Tenerife – Hiking in the evergreen Esperanza Forest

Wanderweg im Wanderinnen

The Esperanza Forest – fantastically beautiful and very popular with hikers

Hiking trail to the Las Raíces rest area

In the north-east of Tenerife lies the Esperanza Forest, which with its numerous hiking and forestry trails is a popular and charming hiking area for locals and tourists alike. The Esperanza Forest, often referred to as the Fairytale Forest by the locals, is located in the area of the municipality of El Rossario. It is located on the edge of the central mountain range, the Cumbre Dorsal. This is an elongated mountain ridge that rises above La Laguna from 600 metres to 1800 metres in the tea region. 

the evergreen diverse Esperanza forest - there is much to discover along the way

In the northern part of the Esperanza Forest, you will find trees covered with ferns, such as pine trees, and especially “immigrant” eucalyptus trees. Flower and mushroom lovers will also find their stomping grounds in the Esperanza Forest. On the south side of the forest you will find huge pine trees that tower more than 40 metres into the sky. The forest is also home to numerous holly trees. There are many beautifully designed hiking trails and rest areas throughout the large forest area. Thanks to good signposting, you can choose from an infinite number of hiking trails. From some places you can enjoy breathtaking views of the northern part of Tenerife, the Anaga Mountains and the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria.

Path and walled cave on the Lomo de Jara hike

Two circular walks in the Esperanza Forest

As there are so many hiking options in the evergreen forest in the heights of Tenerife, I am presenting two circular walks here today. The first circular walk starts from the high road and takes you down the south-eastern slopes of the forest to the popular Las Raíces rest area. You then return to the starting point in a large arc with magnificent views of the coast and the Anaga Mountains. After the rest area, I have therefore named this tour the Las Raíces hike.

Hiking trail on the slope through the Esperanza Forest - Pista Huelgues on the las Raíces hike

The second hike starts at the Lomo La Jara rest area and leads in several large loops around this rest area. On the way, you will hike on forest paths and trails as well as well-designed new hiking trails. The circular route takes you past small caves, cave houses and a chapel. I have named this tour the Lomo de Jara Tour after the starting point. Both of these tours are just two of the many possibilities that you can find in the Esperanza Forest. Of course you can also extend or shorten them with other trails.

Both tracks of the circular walks in the Esperanza Forest

General information about the circular walks in the Esperanza Forest

Starting point and route: 

1st Las Raíces Tour

Starting point of the hike is a small car park on the TF-24, the Carretera de la Esperanza at 1240 metres altitude a few kilometres before Preventorio.

GPS data: 28.430057 N 16.384538 W

2nd Lomo de Jara Tour

Starting point of the hike is the rest area Lomo de Jara at 928 metres altitude near Agua García.

      GPS data: 28.455704 N 16.404193 W

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Access by car: 

1. Las Raíces Tour

Wherever you are travelling from on Tenerife, you will need to get onto the TF-24 mountain road at some point to get to the starting point. This can be done from the east of the island via the TF-523 (Güimar), or from the north via La Laguna via the TF-24, or from the north via Tacoronte and the TF-228 and via the Cañadas on the TF-24.

2nd Lomo de Jara Tour

From the south, north and east of the island, you first drive to the small town of La Esperanza. From there, take the TF-226 towards Agua García. Before you reach Agua García, there are several possibilities to turn left towards Esperanza Forest. For example, on Calle Hoya de Manzaneros. The Lomo de Jara rest and camping site is well signposted. You first drive on a small road and the rest of the way to the rest area on a dirt road.

Approach by bus: 

Las Raíces and Lomo de Jara Tour.

The Titsa bus line 41 only goes to Las Rosas. From there you could take a taxi or a very long walk to the starting point of the walks. See the Titsa homepage for details.

Time: 

I don’t like to give general times for walking tours, as the times are very individual.

1st Las Raíces Tour

This tour took me about two hours.

2nd Lomo de Jara Tour

We needed just under 4 hours for this hike with extensive rest and cave visits.

Altitude profile of the Esperanza Las Raíces circular hike

Difference in altitude and distance:  

1. Las Raíces Tour

This hike, with some extensions, is about 10 kilometres long and you have to climb about 400 metres in altitude.

2. Lomo de Jara Tour

This hike is just over 13 kilometres long and you have just over 450 metres of elevation gain.

Altitude profile of the Esperanza Lomo de Jara circular hike

Requirement:

Las Raíces and Lomo de Jara Tour.

Both hikes are very easy tours. The Las Raíces tour can also be described as an extended walk. The Lomo de Jara Tour as an easy hike. Both tours are very scenic and varied. They can also be shortened or extended individually if required.

Refreshments:

Las Raíces and Lomo de Jara Tour

You can stop for refreshments in nearby towns such as Las Rosas or La Esperanza. Therefore, take enough water and, if necessary, food with you.

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Variations:

Las Raíces and Lomo de Jara Tour.

Both hikes can be combined with numerous other tours through the Esperanza Forest. Simply drive to one of the large rest areas such as Las Raíces or Lomo de Jara and follow the signs there. There is a tour for every hiker, from short walks to extended hikes.

