Hell of a ravine, hell of a walk

Invierno waterfallClasped in the palm of nature, that’s how it feels to reach the natural bowl at the end of the Barranco del Infierno (Hells Ravine) in Adeje. The water fall tumbles down the towering rock face as the 7 million year old rock stacks lean inward. Surprisingly, considering recent rainy outbursts, neither the cascade or the pool that feeds the stream, is particularly raging but the view is still impressive.

It’s 4 years since I last trod this popular path and high time to re-aquaint myself with it’s insight into nature. Pre booking by phone the day before meant I could stroll casually up the hill from Adeje town, past the Casa Fuerte and old canon, to the reception hut. Amazingly the walk still only costs 3 euros, and although a free leaflet gives basic info, it’s well worth paying the extra 2 euros for the thicker in depth booklet. All the information and the helpful advice of the ticket seller and the 2 on route guides, are in several languages including English.

Setting off, the barranco falls away below me, there are knee high wooden stakes along the edge of the path but these are just for guidance, certainly not protection. My feet are tested every step by the changing terrain, from stone blocks to loose gravel and rutted tracks with the odd tree root for good measure. Only 220 walkers are allowed per day on the route to protect it, the paths are well looked after with bridges made from wood and the crossing water pipes, helping to breach the old water chanel as the cool liquid makes its way down from the heights.


The route is fairly narrow and I get used to squeezing to one side as I meet returning walkers looking to pass, the viewing points marked out along the way are also handy for this interchange, as well as great places to take photos. After a while the sounds of school children playing in Adeje fade and are replaced by a calm silence, nature has its own sound track, once my ears have attuned, I can hear bird song and insects rustling in the undergrowth.

Barbary Partridge

Two thirds of the way down the walk is a rest point just before the final, more dangerous section. The high sides and constant wear of nature can sometimes lead to rock falls, so this last section is closely monitored and can be closed off at short notice if there is a problem. Thankfully on my visit all was well but I took the chance to top up with food and drink at La Cogedera (The Catching) before the final push and made a couple of nice discoveries. Just before the clearing I found 2 colourful and very tame birds pecking between some rocks. The Barbary Partridge (above) , the guide later identified it from my photo, posed nicely for me but would it have been so friendly if it knew I had turkey slices in my bread roll. Then settling on the large wooden chest at La Cogedera, I noticed a smug, well fed tabby cat sat on a rock near the stream, well why would you chase insects and lizards when passing tourists have much better scraps on offer.

Moving on into the final section I noticed the stream growing wider and deeper as willows sprung up all around and I had to weave my way around the twisted branches of the sabina trees. The ravine plunged deeper, looking up to the sky I spotted 5 para gliders performing a slow ballet on the thermal currents above the lip of the rocks. It was time for some careful footwork now as the stepping stones across the meandering stream were wet and slippery, but turning a final corner I found myself in the towering surrounds of the waterfall and rock pool, a fine reward for my efforts.


Heading back seemed quicker as I completed the 6,500 metre round trip, passing more eager explorers on the way. Back at my starting point I felt envigorated and pleased to note that it had taken me just over 3 hours including many photo and food stops. If you want to enjoy this challenge yourself, there are full details on the website. Next up for me, in 2 weeks time, is the Almond Blossom Walk from Santiago del Teide to Arguayo.