Walking Tour: Alto de Garajonay–Hermigua

  • Start Pajarito
  • End Hermigua
  • Length 10.5km; four to five hours
  • Difficulty Difficult

This demanding downhill hike is one of the island's finest, running from its highest point to Hermigua through eerily evocative national-park laurisilva forest and the pastoral Barranco de El Cedro. It can also be tackled uphill (a popular alternative), though Hermigua's restaurants are perfect for a post-hike rest, whereas Pajarito has no facilities.

On the west side of the Pajarito roundabout (at the GM2–CV13 junction, 4km southeast of La Laguna Grande visitor centre), a signposted 'Alto de Garajonay' trail heads uphill, with views of Tenerife emerging beyond La Gomera's greenery. After 1km (30 minutes), past trees damaged by the 2012 fire, you reach the Alto de Garajonay, at 1487m the tallest peak on La Gomera; on a clear day Tenerife’s El Teide stands snow-bound in the distance, and below you the tangled web of La Gomera’s forests fall away. The Alto was a sacred spot for the Guanches, and archaeological excavations have unearthed remains of sacrificial offerings here.

From the Alto, head downhill following signs for Ruta 18 (the Gran Ruta Circular de Garajonay) to reach the El Contadero car park after 2km. The path descends northeast into the Barranco de El Cedro through shaded laurisilva woodlands. At the Y junction, follow 'Arroyo de El Cedro' signs and the trail soon criss-crosses a stream to emerge at Las Mimbreras clearing, 2.8km from El Contadero. Around 400m further on is the whitewashed, 20th-century Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes amid the trees.

Following signs to the hamlet of El Cedro (1.7km away), you come to the national park's north boundary before passing a few casas rurales to arrive in El Cedro via a paved road. El Cedro's bar-and-campsite La Vista is ideal for a Canarian-lunch break.

Leave El Cedro below the campsite following signs to Hermigua (3km). A steep stepped path heads downhill along a sheer cliff to a viewpoint over El Cedro's Boca del Chorro waterfall, then zigzags down the valley to the Embalse de los Tiles reservoir. From here, the easily followed trail continues amid views of cascading palms, the Roque Pedro, Hermigua's colourful houses and the sea beyond, then arrives into Hermigua itself, emerging (and signposted) opposite Plaza Victoriano Darias Montesinos and the Convento de Santo Domingo.

Walking Tour: Raso de la Bruma–Risquillos de Corgo–Las Creces

  • Start Raso de la Bruma car park
  • End Raso de la Bruma car park
  • Length 4km; one hour
  • Difficulty Easy

A wonderfully scenic introduction to the hushed, primeval laurisilva forest that the Parque Nacional de Garajonay is famed for, the gentle official national-park Route 12 weaves along a north-facing ridge thick with moss-cloaked laurisilva forest and often cloaked in mist. Though it parallels the GM2 in parts, it's a highly rewarding trail and, as such, popular, with easy extensions southeastwards.

Begin in the Raso de la Bruma car park, around 5km northwest of La Laguna Grande on the north side of the GM2, where a board details the route. Following signs, you're immediately engulfed in a fairy-tale forest where moss and lichen wrap sparkling-green branches and horizontal rain sporadically floats through. The path wanders downhill through the forest, with views across the Vallehermoso valley opening up here and there, and emerges after around 1.2km at the Mirador Risquillos de Corgo, where you can peer down the valley to Vallehermoso town and the sea and, on clear days, even spot Tenerife looming behind La Gomera's mountainous expanse.

From the lookout, it's possible to loop directly back to the car park on an alternative signposted path, or, better yet, join the long-distance GR131 southeastwards briefly to meet the GM2 then continue on through the forest. Crossing to the south side of the GM2, you reach the car park for national-park Route 5, from where signs lead along a wide path into a tranquil, ancient, drier fayal-brezal (Canarian heath forest) typical of the park's southern slopes. After 0.7km, the trail emerges at Las Creces, a quiet clearing with a couple of picnic tables.

From Las Creces, double back to the car park and recross the GM2 to pick up the signposted return trail to the Raso de la Bruma car park. Alternatively, if you're keen to extend the walk, Route 5 carries on from Las Creces in a 3.8km loop through the forest to return to the Route 5 car park, or, from Las Creces, you can walk 2.6km to the village of Las Hayas, where celebrated restaurant Casa Efigenia awaits.