La Fortaleza is quite an impressive sight. The path winds through a desert-like landscape with Teide, as always, dominating the scenery. Dominating that is until you climb a ridge to be faced with a wide sandy plain where the sheer volcanic wall that is La Fortaleza steals your gaze away from the volcano.
It is one of my favourite views in the National Park and one time when I like to see other people ahead when taking photos as their ant-sized forms really shows of the epic scale of the vista.
The path leads below the ‘fortress’ walls to a viewpoint overlooking Tenerife’s north west slopes if its clear, or a wonderful mar de nubes (sea of clouds) if it isn’t. A detour before La Fortaleza leads up a soft, sandy path to a small ermita and more ‘wow’ views.
Facts from the visitor Centre
La Fortaleza Trail Start: Visitors’ Centre at El Portillo Finish: La Fortaleza hillside (limit of national park)
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
Length: 5.3 Km Difficulty: Low
Maximum difference in height: 175 m
Way Description: Undulating trail with continuous views of Mt Teide. From the start to the Cañada de los Guancheros, the trail wends its way through mounds of pumex (pumice stone) where white broom and laburnum bushes reign supreme. In the Cañada de los Guancheros, there is an abundance of rosalillo de cumbre (Pterocephalus lasiospermus), tonática (Nepeta teydea) and hierba pajonera (Descurainia bourgeauana). The final section of the trail runs along the foot of the Riscos de la Fortaleza: cliffs covered in vegetation associated with escarpments and Canary Pines.
The route was easy, you can easily do it without any special preparation. For me it was definitely worth a visit. Especially end of the trail is spectacular with a view above the clouds. For us it was a good training before climbing El Teide.