Get lost in Anaga's mystical Forest trails
Tenerife offers a very versatile landscape, from dry to lush green scenery. The south side of the island is usually dry whilst north of Tenerife lies a wide green area of Anaga
As we heard multiple times about Anaga from various travelers, nomads, and locals we decided to explore these forest trails in the northern part of the island. We started the journey from the entrance next to the Cruce de Afur bus station, whilst parking our car on the roadside. Before taking the plunge into the depths of the trails, we decided to fill our bellies with some good old local cousin food at a local restaurant that sat on top of the mountain. The restaurant Casa Santiago was bubbling busily with locals and a few hikers. On their outdoor terrasse the restaurant had a breathtaking view of Santa Cruz that sat perfectly in between the mountains.
Anaga Rural Park resides in Anaga, which is one of the five districts that the municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is officially divided in. The park area is wide and expands occupying part of the three municipality's: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La laguna and Tegueste. The rural park has been declared since 1987 as a protected natural park and is currently known to have the highest amount of endemism in Europe. Around the natural park you can find various types of flora and fauna, that are especially rich in the area.
Overall, Anaga is a huge area that consists of multiple trails and sometimes it is quite hard to pick the one you wish to hike. This means it is worth traveling here more than once, as all the trails are unique and different. We on the other hand started our journey a bit late in the afternoon and decided to take a short cut from the Degollada de las Hijas trail that seemed to be quite long. In general, always be aware if you take an off path to be safe. In multiple cases when seeking for an alternate path that has not been registered on any hiking apps and maps, be especially careful. It is highly recommended to stay on the registered hiking paths at all times to avoid possible injuries and problems! The beginning of the path of Degollada de las Hijas was downward on to a road and was relatively easy to hike. However, the path looked more suitable for mountain biking than hiking and I would recommend good hiking boots when starting off on this relatively steep path. At times between the bushes there were wonderful green valley type of viewpoints, that we so missed when staying in the south side of the island. Here you could truly feel you are breathing thanks to the green nature that is so enriched with oxygen.
When arriving at the first main road we took a short break at a bus stop and rubbed in the sun protection as the mid-day sun was blazing over us. We had already decided at the beginning of our journey, we were not going to hike the entire trail and decided to find our way back up before sunset. With gut feeling and a hiking app, we tried to find a possible passage back up the mountain to cut the hiking route short. It was a relatively tough ascending road back up to the peak, making us sweat a lot! At one point we even got lost due to our misleading hiking app and had to return to a road crossing we passed at one point to change our direction. To our surprise, we found a forest full of forest strawberries that looked exactly like the ones we have back in the Nordics. However, the taste was more bitter than anything sweet. We don't recommend eating these, as we were not sure if they were strawberries, but at the least, they were their perfect look-alikes, but in a larger format. During the last meters of reaching the TF-12 road, we felt relieved to know we were back up the mountain, while our clothes were soaking in sweat. On our way back we realized that on this main road there are several hiking paths down both sides of the mountain and they all looked very different from one another. This means you can have very different and unique hiking experiences in Anaga over and over again!
Once reaching closer to our car and at the end of the hike, we were greeted with a majestical view of clouds flowing through the high peaks of the mountain and the sun ready to set. It was uniquely thrilling to watch and experience from a distance. We were completely immersed in the beauty of the view, that we wanted to see if we could also walk through the flowing clouds. And indeed, we found a picturesque viewpoint called Mirador Diseminado Casas de La Cumbre where we felt the wind blow through our hair and clothes. It was a fine ending to experience at the end of a long ascending hike back to the mountain peak.
I highly recommend visiting Anaga and its nature park when visiting Tenerife. When visiting Anaga, be aware that parking is scarce as the municipality has decided to cut down parking access to the area. It is advisable to take public transport, taxi, or park the car by the roadside.