Pico de las Nieves (1949 meters), which means “Snow Peak,” is the second highest summit in Gran Canaria, easily accessible by car, bike, or foot. The summit of Pico de las Nieves is largely fenced off, because it’s a military base. Nonetheless, visitors have access to a south-facing viewpoint atop the mountain.
The obvious question is: if you can drive to the peak, why bother hiking? The simple reason is that you’d miss out on one of the best day hikes in Gran Canaria.
The out-and-back hike from Cruz Grande to Pico de las Nieves initially follows the stunning Ruta de la Plata, or Camino de la Plata (Silver Route), which traces an ancient footpath along which migratory cattle farmers used to herd their cattle.
The Silver Route also forms part of the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James), linking the south of Gran Canaria with the north.
At the Degollada Los Hornos trail junction, the trail to Pico de las Nieves branches off the Silver Route and steadily ascends a gorgeous Canary Island Pine forest, strewn with white sage, all the way up to the summit.
Pico de las Nieves Hiking Guide
- Trailhead: Cruz Grande. Exact Location: Google Maps
- Distance: 15.2 km out-and-back
- Time needed: 6 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 964 meters ascending/descending
- Difficulty: Moderate – Moderately Difficult
- Minimum Elevation: 1249 meters
- Maximum Elevation: 1925 meters
- When to Hike: all-year-round, ideally between November and May.
- Where to Stay: Parador de Cruz de Tejeda (hotel) in Cruz de Tejeda, Hotel Rural Fonda De La Tea (B&B) or Vivienda Vacacional La Portada (apartment) in Tejeda.
- Recommended hiking map: Freytag & Berndt WKE 5 Gran Canaria
- Recommended guide book: Rother: Gran Canaria
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Cruz Grande to Pico de las Nieves Trail Map
Where to Start the Pico de las Nieves Hike
Degollada de la Cruz Grande (Cruz Grande) is a viewpoint along the GC-60 between San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Ayacata. There is very limited parking at the Cruz Grande trailhead.
Llanos de la Pez
It is also possible to hike to Pico de las Nieves starting at the Llanos de la Pez outdoor recreation area along the GC-600, between Mirador Presa de Los Hornos and Cruz de los Llanos. Follow the “Circular Llanos de la Pez hiking trail.”
Pico de las Nieves Hiking Difficulty
This signed trail is very well-defined and easy-to-follow. There’s no technical difficulty. Parts of the route is cobbled, and thus uneven. Careful footing is important, especially on the descent.
We loved this trail, because it’s quiet, pristine, and it doesn’t lead through any villages.
It’s worth noting that the Cruz Grande – Pico de las Nieves hiking trail involves a hefty 964 meter ascent/descent, which shouldn’t be underestimated. This was the first hike we did on Gran Canaria. Our bodies (especially our knees) were utterly spent after the hike.
Cruz Grande to Pico de las Nieves Trail Description
Cruz grande to Llanos de Pargana (50 min – 1 hour)
From the small parking area at Degollada de la Cruz Grande, follow the GC-60 road for about 10 meters in the direction of San Bartolomé.
Soon you’ll see trail signs and a large “Camino de Santiago La Plata” wooden sign. Follow Trail S-50 in the direction of Pico de las Nieves, signed 7 km.
Hike up the residential paved road and pass the isolated house with a barking, but luckily contained, dog.
The rocky trail leads through a barren landscape, accented by the occasional succulent, particularly Kleinia neriifolia and Aeonium percarneum.
Ruta de la Plata, mostly cobbled, ascends towards an impressive rock formation. As you progress, you’ll follow a wide ledge trail beneath a rock wall and then ascend along a few switchbacks.
When the path divides, turn right, following the yellow-painted arrow and the cobbled path.
Soon, you’ll reach the expansive red-colored plain of Llanos de Pargana.
Llanos de Pargana to Ventana de Nublo turn-off (25 min)
Continue towards the line of pine trees. The Silver Route flattens out and leads through pockets of forest, always maintaining a northeast direction.
