Anaga TF-1 trail - Mirador Cruz Del Carmen lookout

TF-1 Las Mercedes – Cruz del Carmen: A Trail to Reach The Anaga Rural Park By Foot

WHY TRUST THIS INFORMATION? I hiked A LOT, including a quest to hike all Anaga trails during my family’s year in Tenerife from 2022 to 2023. This and other articles are based on my personal experience, while hiking alone and with our kids.

TF-1 ‘Business Card’

One of the nicest sections of the TF-1 trail that intersects with the Path of the Senses or Sendero de los Sentidos

TF-1 is a historical trail between La Laguna and the villages of Anaga Rural Park. If you don’t want to drive a car or take the bus, this is the fastest way how to get up to the Anaga mountains.
The trail ends at Cruz del Carmen, which is where not only where the excellent Anaga Tourist Information Centre is located, but it’s also the starting point of the TF-10, TF-11, TF-12 trails, as well as the child-frienldy Path of the Senses (Sendero de los Sentidos).
TF-1 has a well-equipped public barbecue spot mid-way.

Our TF-1 Hike Video


If you have any questions about this hike, please leave them below or under the video on YouTube, and I’ll try to respond ASAP.

You are welcome to check out videos of all other official Anaga hiking trails from TF-1 to TF-12 on our YouTube channel.

TF-1 Ranking Among Other Anaga Hiking Trails

If you do not want to do further research, below is an overview of all Anaga hiking trails ranked from best to not so impressive.

Anaga Rural Park trails ranked from the best to not so good, trails include all hikes from TF-1 to TF-12
Anaga Rural Park trails ranked from the best to not so good, trails include all hikes from TF-1 to TF-12

This rating should be useful for the average hiker, traveling without children and not having any health issues or low physical form. If you are looking for a list of trails arranged by ease, child-friendliness, and other criteria, read this article about all Anaga Rural Park hiking trails.

Map of TF-1 trail

In the map above you see the Anaga Rural Park, the green area on map. It is the most North Easterly area of the island of Tenerife.

The TF-1 trail is marked red on the map. This is an interactive map and you can zoom in to plan your hikes in more detail. If you want to download the GPS file to use in Maps.me or another mobile phone app, here’s the TF-1 trail GPX file for download on our Google Drive.

The above trail length and elevation numbers are based on my GPS watch readings when doing the trail. They may differ from figures in information of the Anaga Rural Park Administration. In general, there was at least a slight discrepancy between official and hikers’ GPS readings for most Anaga trails.

This article describes the trail as done from Las Mercedes village towards Cruz del Carmen (Carmen’s Cross, a location with a viewpoint, Tourist Information Centre, a parking lot, and a restaurant). You can do the trail in any direction. Quite many people choose to descend from Anaga back to villages surrounding La Laguna – Las Mercedes, Las Canteras, and Jardina.

How to Make Sense of Anaga Trails? Which to choose?

There are 12 official trails in the Anaga Rural Park in the North of Tenerife.

These trails are numbered from TF-1 to TF-12 and some have additional sections like TF-6.3 to add variety to your hikes or connect trails or villages with car parking locations and bus stops.

TrailLength
(miles / km)
Vertical ascent
(feet / m)
DifficultyAdditional Information
TF-12.36 / 3.81014 / 309EasyChild-friendly
TF-27.46 / 121562 / 476MediumChild-friendly
TF-36.03 / 9.72133 / 650HardCircular
TF-42.11 / 3.466 / 20EasyChild-friendly, downhill trail
TF-56.84 / 111230 / 375Medium
TF-67.89 / 12.73044 / 928HardCircular, top choice
TF-74.77 / 7.681089 / 332EasyChild-friendly
TF-89.63 / 15.53353 / 1022HardCircular, top choice
TF-93.85 / 6.20667 / 203Medium
TF-107.41 / 11.91853 / 260Hard
TF-117.71 / 12.401292 / 394HardTop choice
TF-127.12 / 11.45331 / 101EasyChild-friendly, boring
Overview of all Anaga Rural Park trails
In all cases, I took the trail from the middle of Anaga Rural Park to the ocean side. The vertical ascent shown in the table is in the direction of the ocean. If you would take any of the trails in the opposite direction, they would be much harder.

