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Climbing Mount Teide along the Montaña Blanca trail

Calling all adventurers in search of a challenge - put yourself to the test here!

In this post, were going to talk about the toughest option for reaching the Teides summit: the Mount Teide hike. This is an option we only recommend you pick if youre fit and up for the challenge of walking; if not, there are other, simpler ways of getting up the mountainwell get to that later.

But first things first: you're here to find out about climbing Mount Teide by following the Montaña Blanca Teide trail and spending the night at the refuge, and were going to tell you everything you need to know. Lets get started!

Important reference points on the Teide

To understand this post, you need to get your bearings first. These are the things you should take into account:

Climbing Mount Teide: Montaña Blanca trail

  • Montaña Blanca, the beginning of the route, at 2,348 metres.
  • Montaña Blanca trail, which connects the base of the volcano with La Rambleta.
  • The Altavista Refuge where you can spend the night at 3,260 metres.
  • Cable car base station, at 2,356 metres.
  • Cable car upper station, at 3,555 metres, also known as La Rambleta.
  • Teide Peak, at 3,718 metres.
  • The trails branching from La Rambleta.

Right, now you know where everything is, lets take a look at the route.

Climbing Mount Teide: The route between Montaña Blanca and the Teide’s summit explained step by step

This is the route people have always used to climb the Teide on foot and is made up of three stages. The first stage runs between Montaña Blanca and the Altavista Refuge. The second goes from there to La Rambleta along trail number 11 via La Fortaleza, and the third leads to the peak along trail number 10, Telesforo Bravo.

Ascending Mount Teide on foot via Montaña BlancaLets focus on the two first stages of the Mount Teide hike. Theyre the most difficult ones by far. This is what you're up against:

  • Total length: 8.31 km
  • Altitude change: 1,188 metres
  • Time taken to climb the Teide on foot: Approximately 5 hours 30 minutes (and 4 hours 15 minutes descent)

Theres an alternative that well tell you about later on if you want to spend the night at the refuge that doesnt involve climbing Mount Teide in its entirety.

The first stage of the Mount Teide hike: from Montaña Blanca to the Altavista Refuge

This is the trickiest part. You follow trail number 7, the Montaña Blanca Teide trail, which begins on the TF-21 Teide road, at kilometre 40.7. You can access the beginning of the Montaña Blanca Teide trail in your own car or by bus. Theres free parking in the area, but its not very big and isnt monitored.

With every step you take, the Montaña Blanca Teide trail will wow you with its natural beauty. Its one of the Teides most special trails, which is saying something, seeing as the park covers more than 19,000 hectares.

Youll start the Mount Teide hike by walking through landscape typical of explosive volcanic activity, with the ground covered in pumice. This is an area of outstanding scenic, volcanic (dont miss the Huevos del Teide) and ecological interest. When you reach the peak of the Montaña Blanca, youll have walked about 4.53 km with an altitude change of 372 metres. But thats nothing.

Climb the Teide on foot and see the Huevos del TeideWe say thats nothing because its from here on out that the Montaña Blanca Teide trail gets interesting. Yes, this is the trickiest part for hikers who are set on climbing Mount Teide: here youll start on a 2.56 km section walking over black lava, during which youll climb a massive 544 metres! The gradient is greater than 60% in places, so make sure youve come prepared.

But its not all bad! As youre hiking up Mount Teide, youll see how the volcanic flora changes and starts to thin out significantly. Its an incredible natural spectacle, topped off by the animals youll spot that can only be found on the island, like the Gallots lizard or the pimelia ascendens, a flightless beetle that only lives in the Teide National Park.

Ascending Mount Teide on foot via Montaña BlancaAt about the halfway point of this steep track, youll come across some gigantic rocks known as the Estancia de Los Ingleses. Thanks to their formation, the bravest explorers used to spend the night huddled between them, lighting a fire and sheltering from the cold before starting their ascent to the peak the next morning.

These days, theyre only used for a spot for a rest after the long hike up, as if you keep going for a few more minutes you will, finally, reach the Altavista Refuge, which marks the end of this stage of the route for climbing Mount Teide.

The break at the Altavista Refuge

The refuge was built in the mid-19th century and was originally only used as support for the National Parks research projects. Today, after its latest refurbishment in 2007, this is where you can spend the night when you climb Teide on foot to recharge your batteries. Rest up in Spains highest accommodation and sleep amongst the stars, under one of the starriest night skies in the world.

Climbing Mount Teide: spending the night at the refuge

Things you need to know about the Altavista Refuge:

  • Its elevation is 3,260 metres.
  • You can arrive between 5pm and 10pm, but the rooms dont open till 7pm. We recommend you arrive in time to catch the sunset.
  • You need to be out of your room before 7.30am and out of the communal areas before 8am, when the refuge closes.
  • It has everything you need to recover after the Mount Teide hike: three dorms, 54 beds with duvets and blankets, a kitchen, a living room, an infirmary, a dining room, heating, bathroom (no shower) and internet. You can buy water, snacks, hot drinks and soft drinks.
  • There is no kitchen service, so you should take the food you want with you and cook it up there. Theres also a microwave for heating up food.
  • You can only spend one night there.
  • You can leave your belongings behind and pick them up on your way down. If you decide to take the cable car down (well discuss this alternative in a minute), youll need to take your things with you on the way up.
  • For more information, click here.

And the best part is that spending the night at the Refuge is the only way of seeing the sunrise from the Teides summit, but well get to that in a minute.

