Roque Nublo, the mountain considered the heart of Gran Canaria, is the most popular mountain on the island. We wanted to avoid it but the pictures of it just looked so cool. It’s a 90m volcanic monolith that looks like it could topple over at any moment. Avoiding the tourist crowd, we decided to do it our way. Instead of parking in the provided parking lot and walking the kilometer long trail, we decided to park in the village of La Culata, 4km (2.5 miles) and 500m (1600ft) below Roque Nublo. Best. Decision. Ever!
Words fall short of describing the magnificence of this trail. The terrain was so varied and so beautiful it left us excited to see what was around every single turn. This hike was supposed to take us 3 hours and we enjoyed it so much that we ended up spending 6 whole hours hiking. It was the kind of day that you actually forget to eat. You know what that’s like, right? To be so involved in something, to enjoy your current moment so much that you completely forget that time exists and that you haven’t eaten all day! It was beautiful.
The well maintained trails on the island receive little attention from tourists. This trail was no different. Starting in the tiny village of La Culata we began to weave our way up through the pine trees. The trail was covered in so many fallen pine needles that the ground felt spongy beneath our feet.
As we begin nearing the top of the trail we can start to see and hear people in the parking lot above us. From the parking lot you can see your destination and the trail lined with people making their way to and from the rock. We both looked at each other, happy that we walked up from the town instead of joining the masses.
We made our way through the crowded trail and approached the top slightly less excited about where we were at the moment. But as we walked up a set of stairs carved into the stone, the sight before us was actually shocking. We were no longer focused on all the people around us, we were now looking at this giant pillar that pictures can’t quite capture. The rock was what we had anticipated for the most part, but what we didn’t expect was the expanse of rock surface that was between where we stood and where the rock actually was. This rock plateau was pitted and rough, unlike anything else we saw on the island. The contrast of this pitted rock mixed with the splendor of Roque Nublo itself is an amazing sight.
We stayed at the top for almost an hour enjoying the view. We watched rock climbers make their way up to the very peak. We adored the view of the neighboring island of Tenerife, covered in cloud with only it’s peak visible. We simply enjoyed the moment.
The peak of any mountain is known to be the highlight of any mountain hike, but the trail wasn’t done showing us a few surprises on the way back down. The trail we chose allowed us to continue around Roque Nublo in a loop instead of going back the same trail we came up. Living up to it’s name, clouded rock in English, the clouds rolled in leaving us in a forest of thick fog. We have never loved the fog so much. It allowed for so much mystery since we could only see a short distance in front of us at any given time. Not only that, it turns out that fog can make really cool pictures.
And now we know that the inside of a cloud feels absolutely no different than regular fog. We had so much fun taking pictures in the fog. We jumped, we laughed, I did yoga…and then we carried on.
We came around a corner and saw a beautiful view of the valley below. The town of La Culata was shadowed as the sun sank below the mountains.
Mountains make my heart sing and this one was no different. Gran Canaria has so many trails that are highly unused. I would love to visit again and hike some more.
If you’re visiting Gran Canaria and are interested in doing this hike, click this link to be re-directed to the Wikiloc trail page.