The internet is full of Anaga trail suggestions that present a segment of these 12 trails as a unique trail, confusing both novice and experienced hikers.

The table above provides a useful overview of the 12 trails. You should also read our Guide to All Official Routes in the Anaga Rural Park.

Why Is the TF-1 Trail Worth Hiking?

We are still working on a visual introduction to the TF-1 trail.

One would hike this trail for the following reasons:

  • Easy hike for children and not very fit individuals.
  • You do not have a car, but want to easily access Anaga from La Laguna.
  • Allows you to access trails TF-10, TF-11 or TF-12 that start in Cruz del Carmen by foot.
  • To access the barbecue spot located in the middle of the trail.
  • Ascend to or descend from the Anaga Rural Park.
  • Start or end a hike with breakfast or lunch, as both ends of the trail have restaurants located there. While Cruz del Carmen has one restaurant, Las Mercedes has even 3 restaurants at the trailhead (Casa Domingo, Restaurante Melián, and Casa Ramiro), and more further in the village.

Visual TF-1 Trail Guide and Key Landmarks

Trailhead in the Las Mercedes village

The TF-1 trail starts in the Las Mercedes village near the church of Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes (Google Maps link). You can see the very distinct bell tower in the background of the image.

As you ascend a few hundred meters from the church, you can already see the final destination, the Mirador Cruz, Del Carmen – marked in the picture with the white arrow. The lookout has not only a beautiful panorama on the La Laguna city, but also of the Teide volcano on clear days. There is a picture of the panorama further below.

The trail is relatively well marked in the yellow-and-white flags as is customary for Anaga trails. The markings can be found on any object that’s on the trail. In this picture you see the marker flag on the electricity pole.

The only slightly confusing place on the trail is about 200-300 meters from the Las Mercedes village church, as it is hard to understand whether you need to walk on the paved road or on this earth track. The soil track is the right way, and it is next to one of the place markers – the gas refueling station.

Start of the forest path

In quite a few spots, the trail is marked with wooden poles and the official trail markers that usually indicate one of the trailheads and the distance in kilometers until it.

This picture allows you to assess how steep are the sides of the trail. As you can see in the picture, the sides are not really steep and hence we recommend this trail for hikes with children.

Most of the trail is covered in reddish clay-like earth. Occasionally there are these wooden steps that you can see in the picture. Because of clay in the soil, the trail can be slippery during rain. However, this is not a major problem as the trail doesn’t really have any steep sides where you could fall off. This is a kid-friendly trail.

Picnic spot

In the middle of the trail, there is this barbecue spot. These are quite popular on the island of Tenerife and have all of the amenities that you might wish for a nice family outing. There are multiple tables with benches. There are bathrooms and running water. And there are special grilling spots even though you are not allowed to light an open fire elsewhere in the nature park.

These are quite fancy as usually, the bathrooms are less sophisticated.

Section overlapping with Path of the Senses (Sendero de los Sentidos)

This is what the trail looks like when you get closer to Cruz del Carmen. The trail is definitely most picturesque in the last third as you ascend to Anaga hill tops.

As you can see in this picture, people are taking a casual weekend stroll and there are kids on the trail as well.

I quite liked that this particular trail had several of these information plaques, which introduced you to the history of the Anaga Rural Park, its communities, and the particular TF-1 trail.

The last kilometers / half a mile of the TF-1 trail intersects with the Path of the Senses (Sendero de los Sentidos). You can also use the TF-1 trail to access one more short trail – Llano de los Viejos.

The TF-1 section that overlaps with Sendero de los Sentidos is the most civilized part of the trail and is in large sections covered with this wooden deck. The Sendero de los Sentidos has three versions, even though this trail is very short. This section with the wooden deck is meant for strollers and persons in wheelchairs and has very little elevation change.

