Astronomical Footpaths

Observation and Stars

This tour covers a small section of the GR-131 “The Walking Stick” and LP PR 11/12, passing through the peaks of the island, bordering on the National Park Caldera. During the tour we can see numerous natural erosion walls, dykes, the most iconic of which is “Roberto’s Wall”.

Near this volcanic dyke we can find numerous ancient inscriptions (petroglyphs), the work of the first inhabitants of the island, the Awara. The site contains over 20 engravings, the most outstanding of which is a group of 4 small symbols in the form of U on the same rock. According to some research, it may be related to the worship of Canopus, since its arrangement lines up with the place where the star sets.

The Isaac Newton and Jacobus Kapteyn Telescopes, near the trail, welcome us to the observatory. After passing the Swedish Solar Tower and the DOT, in the next dip, on the right, you can find a restored shepherd’s shelter. After reaching the highest point of the island, El Roque de Los Muchachos (2,426 m.), we go down the path PR LP 11/12 towards the heliports. We can find several more restored shepherd’s huts close the trail, as well as passing close to professional telescopes like the Gran Telescopio Canarias – GTC, the largest optical telescope in the world with a main mirror 10.4 m. across.

After the heliports, the trail leads to the archaeological site of Las Lajitas, protected by fences, inside which can be found 18 stone cairns of different sizes with nearly a hundred engravings. This was possibly an ancient astronomical marker (lunar and solar).

Duration: 4 hours 

Starting point:  Mirador de Los Andenes (2.277 m).
Distance: 6,5 km.
Finishing Point: Las Lajitas (Garafía) (2.176m. above sea level).

perfil Ruta sol. enderos.  isla de la palma, turismo de estrellas, canarias

The Route of Sun and Salt

This route, a section of the GR 131, runs from the San Antonio volcano (Los Canarios) to the vicinity of the Fuencaliente lighthouse and the salt pans.

On the flat ground beside the visitor centre for the San Antonio volcano, there is a newlyinstalled astronomical viewpoint which marks the solstices and equinoxes. On these dates, the shadow of one of the stelae (standing stones) points directly to the central stone.

During the excursion we take a detour to Roque Teneguía. This site contains a splendid collection of petroglyphs, composed of more than 70 panels and 150 inscriptions: meanders, circles and spirals among others. Due to its colour differentiation (lighter colour), orientation and arrangement of the rocks, some researchers believe that the place could have been an archetype (model) of the heavens to the ancient inhabitants of the island. The starring cosmic role is taken by the Winter Solstice, since most of the panels look towards it. Other designs mark the place where the sun sets during the summer solstice, the point of sunrise at the equinoxes and the exact point where the star Canopus rises and sets.

We rejoin the main trail running beside the Teneguía volcano, until we reach the salt pans (Salinas de Fuencaliente).

The path must end with a visit to the Salinas de Fuencaliente and its surroundings, where panels explain how the action of the Sun makes salt.

Duration: 4 hours 

Starting point:  Volcán San Antonio (650m.)
Distance: 10 km.
Finishing Point: Salinas de Fuencaliente (5 m above sea level.)

Prepare for your hike along these trails by visiting the web


The Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is open to visitors.
Take this chance and enjoy the stars from one of the most privileged sites on the planet for astronomic observations.

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