The island is almost circular in shape, with the highest point sited right in the middle of the island. This has led to its characteristic cone-shaped relief, criss-crossed by deep gorges fanning out from the centre, and large depressions caused by volcanic activity or erosion; the calderas. Nevertheless, there are major geo-morphological differences between the gentle north-easterly relief and the rugged terrain of the south west.
Its legendary climate really is extremely mild and, depending on where you are and the altitude, you could experience any one of the different micro-climates that divide the island into three bio-climatic districts: the N.E., the Canary Island Trade Winds or Humid Island, the Xero-Canary Island district, or Dry Island in the S.W. and, above 1500 metres, the Highlands.
Knowledge of the different peculiarities of the terrain and the micro-climates of Gran Canaria is fundamental for making the right choice of route and the right shoes, clothes and food, etc. you should take with you.
The island terrain is criss-crossed by an intricate network of foot paths ranging from easy forest paths and bridle paths to tracks and trails that are strictly for expert hikers.
The size of the island and its rugged relief, have created short, but very steep routes. . Depending on their layout, these trails can go from “coast to highlands” with very gentle slopes and almost in a straight line when they run along a gorge, or concentric or transversal, which tend to be more circuitous and steeper, as they cross these features of the land.
Work is presently being done to sign-post the main trails of the island, and there are plans for more. This will replace the traditional signs, which consist of stone milestones or landmarks. There are several books and Guides that offer detailed descriptions and maps of the island’s network of trails.
You do not need any highly sophisticated equipment. But your footwear should be a bit more robust than the usual walking shoes. We recommend tough, water-proof mountaineering boots with good ankle support. Leave training shoes or sandals for short walks or for when you take a rest.
Clothing depends on the weather conditions on the day and the area the trail crosses. Apart from in areas of sparse vegetation, we do not advise you to wear delicate clothing, or short articles of clothing; like shorts, tops, etc.
Apart from the small but sufficient 30 litre rucksack, the most recommendable accessories are telescopic ski poles or walking sticks, invaluable for traversing steep inclines comfortably, camera or video, Oh, and a mobile telephone, just in case.