Cruz del Carmen and Tourist Information Centre

This is a nice piece of artwork in Cruz del Carmen. It is near to the tourist information center, which I strongly suggest you to visit if you plan to do hikes in the Anaga Rural Park.

The tourist center not only hands out printed maps of all of the trails in the park, but also has very friendly and knowledgeable English-speaking guides that can advise you on everything from trails to weather, and give any other tips that you might need.

Cruz del Carmen restaurant

Cruz del Carmen has one restaurant which you see in the picture. It is “originally” named Restaurant Cruz del Carmen. Don’t expect major food discoveries here, but is gets the job done if you want a meal before or after hiking, along with a cold beer or vino de casa.

Mirador Cruz del Carmen and Teide panorama

You definitely have to go to the lookout (mirador) at the end of the parking lot. It has a superb view of not only Las Mercedes and La Laguna mr but also the Teide volcano in the distance.

How to Get to the Trail Heads?

By Car

Tenerife is quite car-centred. If you are interested in hiking, having a car is a major asset. Even if busses go to your intended trailhead, it’s so much easier not to be dependent on bus schedules.

Google Maps, Apple Maps and similar apps work well on the island, so all you have to do is to just enter your destination. To get to the end of the TF-1 trail, you would just enter “Cruz del Carmen” in the app, and it will bring you to the location in Anaga Rural Park that has a great lookout, a parking lot, a restaurant, as well as the trailheads of the TF-10, TF-11, and TF-12 trails.

By Bus

You can get to the Las Mercedes village from La Laguna by taking busses 270 and 271.

To get to or from Cruz del Carmen to La Laguna, there is a larger selection of busses: 076, 077, 273 and 275.

Check the current time tables on the public transport authority’s website titsa.com. In our experience, the timetables in Google Maps were also quite reliable.

Hiking with a Guide

For those who prefer a guided excursion, there are local companies offering guided hikes on the TF-1, TF-10, TF-11, and TF-12 and other trails in Anaga.

We had a very good experience with getting guides through the Get Your Guide website. I’ve reviewed one of these experiences – canyoning in the Barranco de Los Arcos ravine. Several guided Anaga hikes and other Tenerife experiences are shown below, but you can find many more on the platform.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, we may earn a commission at no cost to you.

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These organized tours provide certified and knowledgeable guides who can share the area’s history, flora, and fauna while ensuring the group stays on the right path. Additionally, they often offer transportation directly from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La Laguna, or even South of the island. This eliminates the need to drive on the narrow mountain roads yourself.

Guides can also be found through the Tenerife Hiking Community Facebook group. Hiking with a guide can be a great option for those looking for a more structured and informative experience on the trail. All local certified guides found through Get Your Guide or other channels will provide insurance for participants during the hike.

Packing List for Hiking in Anaga

Smart Travel Family packing “list” for hiking the Teide Volcano. If you will hike in the winter period of December – March, add at least one additional warm layer, a hat and gloves

Food and Hydration

When preparing for a hike in the Anaga Rural Park, it is important to ensure you have enough water and food (in that order). Sufficient amount of water is particularly important during the hot season month of May-September as many of the best Anaga trails have large sections in open terrain without tree coverage.

Our suggestions for food items to bring along include:

  • Sandwiches. Some towns and villages have restaurants and small cafes. However, there are trails that are less well served. Better to come prepared.
  • Trail mix of nuts, dried fruits, and seeds to provide a quick energy boost.
  • Bananas and other fresh fruits. Apples and oranges are also good choices as they stand up to heat and don’t get easily bruised.
  • Energy bars and energy gels with sodium. Need for these will depend on your physiology and length of the hike, however, I would suggest to take along at least a few energy bars or sodium (and caffeine) gels in this trail to compensate sweat loss, avoid leg cramps and give an extra energy boost. If you haven’t hiked steeper hills in very hot climate before, be ready for significantly higher energy and fluid loss. You can stock up on these in the La Laguna Decathlon.

