Hiking the dream-like Masca Valley
One of the top places to visit in Tenerife is the beautiful Masca Valley on the south side of the island. The little village sitting between the mountains has a gorgeous view of being surrounded by lush green nature and blooming botanical vegetation. Masca opens up a spectacular view on La Gomera between two mountains, and down behind the village lies a small, beautiful paradise-style beach with turquoise waters. However, to get to the beach, one has to hike the Masca Valley. If you wish to hike down to the beach, you must reserve your free ticket in advance.
We decided to take this path most traveled and booked our tickets two months in advance, as there were no tickets earlier available. We started our way by car to Masca early in the morning, with 9:00 a.m. entrance tickets. However, upon arrival, we faced several obstacles to enter the hike. To avoid the mistakes we made, I highly suggest you read the ticket provider's guidelines carefully upon arrival and access. Firstly, don't drive your car to go for the hike, as there are only 2-hour parking spaces available, and the hike takes around 4 to 7 hours. You might get a fine or your car removed from the parking space and end up paying huge fines. Instead, take a taxi or public transport if you cannot get a ride from someone. Secondly, be well prepared as upon entrance they will check everyone's shoes outsole. We had to ditch the sneakers, and as we didn't have an extra pair of hiking boots, we were given only two options; hike other nearby trails or buy new hiking boots. Luckily the nearby restaurant shop La Fuente sold trekking boots for 29 euros, so the journey for the four of us was about to take off. ID:s were checked, and we were given our registering numbers to enter and exit the trail, and this is for them to keep track of no one going missing in the valley. As a side note, take snacks and enough water with you as the midday will get hot between the canyons.
Usually, the trail is only going down the Masca Valley and you would be able to take a boat back from the beach, but during covid the boats stopped running and currently the dock is under construction. This means there is only one way back and that is hiking back up the valley. The estimated hiking time is 4 to 7 hours, distance of 9,6 km with a high difficulty level. For me personally hiking Teide at night made this trail medium difficulty level to hike.
We took the entrance to the trail and handed over our numbers upon access and made our way down the steep stair-like path. The path turned into rocky roads. The longer we walked down, the more we felt the constraints on our feet, especially calves. Walking down is easy, but one needs to stay focused, balanced and not to trip off the rocky road. At this point, I started to understand the necessity of great hiking boots that this trail required, and in general, if you are looking to hike around Tenerife, then hiking boots are a great investment. After 2 hours of hiking down the road with one pitstop we felt the sweat kick in, but also realized this was just the beginning, as we had the whole way to hike back up. Just gazing at the height of the rocky slopes when walking down was a breathtaking view and makes you feel small between them. Most of the time hiking, you are facing high mountain walls after another, and we even saw some mountain goats climbing by. It was amazing to see occasionally green vegetation here and there between the endless rough and rigid terrain. At the end of the path, we saw a beautiful opening to the desolate Masca beach, with small yachts just calling us to get closer. The beach was just stunning, tranquil, and felt like a small getaway paradise and a perfect spot for a swim. However, one must be mindful on the sandy beach of swimming as its at their own risk, as the high cliff side has a high risk of falling stones, and the hiking trail insurance does not cover the beach area. We decided to stay on the rocky side of the beach and rest and enjoy the beauty of this naturally luxurious ocean-side paradise while the waves washed the stones. The ocean looked tempting enough to take a swim, and the small yachts that had arrived had many passengers who certainly were indulging their time in the turquoise waters. So would have we!
After an hour of relaxing on beach, we decided to make our way back up the valley. The idea in itself felt painful knowing very well it is an ascending road to the top. Midway through the valley, we felt the need to rest and collect our energy for the next 2,7 km. The trail had its ups and downs and at times one could rest their feet on a straight and steady trail, which made the hike pretty bearable. The way back up had more spectacular mountain scenery than on the way down. On the way, we also found peculiar red dragonflies also known as Sympetrum Fonscolombii, which can be found in the southern parts of Europe including Tenerife. Slowly but surely, we got up the mountain with an echo of our talk and laughter bouncing off the mountain walls, and us physically out of breath. At the end of the trail once again we were greeted by the Masca village's lush greenery and botanical beauty, with cactuses, gorgeous palm trees, and blooming flowers. Step by step we ascended back to the top of the village; we gave away our numbers and helmets to the local employee. We went to rejuvenate ourselves with cold beers and radlers to the closest restaurant called La Fuente with a spectacular view over the valley. Overall, we hiked for us was around 4 hours up and down the Gorge and we stayed around 1 hour on the beautiful beach. We were told that the record of hiking Masca Valley to this day has been around 1 hour and around 20 minutes. So, it is possible to easily hike the trail under 7 hours!
This hike was nice, but if you are not looking for a hard terrain hike, then there are even more beautiful hikes around Masca with an even more beautiful view than this gorge. But the beach that opened up between the canyons was beyond what we imagined and worth visiting, even by boat! Some nearby hiking trails that I can recommend would be Mirador de Cruz de Hilda and Mirador Altos de Baracán. As an additional advice, remember to stretch and get enough minerals and magnesium after this hike, as calves and thighs will definitely be sore later that day or by the latest the next morning!
Did you know?
The Masca Valley trail employees hike every day the Masca for work, as there is no other way to get down the trail!