Esperanza Las Raíces Hike Track

Hike through the Esperanza Forest: Las Raíces Tour

Route section from car park to Las Raíces rest area

The hike begins at the car park on TF-24 (GPS data: 28.430057 N 16.384538 W). I first hiked a little to the left up the hill to see what was up there. For the actual circular walk, however, you keep to the right and follow a wide track (signposted on a wooden sign as Pista de Huelgues). This leads you slowly down the mountain through the forest. Here, from the height, you already have magnificent views towards the east of the island and can admire the tall pines and the rich tree population of the Esperanza forest. You continue straight ahead until you come to a junction where several larger forest paths converge.

Car park - starting point of the circular walk (south) Las Raíces

I first went uphill a little to the right and then straight on. However, the circular route takes you around to the left. This is the only place on the hike where the path becomes narrow and also leads quite steeply downhill. At the bottom, you will find yourself back on a wider hiking trail (Pista Pino de la Catadura). After a while, you will come to a larger junction in the middle of the forest. Continue straight ahead. I find the small path through the forest beautiful. If you want to extend a little further, go around to the right and then take the next path on the left. Both paths merge again at some point shortly before the Las Raíces rest area.

Starting point car park - signs for the Pista Huelgues that you follow

Route section from the Las Raíces rest area to the starting point of the car park

Cross the Las Raíces rest area and take a path to the right above the path. After a while, this brings you to the TF-24 road, which you cross. Here I first went up on a small path. After a short while, this became a track, which I followed uphill. Often you can see a wide view of the north side of the island and the Anaga mountains through the trees. If you want to extend the view here, keep to the right at a junction and you can extend the view a little further.

View from the heights of the north of Tenerife and the Anaga Mountains

After a while, the road meets another road further up. Follow this to the left. The path takes you further uphill through the forest for some time. Finally, a narrow path branches off steeply to the right of the road. Here you now hike steeply up the path, which leads you back to the TF-24 road after a short while. After you have crossed this road, you are back at the starting point of your hike, the car park.

Track of the hike on the north side of the Esperanza Forest Lomo de Jara

Hike through the Esperanza Forest: Lomo de Jara Tour

Section Lomo de Jara to the outskirts of Agua García

You start this hike in the middle of the Esperanza Forest at the tranquil Lomo de Jara rest area. Here you will find extensive hiking information on a signboard and good signposting. You first walk along the wide path that you came by car, towards the signposts for Las Lagunettas. The path leads you for a while through a kind of forest avenue with very dense and tall trees. Then you come to a fork in the road. Later you will come back to the left. Now keep to the right. Ignore a path that branches off to the right and stay on the main path.

Hiking trail in the Esperanza Forest near Lomo de Jara with good signposting

You will pass a tree decorated with many things. A memorial? But then another path branches off to the right. Take this path and you are now on a smaller forest path. Go straight on for a while. Then a narrow path branches off to the right from the main path. This will take you downhill. After a while you will pass a house that is well guarded by dogs. As you continue, you will come closer and closer to the village of Agua García.

Small memorial in the forest

Route section on the outskirts of Agua García to the caves along the way

On the outskirts of Agua García, the trail ends at another large rest area. At the end of the parking and rest area, Calle Lomo de Piedras branches off to the left. However, continue straight ahead on the road. After walking straight on for a while, the path branches off to the left. You walk for a while on a path slightly downhill. On your right is the forest and on your left are houses with large gardens. 

Small farmstead at the edge of the hiking trail

Eventually the path leads away from the properties and back into the forest. After walking downhill for a while, you will come to a pretty, landscaped rest area. This is the ideal place for a picnic. From here you continue uphill. Then take another sharp left downhill and climb up again on a well-railed path. You will pass caves that you can explore. They are not very deep – but good enough for a short cave walk.

Caves along the hiking trail

Caves to Lomo de Jara section

After you have passed the caves, the hiking trail now leads you up the mountain, sometimes a little steeply, through the forest. At some point you will cross the road that took you to Lomo de Jara. If you have already hiked enough, you can simply turn right and walk back to Lomo de Jara in a short time. The larger trail, however, continues on the opposite side of the path. It takes you around to the right, higher and higher into the Esperanza forest. After a while you will come to a wider track, which you follow to the right. You have to leave the path at the first bend to the left. After a few metres you will be in front of a large building in the forest, which you pass on the right. 

Small rest area on the hiking trail

When you have gone a little further straight ahead, you will come to a forest path in a kind of clearing. Follow this path to the left for a long time. At some point the path bends to the right and soon afterwards it ends at another path. Follow this path to the right for a long time. At a fork, keep to the right again. You will pass a small chapel. You will then come to another fork. Here you have already come from the right on the way there. Now keep to the right and you will be back at the starting point of Lomo de Jara in no time.

Small chapel on the hiking trail in the evergreen forest

And finally

I hope you enjoyed these two short circular walks through the Esperanza Forest. As mentioned above, there are many more ways to explore this beautiful forest area on Tenerife. Maybe in the next season, starting in autumn 2021, more people will have the opportunity to travel to the Canary Islands and go hiking here as well. Ojala (let’s hope so) – as the Spanish say. Have fun with all your hikes,

Dagmar from Seven Islands

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