For hydration, it is vital to carry enough water or other liquids to last the duration of the hike. It is best to assume that there are no water sources en route (very few trails have a cafe on them, and even fewer have a pottable water fountain). A general guideline is to bring 0.5 to 1 liter of water per hour of hiking, depending on personal needs. I personally took 2-3 liters per hike and generally consumed it all by the end of a trail. It might be more during summer months, and less if you’ll hike in the November-March period or are a smaller person.

At the Smart Travel Family we’re fans of the Salomon brand when it comes to hiking and trail running. If you are just hiking, get something with a to protector as that will come in handy on rocky trails. For trail running and speed hiking we really like the Salomon SpeedCross 6, but generations 4 and 5 are also ok. However, these might be a bit too soft for ascents to Teide as you can see in the top image – this is the state of Kristaps’ SpeedCross 6’s after 2 Teide ascents in one week.

Equipment

While the necessary gear for hiking largely depends on individual preferences, we’d classify the following as necessary items on hikes in the Anaga Rural Park (in priority order):

  • Comfortable hiking shoes and hiking socks. Hiking boots are not necessary, but definitely get hiking shoes with a good protector and toe protection. Hiking boots might be particularly uncomfortable during the hot season from May to September. We’re quite fond of the Salomon, Merrel, and Hoka trail shoes.
  • Water flask or “camelback”. If you use a water flask, carry with you a sufficient amount of water for refills.
  • Hiking backpack. A lightweight one-day backpack with comfortable straps will allow you to carry all necessary items during the hike.
  • Sun protection. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to shield you from the sun during the hike.
  • Power bank to charge your phone, as most people take a lot of pictures and videos when hiking in Anaga. You also should have your phone charged in case you need to call for help, although phone coverage can be spotty on this trail.
  • First aid kit. A basic kit with band-aids, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications can help with minor injuries or illnesses.
  • Rain gear (necessary only in the December-February period).

Optional gear:

  • GPS watch or a GPS device. This will save your phone battery even if you’re not a ‘quantified self’ zealot.
  • Walking sticks, if you are used to them or your sense of balance is not that good.

Navigation on the Trail

Markings

Anaga Rural Park official trail navigation sign on the TF-6 trail
Anaga Rural Park official trail navigation sign. The ‘white and yellow flag’ can be painted on rocks, poles or even houses. If you are at a turn and don’t see the flag, you might already be off path.

All Anaga trails are well-marked with the typical white-and-yellow flag signs painted on rocks and other objects in places where there’s a chance you might choose the wrong direction. While most Anaga trails are easily navigated even without a map or a GPS device, we recommend to have a trail map on your phone and periodically check if you’re on the right path.

Some trails like TF-11, TF-8, TF-2 and TF-4 have spots where the navigation flags are not easily visible and you can take a wrong turn relatively easily. Our favorite GPS apps were Maps.me and Wikiloc, but others like AllTrails and Komoot are also widely used.

Be sure to download the necessary maps and routes before starting your hike. While there is phone reception on most routes, data connection is frequently a problem.

Facilities on the Trail (Cafes, WCs)

TF-1 ends in the Cruz del Carmen location. There you will find not only the Anaga Rural Park Tourist Information Centre, but also a restaurant named, very originally, Cruz del Carmen.

Safety

General Tips

Summer: During the summer months, we recommend bringing plenty of water, sunscreen, and wearing appropriate headgear and clothing to protect against the sun. The heat can be very intense, so it’s essential to shield yourself, stay hydrated and take breaks when needed.

Rainy Season: In the rainy season, the trails can become slippery and more prone to landslides. Wear shoes with good traction, bring a rain jacket or a rain poncho, and be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions. Remember that the temperature on average decreases by 1.8 degrees F / 1 degree C for every 100 vertical yards / vertical meters. If the temperature is still pleasant at ocean level in Santa Cruz, it can be quite cold when arriving in a location higher in the Anaga mountains.

Closed Sections of the Trail

The TF-1 has no closed sections.

Do You Need a Permit to Hike the TF-1?

No permit is required to hike the TF-1 trail.

