Going With The Flow On Chio Lava Trail

Mount Teide was not the only volcanic peak trying to catch the eyes of walkers in the Tenerife municipality of Guia de Isora. The aftermath of 1909´s youngest eruption on the island had scorched a series of tracks as nature added plants and trees to the landscape. Just a few yards in and the scale and beauty of the walk ahead became clear.

After parking on the TF38 hard shoulder opposite a wide flat path past a locked barrier ensuring foot only access, there were several choices of direction and length. The ground crunched underfoot as we entered the canopy of green leaves with clear blue skies and tantalising glimpses of towering rock formations. There was a good scattering of people enjoying the challenge, with an international  range of voices. For me it was a return to a walk I first did over 10 years ag0 – a mere blink of the eye by natures measure.

There was no skimping on the variety of the walk, it seemed that every flat clearing offered multiple choices of up, down, steep, flat, or open air options. I always praise the upkeep of the walks around Tenerife, this one must make severe demands on its protectors, and they had it all on top form without watering down the raw assault of pleasures. Signs kept walkers informed while reinforcing the respect needed to ensure all age groups could be safe and delighted at the same time. Fallen or damaged trees also had their part to play, blending in to contrast the strong survivors.

As the trees thinned out, more sneak previews of the main lava flow came into view. The last eruption in Tenerife was in 1909 down to Chinyero, before it was halted by a statue of the virgin that was placed in its path – and hailed as a miracle. It didn´t stop the trees from marching defiantly through the flow, a sight that can observed amid the annual almond blossom walks in Santiago del Teide, late February into March. The back leg of this Chio walk offered a reverse look at the solid lava, it looks stunning from any direction.

This circular Chio stroll took three leisurely hours, there are a few natural sheltered rest and food spots and always plenty of treats for the eyes. It´s a classic way to embrace the contrasts of the landscape and not too punishing on the legs – several family groups were walking with young children.