On an island with many must-do hikes, Los Tilos still looms large in every guidebook. It has it all. Gushing waterfalls, water channels, black tunnels, sheer cliffs, flooded trails, deep canyons, and beautiful vistas.
|The "Wet" Tunnel|
There are 12 tunnels in the trail along the water channel, which we were happy to see was almost on level ground after the leg-sapping climb to get up to it. The second tunnel we encountered was also the only time we saw any other hikers along the whole trail.
The people we met were wild-eyed, dripping wet, and carrying headlamps. Sure enough, we had arrived at the "wet" tunnel. The ceiling was pouring water, the trail was flooded with fast moving streams, and the tunnel "windows" looked out over a sheer cliff. We suited up with waterproof jackets and braved the opening. Balancing along the canal top didn't keep our feet dry but felt more reassuring than the streams flowing by on both sides. I'm sure we were a bit wild-eyed as well when we popped out the other end!
The tunnels continued, some long, short, wide, narrow, high, and quite low. We were progressing quite well in the beam of our dim headlamps (why do I never bring anything brighter along!?!) when I missed a protruding bump in the ceiling and brained myself so loudly that Rob heard the crash up ahead of me. Luckily my thick cap kept me from a knockout blow which would have tumbled me into the canal, to be fished out in much worse shape.
After two hours of sheer cliffs, smothering tunnels, and the endless flow of water, we arrived at the end of the trail and the start of the gravel road. While the big excitement was over, only a bird could reach our car from where we were at the moment. So, the trail was now a long descent back down into town on the PRLP 6. Luckily the sun came out and it was finally able to warm my freezing fingers and toes. The descent was marred only by the final 2 kilometer climb to our car on the road, which of course we knew about and dreaded in advance, having driven it that morning.
Even with the 3 hour ascent I would do this hike again, it's that awesome. Although a shared taxi up to the start is probably preferred.
Hike #25 in Walk! La Palma hiking guide. OR Walk #31 in Walking On La Palma suggests the whole route we walked rather than just the "exciting" parts of the circle. However this guide dulls down the exciting bits, so ignore the boring description and just get out there and find a way hike the tunnels!