange crater some 47,000 acres in size – Teide National Park. Teide dominates this landscape and caused my stomach to sink due to its grandeur. During my ascent to summit I first passed by a volcano with a larger crater, Pico Viejo, at 3,315m high. An incredible structure on the eastern shoulder of Teide. Once I had caught my breath at the highest elevation I had ever ran at, I ascended Teide’s eastern face to the summit climbing through the hardened, ancient lava flows.
The thin air and the strong smell of sulphur meant that I limited my stay at the top before ascending on the south western flank with incredible views of a cloud inversion over the Anaga mountains to the North. A truly Mars-like scene greeted me as I continued on the trail towards El Portillo crossing through the deserts of the National Park. A route of 28km with 2,000m+ climbing in the heat was certainly worth it for some of the best views I have ever seen including the sight of La Gomera – a neighbouring island to the East of Tenerife captured here from the flank of Teide.
Having sampled the majority of the route I am in awe of both its complexity, variety and the challenge that lies ahead. Although I did not sample the northern-most part of the trail, which is largely rainforest-like terrain, I did experience trails in a similar environment in the Anaga mountains further north and encountered tame wild goats which was probably one of the best moments of my life!
Tenerife has a poor reputation amongst us Brits as a place for football fans to eat egg and chips on the beach, but there is so much more to the island than this. It is truly one of the most amazing places I have ever been to and I cannot wait to be on the starting line of the Tenerife Bluetrail in June, 2021. Let the training commence!!!
Want to explore the trails of Tenerife? Then check out James Lewis Carr’s recommended trail routes, showcasing the very best running trails on this stunning island.
Photos: Credit to James Lewis Carr