The most ambitious of our routes covers the entire Cumbre Vieja ridge, running from north to south and back through the entire Natural Park of the same name.
During the last half million years, all of La Palma’s volcanic activity has happened in the southern half of the island, eventually forming the Cumbre Vieja ridge. It’s a massive gabled roof that grew at a dizzying rate (on a geological scale, that is). Along its ridge we’ll find traces of six historical eruptions, which are those that we have a written record of. And we will see all of them along our path.
We start by going down towards the east by the LP-301. This very short stretch of asphalt ends with a view of the Tacande cone (eruption of Montaña Quemada, c. 1460). The Astronomical Viewpoint marks the start of the Pista del Oeste, the first of the two forest paths that make up our route.
Barely a couple kilometres onwards we find two new geological elements of interest: an informal viewpoint overlooking the Llano del Banco (the most productive of San Juan’s volcanic mouths, which had its lava reach the coast of Tazacorte in 1949) and the Hoyo de la Sima (a much older gas chimney, with a sheer, 70 metre drop inside). Just afterwards, Route 6 veers away from us.
We’ll cross a second lava field (associated with the Montaña de los Lajiones and the 1712 eruption) before turning towards the opposite slope. The change in direction happens at Montaña de los Arreboles, near the town of Los Canarios. If we want to, we can descend towards the town following Route 5, but there are a couple alternatives to refill water bottles. The first option is to dismount and follow the path SL FU 110 towards the Fuente del Tión. The second option, on the eastern slope, is to go to the Recreation Area at Fuente de los Roques (which also has tables and benches).
Before completing the circle we traverse another two historical eruptions: the Malpaís de Flores (created by the Volcán de Tigalate in 1646) and the narrow bands that happened from the overflow in the lava fields of El Duraznero (1949). The return trip goes along the paths PR LP 1 and SL VM 124, along the path shared with Route 4.