Madeira – Pico to Pico trek

The most popular hike/trek on Madeira is the Pico do Arieiro to the Pico Ruivo. Walker and I tackled it on our second day there because the weather window looked great. Most advice is to get there before sunrise so you can be on the trail as the sun is coming up. We woke at 5:15 and got on the road, about 35 minutes up the mountain from Funchal. We were feeling quite “prompt” only to be amazed to already see 100 cars in the parking lot at 6am, 1 hour before sunrise. Whoa…this is going to be a bit more crowded than we thought.

The sky was totally clear and the temp was cool but not cold. Part 1 is getting from the lower parking lot up to the main lot and trail head. People were trying to get to good sunrise watching spots, the twilight was breaking and you could see we were well above the clouds that shrouded the lower elevations of the island. After grabbing some views and pics from the peak lookout next to the large golf ball antennae, we had enough light to start on the trail.

From the get go, this is an epic trek. We were amazed at the infrastructure – it must have been quite a task to build this trail. I think there were 4 tunnels, at least 2 needing light, and lots and lots of steps carved into the mountain. It’s basically 6.5Km or so to get to the other peak, so if you don’t plan on just doing a one way (some operators have a drop off and then pick up down the other side), you are doing that 6.5km back and climbing all the steps you went down on the way there, back again to get your car. Oh, and the vertical feet…it’s somewhere between 3000 and 4000 depending on which description. Basically just a lot.

We loved this trek…such an amazing trail with continuous beautiful vistas. Super glad that I did it with my hiking poles, that helped a lot on the down legs and stairs. We were pooped for sure at the end…too tired to even get a photo at the end!

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