Hiking in Barranco de los Cernícalos
Hiking in Barranco de los Cernícalos
Barranco de los Cernícalos is considered by many an oasis for hiking in Gran Canaria. From my point of view, it is one of the most beautiful places in Gran Canaria where you can go for hiking with the whole family without worrying. Obviously, on the island there are nicer places to hike, but its difficulty makes them not as accessible as this one.
It is a path suitable for almost all levels, very well conditioned and signposted.
With more than 8 kilometers round trip, the road will be made in a total of about 4 hours, with mandatory stops to enjoy the way.
From its beginning to the first waterfall, about 3 and a half kilometers from the beginning of the road, the physical condition that is required is medium-low. In the same way, the technical requirements of the pathway are also low, except for very specific points where the difficulty increases a little.
From this point, if we want to continue, the demands increase considerably. For about 800 meters more, we will have to climb rocks and slippery terrain; draw fallen trunks, loose stones and lots of vegetation. I recommend that only experienced hikers access this part of the trail. I know several people who, as reckless, have been injured in this part of the way.
The cumulative total difference in height is about 700 meters. So, perhaps, it will be the only 'difficulty' you will encounter along the way.
You also have to take into account the weather before you go. If it has rained, even 3 or 4 days before, the most likely thing is that the road is muddy and slippery, so proper shoes will be essential.
Barranco de los Cernícalos is located in Los Arenales, in Lomo Magullo, on the border between the municipalities of Telde and Valsequillo. To look for it in a GPS you can put 'Bco Cernícalos' or 'Merenderos de Arenales'; nevertheless we leave you a link so that the location is easier.
Once we have left the car in the parking lot of Los Arenales, we will begin to climb a concrete and asphalt road until we reach the entrance of the path. Here we will find a sign that indicates its beginning and that we are going to enter the Special Reserve Los Marteles and Lomo Magullo Protected Landscape. We will exit to the right of the road and we will always take the SL-1 signs to the waterfalls.
We enter the ravine through a clearing of earth and stones in which we soon begin to see the first eucalyptus, canes and mulberry trees. We will soon see another sign indicating the way to the waterfalls.
After a few seconds listening to water, we will begin to see a ditch on our left and soon we will see the ruins of an old well. When we surpass them, we will have to walk a few meters along the canal until we can return to the path that will soon be wide and open to begin to narrow as we ascend the ravine.
From here we will enter the lowest level of vegetation. It is characterized by having a lot of laurisilva, canes, watercress and blackberries. As the ravine closes over us, the presence of the flow of water is increasing and the vegetation thicker, reaching points where we pass through narrow paths between canes no more than 50 centimeters wide.
As soon as this part of the road begins to become steeper we start to see the 'treasure' of the Barranco de los Cernícalos, the Saos or Sauces Canarios (Salix canariensis). The Barranco de los Cernícalos is specially protected because it houses the largest concentration of Saos in the Canary Islands.
After having gained some altitude and separated a bit from the water channel, we began to see many wild olive trees. From here until the end of the road the difficulty of the path increases a little, making it more fun. The soil is now made up of more loose earth and small stones that, together with the fact that in this area the slope is accentuated enough, we must be careful with slips, especially in the descent.
During this stretch, halfway, the trail becomes again more open and it is easy to see specimens of lizard and canary lisa. In the sky it is easy to see kestrels and the occasional sparrowhawk, as well as canaries, blackbirds and other small birds.
Soon we will leave this clearing to return to enter the dense laurel forest that characterizes the place.
At this point we enter the final stretch of the road. Now the road is more irregular, sometimes flatter and sometimes with steep slopes. From now on, the path passes by the side of the watercourse and between the narrowing of the ravine and the leafyness of the trees, very little light reaches the ground, which gives a magical atmosphere to this last part of the road.
After a while going up and around large stones, roots and trees we reached the main waterfall. A double waterfall of approximately 5 meters. At this point I would say that it is almost mandatory to stop to refresh ourselves, rest and relax with the sound of falling water.
From here we can decide if we turn around or continue for almost a kilometer more and see the other two waterfalls that we lack.
To continue, just behind the waterfall, we have a very steep slope of stones that we will have to climb; if you have to be careful with the rise of this small section, on the descent you have to be very careful not to fall.
The road, not being conditioned, becomes wilder, even in some sections disappears and you have to 'intuit it' always leaving the water channel to our left.
These waterfalls are not great, but as they are not widely visited, their wild aspect is captivating. So if you're like me, that motivates you to complete the difficult roads, you can do it. Although I reiterate what has been said, it is not a stretch for inexperienced walkers, but it can be done if we are cautious.
Whether we have decided to reach the end or not, the return has to be done by undoing our steps and bearing in mind that it is very likely that those parts that presented some difficulty in the climb, when we return this difficulty will be double.
I take this opportunity to remember that in all the trails we have the responsibility to leave only the trace of our boots. So I ask you to take all the garbage that you have generated and if you can also what you find on the way back. On the way to the car there are several garbage containers.
Barranco de los Cernícalos is a reference point for hiking in Gran Canaria because, in addition to its unusual natural beauty, it is one of the only two places on the island where you can walk along a water channel all year round. In addition, being a simple and well-conditioned road in virtually all sections, we can spend a family day doing an activity that hooks from the youngest to the oldest.
Normally this tour is not part of the schedule of our yoga retreat in La Tejana. However, from time to time we like to leave the program and, in special retreats, we enjoy this walk that captivates all who visit us.