Tenerife is a Spanish territory off the west coast of Africa featuring year-round riding. Las Luganates is a fun ride that hits some of the highlights on the northeast side of the island.
This area is particularly popular with mountain bikers and hikers as compared to the western or southern parts of the island, which also offer excellent riding. The outbound leg faces the north and consists of a dense pine forest offering limited views of the coastline far below. The return leg faces the south.
Vegetation is much sparser on this segment and it is noticeably drier. You'll trade protection from the sun for better views. The only downside to this loop is that it is predominately doubletrack, consistent with many of the other mountain biking routes on Tenerife.
The ride starts from an area called la Luganates. (As far as I know, that doesn't translate to anything in English). You'll likely see a lot of people (or at least their cars) in this area as it seems to be a big trailhead for the biking and hiking trails in the area and there is also a restaurant nearby. It offers a nice loop for those who can't shuttle the BC-1 Ruta Forestal del Norte
The outward segment starts with the BC-1.4 Las Lagunetas
trail. You can follow this trail until it's intersection with the Pista las Tortillas
trail or you can take the Pista Risco Negro (Black Crag Trail)
to the same point. The former offers a more gradual descent and the latter offers a half mile of 10% descent in the middle. In either case, you'll pass through a fairly dense pine forest. Occasional breaks in the forest will offer limited views of the Atlantic Ocean and the north Tenerife coast. Pista las Tortillas
has a similar character.
Unfortunately, there are no signs of any tortillas on the Pista las Tortillas
because you might need some sustenance to climb up the Pista Risco Atraversado (Crossed Crag Trail)
up to TF-24. This segment is a fairly steep (average 7% but with steeper sections), sustained (335 m; 1100 ft over three miles) and generally doesn't offer any views. You'll feel good when you're done, especially as you still have the most scenic part of the loop ahead of you.
Once you reach the TF-24 road, coast downhill for about a half mile and turn right onto TF-523. After another half mile on TF-523, turn left onto the Pista Boca del Valle (Mouth of the Valley Trail)
trail. From TF-523, this trail is generally downhill but there are a few easy climbs in the middle to break things up.
Pista Boca del Valle (Mouth of the Valley Trail)
is the highlight of the Las Luganates loop. You'll notice that the pine forest is noticeably thinner on this southern leg of the loop. This makes for better views of the southern coast far below including views of Gran Canaria island off in the distance. The landscape, particularly as you gaze down towards the coast becomes drier and more desert-like. If you ride in the early spring, you'll have a chance to see wildflowers along this trail.