I want to go up Mount Teide and stay overnight at the Refuge

The second stage of the adventure of climbing Mount Teide: from the Altavista Refuge to La Rambleta

Seeing the sunrise from the highest point in Spain should be your priority, which is why we recommend you leave the Refuge before 6am. Seeing the dawn break is more than worth the early morning. And remember to wear a headlamp so you can see where you're going. Youll be glad of it!

Ascending Mount Teide on foot via Montaña BlancaThe gradient of this second stage of the Mount Teide hike isnt as steep, but the atmospheric conditions mean it isnt exactly a walk in the park. It takes you through the Teides malpaís landscape, where theres no vegetation, and then youll pass the La Fortaleza viewpoint before reaching La Rambleta after just under an hour.

And then?

The third stage of the Mount Teide hike: from La Rambleta to the Teide’s summit

This is the best part. From La Rambleta youll have to take trail number 10, Telesforo Bravo, for which youd normally need a free permit issued by the National Park. These are in high demand, and there isnt much availability.

So, normally, at this stage, youd need to have planned ahead and already got a permit. By the way, if youre interested, in this post we talk about how to get a permit for Teide’s summit.

But dont worry, you wont need one. This post is all about climbing Teide without a permit. If youve slept in the refuge after climbing Mount Teide via the Montaña Blanca Tenerife trail and completed trail number 10 before 9am, you dont have to worry about the permit, because at that time of day theres free access to the trail.

And theres more! The cherry on the cake is at the end of the road, after youve walked the spectacular Telesforo Bravo trail, which peters out at the highest point in the country: Teides summit.

Climbing Mount Teide: sunrise at the peakFrom there, youll see one of the best sunrises in the world. Youll witness the hypnotic combination of a riot of colours and the projection of the perfect pyramid of the Teides shadow onto the Atlantic Ocean, with the backdrop of neighbouring islands and the scent of sulphur in the air that reminds you youre standing on an active volcano. Dont forget: the Teide might be sleeping, but its still breathing.

Fourth phase of the Teide hike: what goes up must come down

Before mentioning a few things we think you really need to know, were going to talk about what your two options are for the way down:

Option 1 → Go back the way you came

Leave the Telesforo Bravo trail before 9am and head towards the refuge, taking trail number 11 and then number 7 to the Altavista.

You should bear in mind that the refuge is closed until 11am, so if you leave your things there you wont be able to go back to pick them up until then. We dont take responsibility for any personal items that you leave behind when youre on your walk.

Once youve got your things, youve got another four hours walk downhill along the Montaña Blanca Teide trail ahead of you. When you reach the starting point, at the base of the Montaña Blanca, youll have completed the toughest challenge that the Teide National Park has to offer.

Option 2 → Go down by cable car

For lots of adventurers, taking the cable car on the way down is a godsend after all those hours spent climbing Mount Teide. If you think that might be the case with you, youve got two options: reserve a night in the refuge and the ticket for the cable car down the mountain as a combo, or buy the cable car ticket yourself.

In either case, youll need to take your belongings with you (that is, you cant leave them at the refuge), and when you get down to the base station, youll have to make your way back to the beginning of the Montaña Blanca Teide trail, which is 3 km away.

Other things to think about when doing the Mount Teide hike

Before you start planning your hike up Mount Teide, make sure you take the following into account:

#1 There’s another way to reach the refuge without as much walking

Seeing the sunrise from the Teide isnt something only people who are ultra-fit can enjoy.

As to see the sunrise from the top you have no choice but to spend the night at the refuge, the other way to reach it is to take the cable car from the base station to La Rambleta and then walk down on foot for about an hour.

In this case, the Teide trails you should take are the number 11 and then the number 7, which will take you directly to Altavista. If you want to see a map of all the Teides trails, click here.

#2 Alternative to get to the peak more easily

If you dont want to take the tough option of climbing Mount Teide via the Montaña Blanca Teide trail or youre going to be accompanied by someone who isnt as physically capable, the cable car is your best option. Thats why weve put together this other post, in which we talk in detail about your options to reach the peak with the help of the cable car.

The Mount Teide hike with the help of the Cable CarBut if youve already decided, dont hang around! Book with Volcano Teide Experience our star activity, which also includes optional transport and a guide that will share all of the Teides secrets with you:

I’d like to book a guided ascent by cable car

#3 If the La Fortaleza viewpoint or the cable car closes

When the La Fortaleza Viewpoint trail is closed due to weather conditions and youve reserved the combo of the night in the refuge + the cable car, if you cancel the night at the refuge, youll get a full refund. If its the cable car thats closed, then if you cancel, youll receive the amount corresponding to the descent by cable car, so youll have to go down on foot the same way you came up.

Teide National Park at your feet

Climbing Mount Teide isnt your only option. Far from it. There are all kinds of ways of reaching Teides summit, but if we get into that then things like permits and alternatives for the main crater come into play... we’ve explained it all in this guide to the Teide.

And if you want to explore the volcano under your own steam, dont miss this: weve prepared a calendar on which you can easily see all of the activities that are available in the Teide National Park. Get organizing!

What to do on Mt Teide: weekly calendar of activities

After all that, its time to say goodbye, but well leave you with this infographic that compares climbing Mount Teide on foot to doing it with the help of the cable car, just in case after reading this you still havent quite made up your mind. Enjoy!

Mount Teide hike: Montaña Blanca trail

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