Only Sendero el Pijaral (former TF-7 trail) requires a free permit in the Anaga Rural Park.

Do You Need a Guide to Hike the TF-1?

You absolutely do not require a guide to hike the TF-1.

Dangerous Animals and Plants

Tenerife has no dangerous fauna, and very few somewhat dangerous plants that can cause skin and eye irritation. These are not an issue on the TF-1 trail.

If you hear something rustling in the grass, it’s just a family of lizards, as there are no snakes on the island (thank god!).

Can You Hike the TF-1 with Children?

TF-1 is a child-friendly trail.

However, if you’ve travelled all the way to Tenerife, you might opt for more interesting trails like Sendero de los Sentidos (starts at Cruz del Carmen and partially intersects with TF-1), TF-4, or TF-5. Or visit child-friendly trails in the Teide National Park: the Chinyero loop, Sendero de Samara, loop around Montana Negra, or the super-scenic Sender Roques de Garcia.

Mouflon Hunting

Warning sign about mouflon hunting in the Teide National park. Usually the signs are just laminated sheets of paper
Warning sign about mouflon hunting in the Teide National park. Usually the signs are just laminated sheets of paper

Mouflon hunting may rarely take place in the Anaga Rural Park. If it’s planned or ongoing, there will be signs at the trailhead and at regular intervals. Choose another trail if mouflon hunting is ongoing.

TF-1 is not affected by mouflon hunting.

Forest Fire Warnings

Forest fires can be a risk in the Anaga Rural Park, especially during the hot season. There are years when the trails are closed for days or weeks due to forest fires or their risk.

Locals will be aware of the current situation so ask them. Also – there will be signs at the trail head if you have missed the warnings in news.

Weather in Anaga Rural Park in Each Season

Diversity of weather in the Anaga Rural Park

In Anaga Rural Park, the weather varies throughout the year, offering different experiences for hikers in each season.

Spring is a beautiful time to visit the park, as the temperatures are mild, ranging from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). The chance of rain is moderate, but the lush green landscapes create nice views along the trail. As the laurel forests come to life, you’ll experience best what Anaga is famous for.

Summer in Anaga Rural Park tends to be very hot and dry, with temperatures going over 30 °C (86°F). The heat can make hiking challenging, so it’s vital to stay hydrated and protected from the sun as most of the trail goes in open terrain.

The calima, a hot and sandy wind from the Sahara desert, may occasionally affect the park, reducing visibility and increasing temperatures. Calima negatively affects people with asthma and other respiratory issues. Public authorities regularly warn of calima.

The Autumn season brings cooler temperatures, ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), while rain is still uncommon until November and December. Mild showers are possible, but most often these are a welcome respite.

Winter from December to mid-March sees temperatures ranging from 10°C to 18°C (50°F to 64°F). There can be a very high chance of rain, so come prepared with proper clothing, waterproof gear, and footwear. Despite the cooler weather, winter can be an excellent opportunity for hiking the TF-6 trail, as you’ll find fewer crowds and a serene atmosphere.

Anaga Rural Park Rules

If you hike a prohibited park area or the El Pijaral (TF-7) trail without a permit, the fine will be up to 601.01 euros

Lighting a Fire

Lighting a fire is strictly prohibited, even gas stoves.

Wild Camping

Wild camping is officially not permitted.

I’ve asked park rangers about wild camping, and the unofficial policy appears to be that as long as you clean up after yourself and leave a location as you found it, you should not run into trouble. Camping should be done only in groups of 1-2 persons.

Collecting Flora and Rocks

Preserving Anaga Rural Park’s unique biodiversity is crucial. Therefore, it is striclty prohibited to collect flora (plants, flowers, fruits, etc.) or rocks from within the park.

Border guard and customs officials regularly check for plants on the border. For example, my wife’s plants purchased and collected on the island outside protected areas were anyway confiscated by customs officials when she arrived on Spanish mainland with a ferry.

Taking Trails Without a Permit

There areas in Anaga which are strictly of limits such as the Monte Aguirre area close to Cruz del Carmen.

