Text: Leisure Lanzarote. Photography: Dani Stein.
WHERE TO START: Park your car on a cobblestone-paved road which you take at the exit of the village of Yé towards Guinate. This is not an adequate trail for children. DIFFICULTY: Medium-high. DURATION: The descent is made in approximately 45 minutes to an hour. The ascent will take between an hour and a quarter and an hour and a half. WHAT TO BRING: The strong grade of the descending and climbing slope (you descend from 2.000 to 0 feet [600 to 0 meters] in only an hour makes a good warm-up advisable, with special attention to flexibility exercises of the lower limbs. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Bring water (in this case, lots of water), some chocolate or snacks, a hat and sun screen. Do not forget your cell phone..
Leaving the village of Yé towards Guinate you will find a sign that announces a side road to Mirador del Río. Approximately 300 yards after taking this road you will see a building that is rather different from the urban constructions of this area in the north of Lanzarote. It is the rural hotel Finca La Corona. At a short distance, to the left, there is a cobblestone-paved road where we can park our vehicle. As we recommend in the box on the left, this trail is quite demanding physically because of the strong downward and upward climb that we will tackle. In a short time, and in a very short distance, we will go from 2.000 to 0 feet [600 to 0 meters] above sea level. Because of this, it’s a good idea to do some good warm-up exercises on the cobblestoned parking area, paying special attention to flexibility exercises of the lower limbs.
Following the natural stone path, we find a nice viewpoint that places us in front of the always attractive sight of the Chinijo Archipelago. On clear days, you can see La Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Alegranza islands. From here it is possible to see clearly the zigzagging trail that will take us to the Del Risco beach and the Del Río salt mines (the oldest on the Canaries, and from which there are references in the first chronicles of the conquest).
The route had a lot of social and commercial trade between La Graciosa and Haría. In the restaurants of Caleta del Sebo, especially at Girasol, there are some photographs that show women from La Graciosa carrying baskets full of fish and salt. Today, at the beginning of October 2008, while descending we come across a woman in her 70s who climbs with enviable agility. She is carrying a home-made speargun, wearing flip-flops and a traditional hat. She does not descend and climb in vain. She has a backpack well loaded with octopus on her back. We ask her: “How was it?” “There are some octopus left…I did not go in vain”, she answers. I did not go in vain. For her going hiking to look at nature or just to work out would be unthinkable.
The trail is not difficult, but all the rocks force you to concentrate carefully on where you step. It’s best to take advantage of each turn in the zigzagging to gaze at the marvelous view, but also to look back at the road already covered and let ourselves be taken by the visual power of the cliff of Famara. From a vegetation point of view, this enclave is one of the most complete on the island. As she says in this complete work, Nieves Morales, director of the Casa de los Volcanes de Lanzarote, the area “houses all the different types of vegetable species that exist in Lanzarote, 19 of them are endemic to Lanzarote, and of these, 14 are exclusive to the Cliff of Famara.” Therefore, on the trail you will be able to see different species like bobo trees, gorse bushes or aulagas, a local kind of Euphorbia called veroles, prickly pear cacti or tuneras, sorrels or vinagreras or a type of daisy called tojio.
The overwhelming silence of the place is broken by the cries of the abundant bird colonies like the gull-like pardelas, fishing eagles or guinchos, peregrine falcons and kestrels. It is also common to hear partridges, vultures, turtledoves and pigeons, among other species. This is an area where rabbits abound. Hunters can also be seen on the trail, along with their ferrets and dogs sniffing the area looking for some prey.
After about 45 minutes hiking, the steep slope levels out and the trail becomes wider and more comfortable. We are at the foot of the cliff, by the beach, which is very attractive because of its tranquil waters and the quality of its sand. In front of the coast the “river” that separates La Graciosa from Lanzarote, Caleta del Sebo and Montaña Amarilla gives a special character to this secluded place. It’s a good idea to take some time to regain strength in our legs with some soothing stretching exercises. Soothing, yes, but also preventive, because after the paddles, playing soccer, the refreshing swim and the snacks we still have to climb back.
The stay at the beach is very convenient for a visit to the Del Río salt mines. As we said above, they are the first salt mines there is record of on the Canaries, according to the first chronicles of the conquest of the Americas in the 15th century (more details). Nowadays they are not in use, but they maintain their particular structure, which along with their location, gives them a particular charm.
The return to the starting point is by the same route as the downward hike. It is physically demanding. We recommend tackling it in no hurry, regulating breathing well and making any stops that’s needed to regain your strength and breath. It is very pleasant when you reach the viewpoint of Yé. Once more, this is a good place to do some good stretching exercises. Your legs will thank you in a few hours.
Note: Leisure Lanzarote grateful for the photographic work of Daniel Stein illustrating this post informative. His photos.
What to do before and after: As a more relaxed alternative we can have a refreshment with the views of the river and the Chinijo Archipelago from the Mirador del Río. It is possible to see the salt mines and the cliff beach from this point. If you finish your climb around 1 or 1:30 p.m., the fish at Amanecer of Arrieta is a very good option to regain your strength. Something lighter and cheaper, a few miles farther south, in Guatiza…some good tapas.