Many, many years ago I read a travel book about a wheelchair user exploring Caribbean islands. Needless to say, he didn’t always find it an easy or straightforward task as the terrain wasn’t wheelchair friendly and few places had made any attempts to make their premises accessible to anyone with mobility problems.
I thought about that book recently whilst checking our walking route directions in Teno Rural Park. The last time we’d checked the route had been two years previously when a section close to Erjos was ‘officially’ out of bounds as there were workmen with heavy machinery laying a new path.
The path, now completed, turned out to be one of Tenerife’s wheelchair-friendly ones, designed to make areas that would otherwise be almost impossible to reach accessible to people with mobility difficulties.
There are now a few of these paths around the island, here are the ones we know about.
Monte del Agua, Erjos
An 800m section of the Monte del Agua route has been adapted for wheelchairs. A special access road leads from the TF82 just outside Erjos to the start of the route at the mast above the town. The path leads through the forest to a wooden viewpoint jutting out over the forest. The bad news is the viewpoint is currently taped off, presumably it’s not considered safe. However, the route does at least give a taster of the Monte del Agua, a lush and sparsely populated part of the north west of Tenerife.
El Portillo Circular, Teide National Park
Teide National Park has a selection of routes which are wheelchair friendly. At El Portillo Visitors Centre one weaves through the centre’s interesting Botanical Gardens area, all in all it’s a 700m circuit.
Guamasa, Teide National Park
It’s only a very short route, 350m, but the path from the Guamasa Mirador allows wheelchair users to reach the base of the Guamasa Volcano. The mirador is on the left, a short distance from El Portillo along the TF24 road leading to La Laguna.
Roques de Garcia, Teide National Park
The Roques de Garcia route is another short one (210m), but it does get people closer to the iconic Roque Cinchado, and opens up a popular and spectacular bit of the park which would otherwise be inaccessible. The route starts at the parking area for the Roques.
Bosque de Agua Garcia, Agua Garcia
This is a part of the island few visitors see, let alone ones who are wheelchair users. The route begins near the Centro de Información Patrimonial de Agua Garcia in the northern Tenerife hills; a truly off the beaten track path. The wheelchair accessible section winds for 430m into a protected forest of laurel, pines and viñatigos.
Cruz del Carmen, Anaga
Leaving the best till last. At Cruz del Carmen in Anaga, three routes make up the Trail (or Path) of the Senses set. The first is 340m long and covers part of the old trading route between Anaga villages and La Laguna. The second is a circular trail 540m long which also takes in part of the trading route. It’s described as being suitable for wheelchairs on the Tenerife Tourism Board website, but the description also refers to steps, a bridge, and a suspended walkway so only part of it might be suitable. The information board at Cruz del Carmen states only route 1 has been fully adapted for wheelchairs. Trail 3 is the longest at 1.27km and takes in the other two trails, but is more an easy trail for walking in general. The point of the Trails of the Senses is they open up this part of the island to people with various physical restrictions. Walking in Anaga tends to be quite challenging, so these routes are also useful for anyone who wants to experience what is arguably the most beautiful part of Tenerife but who might not be comfortable tackling the other, more demanding routes in the area.