Spain (Kingdom of Spain)

Languages: Spanish

Currencies: EUR · Euro (€)

Capitol: Madrid

Continents: Europe

Borders: France, Morocco, Gibraltar, Portugal, Andorra

More useful information

Area: 505,992km2

Population: 47,351,567

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +34

Timezones: UTC, UTC+01:00

Last updated on November 27, 2023

Hiking Pico de las Nieves – the highest peak of Gran Canaria – was my primary target on the island. At that point I have already hiked all the tallest peaks of 5 Canary Islands, including Mount Teide on foot both ways. 😉

Pico de las Nieves is located at the altitude of 1949 metres and is a part of Caldera de Tejeda to the west and the Caldera de Tirajana to the south. The mountain is extremely popular since it’s easily accessible by car or bike. But a lot of people would be still choosing hiking – the alternative option to get to the top of the mountain for impressive panoramic views of the hilly island.

Hiking Pico de las Nieves in Gran Canaria.

Pico de las Nieves means ‘Snow Peak’, as the mountain is often covered with snow in winter months. The easy access to the top of the mountain may seem hiking the peak is an easy adventure. Trust me it is NOT – it’s a long hike with elevation gain over 1000 metres. Here is full guide on hiking Pico de las Nieves via different routes. 

Hiking Pico de las Nieves brings a pleasant experience for those who want to remain a little bit more active on their holidays or switch sunbathing for some workout. This trail is suitable for non-professional hikers and it leads mostly along the asphalt road or maintained hard forest path. However, good fitness level is required due to total ascent and length of the trail, so do not underestimate this route.

Hiking routes to Pico de las Nieves.

There are two hiking routes to the top of Pico de las Nieves and the southern one is probably more interesting. I followed the northern trail, which starts in charming Vega de San Mateo town – which couldn’t be better for morning breakfast in one of the delicious local cafes.

Pico de las Nieves from Cruz Grande.

Hiking route from the south is probably slightly more interesting than the one from the north.The trail from Cruz Grande goes along stunning Ruta de la Plata, with many beautiful viewing points on the way. It’s a 15 km route both ways and takes approx. 6 hours to accomplish.  

Hiking Pico de las Nieves from Vega de San Mateo.

Hiking Pico de las Nieves the highest peak of Gran Canaria.

In the morning of my hiking day I traveled by public transport from Las Palmas toward the mountains, so there was no chance for me to get to the south trail in Cruz Grande. My only option was to start the hike from Vega de San Mateo.

The bus dropped me in the middle of this small town and it immediately had my attention. It’s a lovely, quiet, cosy mountain town, which fills you with positive energy from the moment you land there. 

It was 11am and I was dying for a good breakfast and coffee before this long hike. I also wasn’t toally sure about my route, as internet wasn’t very clear with all the directions. 

Place I highly recommend for breaky is Quesería Yo sin Ti or Cafe Rabel (next to each other). After a delicious apple crumble and Spanish coffee apple cryou are set for the hike! 

Starting point for hiking Pico de las Nieves.

Starting point: Vega de San Mateo (at the elevation of 820 metres)

Total ascent: 1130 metres one way

Total length: 20km both ways.

Hiking time: 3.5-4h up, 3-3.5h down.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Finding the right direction toward Pico de las Nieves took me a while. Eventually I found myself on the right path toward the peak.

From the cofe place take the main road GC-41 (C. del Agua) south direction. After 200-300m you can take a short cut and turn left into Cabildo de Gran Canaria street. At that point you should see first road signs toward Pico de las NIeves. Cross GC-41 and continue walking the street until the end of it where you take right into GC-41 – you should have a road sign toward Valsequillo and follow the main road toward round about. 

At the round about follow Telde and Valsequillo direction. After 300 metres turn right into GC-414 and when the road splits take right road Hoya Navarra and at the end of it turn left. AT that stage you still have 6.8km to Pico de las Nieves. Follow the road and take a direction toward Hoya del Gamonal. At this stage you will be walking an asphalt road with few steep sections. You should meet couple of road signs pointing at Pico de las Nieves. 

From Hoya del Gamonal the trail turns into a forest path and it is actually a very pleasant stage of the whole route. You will pass some buildings with road signs toward Pico de Las Nieves until you reach a mountain path leading toward GC-130. 

Just before reaching another asphalt road GC-130 you are finally able to get some magnificent mountain views. 

Once you reach GC-130 turn right and after a short distance turn left into GC-134. Follow the road and at that point you can choose to follow poorly maintained forest path on your left (next to the Military Station with barrier – see photo) or continue along the main car road until Pico de las Nieves viewpoint. Forest path was my choice, there was no point in following the popular asphalt road. 

Once you reach the peak you will probably see lots of cars parked enjoying the beautiful natural landscape of the island.

You might be surprised but reaching the highest point of the mountain will not be possible as it is a military terrain. The viewing point is a little lower but you are still an achiever!

Hiking up I met only 1 person on the way, there are no shops or cafes, so take plenty of water and snacks, as purchasing won’t be possible. It can get windy and quite chilly in winter mounths, pack some windproof clothing to stay warm.

It is quite popular to hike Roque Nublo or El Fraile peak from Pico de las Nieves. Roque Nublo is a stunning mountain point (or rather a basaltic rock). I would even say the trail is much more interesting than Pico de la Nieves route. Many people would book a full day trip to Pico de las Bieves and Roque Nublo at the same time.

Hiking Roque Nublo.

Roque Nublo peak is a half an hour hike (1.5 kilometres) along a maintained path starting from the main asphalt road. There’s a small car park with a stand offering fresh juices and some snacks. You’ll be able to see road signs on the beginning of the trail pointing at different routes and directions.

In general hiking Pico de las Nibes is a good adventure, quite challenging workout due to altitude and lenght, well worth the ascent. Make sure you have your way back figured out – there is no bus to the highest point of Gran Canaria and if you came on foot you will need to hike back. Or hitchhike like I did – I was very lucky to meet a lovely German traveler, who not only turned out to be a drone explorer but took me back to south of the island to lovely Maspalomas. Unplanned and unpredictable travels are the best and most adventurous way of exploring the world! Willi – many thanks for lovely chats during our road travels – you know how to drive (as for ex Formula 1 commentator). 

Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!