This park includes the volcano itself and the Cañadas del Teide, a violent jumble of volcanic leftovers from El Teide and the neighboring Pico Viejo. Within this area you can find blue hills (the result of a process called hydrothermal alteration); spiky, knobby rock protrusions; and lava in varied colors and textures. The bizarre, photogenic rock formations known as the Roques de García are especially memorable; a two-hour trail around these rocks—one
of 30 well-marked hikes inside the park—is recommended.
You enter the Parque Nacional del Teide at El Portillo. Exhibits at the visitor center explain the region's natural history; a garden outside labels the flora found within the park. The center also offers trail maps, video presentations, guided hikes, and bus tours. A second park information center, near Los Roques de García and next to the Parador Nacional Cañadas del Teide, has details and trail maps.
Cable Car. On its way to the top of Mt. Teide, the cable car passes sulfur steam vents. You can get a good view of southern Tenerife and Gran Canaria from the top, although you'll be confined to the tiny terrace of a bar. The station also has a restaurant. 922/010440. www.telefericoteide.com. €13. Ascent: daily 9–4; last descent 5.
Climbing the Teide Crater. If you're planning on hiking in the park, plan ahead. Take warm clothing even in summer, suitable footwear, sun protection, and plenty of drinking water. The trail to the top (No. 10) of the volcano is closed when it's snowy, usually about four months of the year. The difficult final 656 feet to the volcano crater itself takes about 40 minutes to climb, and you need a special (free) pass to do so—bring a photocopy of your passport's information page to the visitor center, or book online (well in advance to be sure of a pass in high season). If you stay at the refuge and access the crater before 9 am, you don't need a pass. www.reservasparquesnacionales.es.
Orotava, Tenerife, Spain