Hiking Route 3. Cuevas Blancas Dam - Rincón de Tenteniguada via La Pasadera ravine. Blue Tajinaste Routes
Cuevas Blancas Dam Altitude: 1665 m
Rincón de Tenteniguada Altitude: 973 m
Total Distance: 3420 m
Time to cover the Route: 2hr. 15’
Direction of the Route: SW-NE
Net Difference in Altitude: 692 m
Difficulty rating: Medium-low
For the most part, this route crosses the Los Marteles Special Nature Reserve and is of great scenic and scientific interest from a geological-geomorphological and biological point of view.
It begins at the foot of the GC-130 road from Telde to Los Pechos, at point: P0 Start (Cuevas Blancas Dam). The route runs along a small abandoned dirt track at an altitude of 1665 m.
It makes its way through a reforestation pine forest, opposite the Cuevas Blancas Dam along a surface of phonolite hauynite flows covered by a community of broom-Canary Island flatpod.
About 250 m along, the footpath begins, at point: P1 Beginning of the footpath, we shall continue through the broom-Canary Island flatpod, interspersed with Bowles mauve (Erysimum bicolor), a Macaronesian endemism, white sage (Sideritis dasygnaphala), endemic to Gran Canaria, and walking over phonolite hauynite lava flows.
After walking about 380 m to the top of Roque del Pino, at point: P2 Roque del Pino, we come to the domains of the Canary Island flatpod (Adenocarpus foliolosus), endemic to the Canary Islands, and yellow broom (Teline microphylla), which dominate the landscape.
We shall see crows flying overhead, a subspecies that is endemic to the Canary Islands (Corvus corax canariensis) and that is becoming increasingly endangered but that is useful as a scavenger.
Continuing along the route, we shall turn right towards the head of the La Pasadera ravine. From this point, we shall begin to descend a steep slope through a spectacular landscape formed by Pliocene basalt flows, fragmented by phonolite hauynite plugs that have been exposed by coastal-differential erosion. They are known by the name of “roques”, Roque Grande on the right.
A large number of plant species occupy these flows, among which we can see the yellow broom and Canary Island flatpod, the blue tajinastes (Echium callithyrsum), endemic to Gran Canaria and widespread in the area. Alongside these species, there are other Canary Island endemisms, such as sage (Salvia canariensis), cañaheja (Ferula linkii) or cerraja (Sonchus acaulis).
As we continue, we will come across rock-dwelling species in the most rugged and rocky areas. The rocks are home to very representative succulent species known as bejeques; such as Aeonium ondulatum, Aeonium simsii, Aeonium percarneum that are endemic to Gran Canaria, or in the case of Aeonium spathulatum, endemic to the Canary Islands. There are also communities of Greenovia aurea, which defy gravity, and Aichyrson laxum in the most humid corners; these latter two species are endemic to the archipelago.
We shall continue for about 700 m until we reach an ethnographic element: a cave-shelter (cueva alpendre), reminding us that this route was used for traditional livestock transhumance. Alongside this “alpendre”, a few metres further on, there is a threshing ground (era), next to a pine tree, which is a natural viewpoint from where we can enjoy a spectacular view of Valsequillo, vertically cut by the majestic Roque Grande to our right, point: P3 Threshing ground - viewpoint.
As we pass the viewpoint area, we shall reach the base of Roque Grande and where we will be able to admire it from one of its most attractive visual perspectives.
As we make our way down, after about 430 m, we shall cross to the North side of the ravine at point: P 4 Ravine crossing point. The environment quickly becomes more humid, as the geomorphology of La Pasadera ravine traps the mist carried by the trade winds. This phenomenon favours the presence of species such as broom (Chamaecytisus proliferus), the Canary Islands nettle (Urtica morifolia), “bicácaro” (Canarina canariensis) or “tacarontilla” (Dracunculus canariensis), endemic to the Canary Islands.
At the lower sections of the route, we shall be in the shade of blue tajinastes, accompanied by broom and “tabaibas” (Euphorbia regis-jubae), which reach a considerable size in this area. Together with them, we shall come across more and more fruit-bearing trees, such as chestnut (Castanea sativa), almond trees (Prunus amygdalus), walnut (Juglans regia) or others, like wild cherry trees (Prunus ceraus). This vegetation attracts many species of birds, including robins (Erithacus rubecula), Sardinian warblers (Sylvia melanocephala), blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla), Canary Island blue tits (Parus caeruleus teneriffae) or canaries (Serinus canaria ).
We shall continue another 480 m along the bed of the ravine until we reach the end of the footpath, where a dirt road starts, point: P5 Road; a few metres further down, there is a water gallery that is still in use.
From this point, we shall continue down for a further 330 m, through an area surrounded by agricultural lots of various types, until we reach the tarmac road next to a chestnut tree, at point: P6 Chestnut tree (el castañero). At this juncture, we shall find the first houses. From here, we must continue along the right-hand side of the road for a few metres and then turn left towards the NE.
After 250 m down this road, we shall find a traditional cheese factory: P7 Cheese factory, further down we will be able to see the local livestock from which the raw material for the production of these cheeses is obtained.
Further on, there is a road on the left, which we must take for another 600 m until we reach point: P8 End in Rincón de Tenteniguada Square, where we will be able to enjoy homemade food in this rural environment.