The seven main islands (west to east) include El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. There are hiking trails on all islands, and there are also tourist offices on each island. It is recommended that hikers visit these offices before embarking on any hikes.
A Good Place to Start
Many visitors fly into the most populated island of Gran Canaria. From here, there are scheduled flight connections to all the islands in the archipelago. The regional government of Gran Canaria has recovered many of the Royal Paths, which in ancient times were one of the only ways to navigate the center of the island. These paths run through many nature preserves and monuments and are now open to the public as walking and hiking paths. Popular hikes include the Three Lakes Circle and the Fontanales Circle, though these are just a few among more than 20 great hikes on Gran Canaria.
These islands have a grand variety of climate zones and so are home to many different types of flora. Plant zones include coastal, semidesert, low shrubs, laurel forests, pine woods and rock grass slopes above 6,000 feet.
Pack a light rain jacket, but you won't need it too often. The islands receive virtually no rainfall from July to September and even in December receive only about 2 inches of rain. The rain is most likely to occur on the northern shores of Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Hiking is best in winter months when temperatures rest on the cooler side.
One of the most visited hiking sites is on Tenerife, where the Pico del Teide volcano (Mount Teide) resides. This volcano is in the center of the island and is 12,195 feet high. It is the highest peak in the Canaries.
Camping sites are few and far between. Most of the islands have only one or two and just setting up a tent anywhere is generally forbidden in many areas, especially the beach. If you are planning an excursion longer than a day, check with the office of tourism on that particular island for directions on how to structure your trip safely.