Ventana del Nublo Viewpoint Detour (10 min)
At the next signed intersection, there’s an opportunity to detour .2 km to the Ventana del Nublo (Roque Nublo Window) viewpoint. It takes about 5 minutes to walk to the viewpoint.
The “window” is a natural arch, through which you can see Roque Nublo.
After visiting Ventana del Nublo, return to the signed intersection.
Ventana del Nublo turn-off to Degollada de los Hornos (8 minutes)
Follow trail S-40 in the direction of Llano de la Pez and Cruz de Tejeda.
The soft pine needle forest path leads to the Degollada de los Hornos trail intersection. This is where the Pico de las Nieves trail branches off the Silver route.
Degollada de los Hornos to Pico de las Nieves (1 hour)
Follow S-51 to Pico de las Nieves, signed 2.9 km.
The narrow trail continues to ascend through the Canary Pine forest, alternating between steep and flat passages. This is a forest trail to be savored. The forest floor is covered in silver-colored white sage (sideritis dasygnaphala), yellow broom (Teline microphylla), and codeso broom (Adenocarpus foliolocus).
Views open up to Pico de las Nieves and the Riscos de Tirajana cliffs.
Another sign directs you to Pico de las Nieves (S-51). From here, it’s a 15-minute ascent to the summit viewpoint. The final leg to the GC-134 road is rocky and rugged. There’s a globe-shaped building on Pico de las Nieves, which is part of a military base.
When you reach the paved road, you’ll see a few parking spaces and a parked van, selling beverages and regional specialities.
Cross the road and follow the path to the Pico de las Nieves viewpoint (1 minute).
Pico de las Nieves Viewpoint
When you reach the crowded lookout, the Morro de la Agujereada (1956 m), the highest mountain on Gran Canaria, is directly in front of you.
From the viewpoint, you can see notable landmarks such as Roque Nublo, Roque Bentayga, El Fraile, La Caldera de Tejeda and the Tirajana crater.
On clear days, views extend to Tenerife’s Pico del Teide and Gran Canaria’s Tamadaba massif in the northwest and the Ameruga massif in the southeast.
Return Route: Pico de las Nieves to Cruz Grande (2:15 hours)
Follow the same route back to Cruz Grande.
Where to Stay near Pico de las Nieves
Cruz de Tejeda
Cruz de Tejeda (1514 m) is a small hamlet situated on the crossroads of GC-150 and GC-15, high above the town center of Tejeda. Cruz de Tejeda serves as a viewpoint, pit stop, and trailhead.
Multiple hiking trails start here, including the Cuevas del Caballero Caves hike, Cruz de Tejeda to La Culata circuit trail, and the hike to Tejeda. With its advantageous location and close proximity to other trailheads (Degollada de Becerra, Llano de la Pez, Degollada de la Goleta, and even Cruz Grande), Cruz de Tejeda is an ideal base for hiking.
Luxury | Parador de Cruz de Tejeda is an iconic mountainside hotel overlooking the Tejeda basin. Stay here for the sweeping views of the Tejeda basin and the comfortable rooms with balconies. The cherry on top is the on-site spa and the infinity pool spilling out towards the caldera. If you stay here, make a reservation for the spa in advance.
Situated on the eastern edge of the caldera de Tejeda (volcanic crater of Tejeda), the white-washed town of Tejeda (1050 m) is arguably the most beautiful town on the island. The town center is home to a famous bakery, Dulcería Nublo, an artisan gelateria, Heladería LaLexe, the upscale canary restaurant and brewery Texeda, as well as a number of other eateries.
Midrange | Hotel Rural Fonda De La Tea is a welcoming bed and breakfast in the town center of Tejeda. Guests love the mountain views, the friendly service, overall cleanlieness, and the private terrace.
Budget-Midrange | Vivienda Vacacional La Portada is a top-rated, spotless apartment in the heart of Tejeda with a well-equipped kitchen and terrace facing Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga.
Gran Canaria Hiking Essentials
- Hiking Backpack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- Hiking Poles (Optional): Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Polarized, CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Sony Vario-Tessar 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS ZEISS
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
Gran Canaria Guidebooks
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