“A beautiful cross-country ride on the side of a volcano with great views of the Atlantic and neighboring islands.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
Tenerife is a Spanish territory off the west coast of Africa featuring year-round riding. Arenas Negras (Black Sands Trail) is an easy, cross-country ride on forest roads on the north side of Tenerife high above the Atlantic Ocean and far below the summit of el Teide volcano.
Most of the ride is through pine forest offering protection from the sun. But there are enough breaks in the forest to feature great views of the el Teide summit, the Atlantic Ocean, and the island of la Palma. It wouldn't be unusual to find yourself above, or in, the clouds for part of this loop.
Need to Know
Tenerife is a year-round riding destination that also offers excellent beaches. There are a number of guiding services available which also offer bike rental. There is no VAT (sales tax) in Tenerife.
Bring plenty of water and don't count on water at the Arenas Negras or el Lagar recreational areas.
There are very few signs and trail markers. This loop intersects with a lot of other roads and trails, so a GPX track or the MTB Project mobile app
The most difficult part is the 500 m (1500 ft) climb at the beginning. Start by taking the Pista Arenas Negras (Black Sands Trail)
from the parking area off TF-373. The climb is pretty steady at about 10% grade. About halfway up, you'll reach the Arenas Negras recreational area which has facilities including probably water if you need a break from the climb.
Once you finish the climbing, your reward is four miles of easy cruising on the Pista Canal de Vergara
which is a very gentle climb along an aqueduct. Water is scarce on the island so there is a vast network of storage tanks and aqueducts. This section offers occasional breaks where you can see the island of la Palma off in the distance and the Atlantic Ocean about a mile below you.
When you leave the Pista Canal de Vergara
to turn onto the Pista Barranco de la Arena (Sand Ravine Trail)
, you'll enjoy a 300 m (1000 ft), five-mile descent down to the el Lagar recreation area. On this segment, you'll have views of the el Teide summit about one mile above you. You may be able to obtain water at the el Lagar recreation area, but don't count on it.
From el Lagar, you follow the heavily forested Pista Fuente Santa (Holy Springs Trail)
back to the trailhead on TF-373. This trail features a 200 m (650 ft) climb followed by a similar 200 m (650 ft) descent. Fortunately, the descent is steeper than the ascent. If you were looking down at the clouds from the Pista Canal de Vergara
, you may find yourself in a thick fog on the Pista Fuente Santa (Holy Springs Trail)
as I did.
You're not likely to find a lot of other people using these trails, so enjoy the solitude!