Walking Tour: Pista de Valencia to Pico Bejenado Hike

  • Start Pista de Valencia
  • End Pico Bejenado
  • Length 5.4km or 6.4km; 2.5 or 3 hours
  • Difficulty Moderate

This trail runs from Pista de Valencia up a moderately steep path through the pine trees to a superb lookout point with views in all directions from Pico Bejenado. On the climb, you may encounter mist and low cloud while at other times you may find yourself in full sun; although the pine trees afford considerable shade, there are stretches that are unshaded. Often all you can hear is the wind in the pines and birdsong. Take water and snacks for the climb and wear hiking boots. As the information board at Pista de Valencia says, do not attempt the hike on very windy days or when there is a dust haze, as you could get caught in a forest fire.

After driving your car up from the Visitor Centre along the LP-302 (which becomes a rough, dirt road sprinkled with stones for the last few kilometres), leave it at Pista de Valencia which marks the start of the climb. The information board has a map describing the trail and marking the various altitude changes and distances involved from the start to the end of the hike.

Set off along the marked trail up through the pines and remember you should not leave the designated trail (which is marked here and there by two rectangles, one white, one yellow). After around 10 minutes hiking, you will come to a sign welcoming you to the National Park; look back to views of El Paso in the valley below. You then reach a fork with a choice of two routes up to the peak: either the shorter 4.9km path via petroglifos (petroglyphs), or the longer route via Roque de los Cuervos (6.2km).

Our route follows the path via the petroglyphs. After ten minutes you pass a sign pointing to El Paso (6.7km away) and Bejenado (4.5km to go); then the road widens and you will soon reach some Lava Tubes in the rock face. Originally, these were conduits in the rock through which lava would pass, formed when slow-moving lava cooled enough for a tube to form. Note there's a QR code on a post here that your smartphone can read to take you to an online audioguide (if you can get a signal) for more explanations about the tubes.

After a further five minutes, you reach a gap in the pines and an astonishing view. Keep following the signposts dotted along the way before the path narrows through the pine trees before, after minutes or so, you reach a sign pointing to the Lomo del Estrecho Engravings, 150m along a path to your right. The carving – housed within a metal cage – was discovered in 1988. It is quite hard to make out the pattern on the rock if the sun is shining directly onto it, but you can discern the curved lines. It possibly served the purpose of marking out pasture fields or former shepherding roads, but its precise purpose is unknown.

Backtrack to rejoin the path to Pico Bejenado, 3km uphill. On your way up, note the plentiful evidence of fire on the carbonised bark of the pine trees around you; the Canarian Pine is one of the most fire-resistant trees on the planet.

After another 20 minutes or so you reach a further fork, with the right fork to Cumbrecita (2.7km away) and the left fork to Bejenado (1.6km away). The views get quite stunning at this point, with panoramas to jagged mountain ridges and solitary pines on rocky outcrops, before you arrive at an exposed area signposted El Rodeo. You may really start to feel the wind here. Keep your eyes on the path from here on; it can be easy to lose it and a couple of places are precipitous below, so watch your footing.

After another 30 minutes you’ll reach the summit: Pico Benejado. Plunging views drop down either side to the sea and over El Paso and Los Llanos as well as to the mountain peaks. Note the visitor's book in the metal box chained to one of the rocks – there is a pen for you to leave your thoughts. Don’t build stone cairns: they can topple and send stones falling down the mountain side.