The only trail requiring a free permit is the Sender El Pijaral trail. If you are caught on this trail without a permit, or in any of the prohibited nature reserve areas, the fine can go up to 601.01 euros.

Where to Stay in Anaga (Recommended Hotels and Homestays)

Red dots mark locations of hotels and guest houses in the Anaga Rural Park
Red dots mark locations of hotels and guest houses in the Anaga Rural Park

There are not very many options of staying overnight in the Anaga Rural Park itself and these are concentrated in the largest villages like Taganana, Almaciga and Benijo. I’ll add recommended options for hikers at a later date. In the meantime, search Booking.com for Anaga, read the reviews and check the accommodation’s proximity to hiking trails.

Useful Resources for Hiking in Anaga Rural Park

Tenerife Hiking Community on Facebook

We recommend joining the Tenerife Hiking Community on Facebook to connect with fellow hikers and gather useful information before embarking on your hike in Parque Rural de Anaga. This online community shares helpful tips, experiences, and suggestions from those who’ve previously explored the various trails in Tenerife and other Canary Islands.

Cruz del Carmen Tourist Information Centre

We found it very useful to visit the offical Anaga Rural Park Information Centre (Centro de Visitantes del Parque Rural de Anaga) at Cruz del Carmen close to the park border when driving from La Laguna.

The centre has English-speaking and very competent staff. You can also obtain a printed leaflet for each of the Anaga trails there (if they haven’t run out of these), as well as an excellent material about all trails on one sheet.

Visiting the centre is an excellent way to make a last check whether the information you have gathered online corresponds to reality on the ground in Tenerife.

Address: Barrio Cruz Carmen, 2, La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain (Google Maps location)

Working hours: every day from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM.

Cruz del Carmen is the starting location of the child-friendly Path of the Senses (Sendero de los Sentidos), end-point of the TF-1 trail that comes up from the Las Mercedes village, as well as the more serious TF-10, TF-11, and TF-12 trails.

Hiking Gear Shops

Red dots mark locations of hotels and guest houses in the Anaga Rural Park
Tenerife Outdoor store located just outside La Laguna on your way to the Anaga Rural Park | A collage of what’s on offer

If you are missing some hiking or running equipment or are looking for a possible impulse buy, we recommend you stop by at the Tenerife Outdoor La Laguna store. This is the best hiking and camping gear shop in the North of the island, period. Below are two other recommendations you can also check out before you head out to the Anaga Rural Park.

  • Tenerife Outdoor La Laguna, Av. de la República Argentina, 79, Local Bajo, 38208 La Laguna, Google Maps link. A wide selection of top brands of outdoor goods. You can also rent hiking and camping gear like walking sticks for 8 euros a day here.
  • base: Deportes Salud, TF-13, 153, 38280 Tegueste, Google Maps link. The small store is more focused on regular sports, but has a decent selection of hiking shoes and walking sticks. Stop by for some good deals during sales periods. We managed to get great Salomon hiking shoes at a 50% discount.
  • Decathlon La Laguna, Cam. la Hornera, 160, 38205 La Laguna, Google Maps link

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any specific precautions to take while hiking the TF-1 trail?

No. Just wear appropriate footwear with good grip and shield yourself from the sun (and rain in winter months).

What is the best time of year to hike the TF-1 trail?

You can hike the TF-1 all-year round.

Is a guide required for hiking the TF-1 trail?

A guide is not required to hike the TF-1 trail.

Can inexperienced hikers complete the TF-1 trail safely?

Yes. This is one of the easiest trails in Anaga Rural Park.

Do you need a car to get to the TF-1 trail?

TF-1 can be accessed by public transport at both ends.

Can you hike the TF-1 trail with a dog?

Yes. All Anaga Rural Park trails are dog-friendly. There are no snakes or other dangerous animals on Tenerife, so your dog can roam around quite freely. The only things you would have to watch out are the occasional dog of another hiker, and trails with steep slopes where your dog might slide or even fall off.

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