|Casado from Encumeada
|Estimated net time||4-5 hours|
|Difficulty||Slightly cumbersome from where you leave the path, and a touch of exposure a little below the summit.|
|Drinking water||No stable access to running water.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route (November 2014).|
|Parking||Room for many cars at car park opposite souvenir shop at Encumeada pass, and room for more cars along the road.|
|Start height||1018 metres|
|Vertical metres||865 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||9.7 km|
From Madeira's capital Funchal drive road VR1 west to junction 1 and follow signs for "Sao Vicente". Drive 4.8 km and turn left towards "Encumeada". Drive 5.7 km and turn left towards Serra da Paul in the pass at Encumeada. Turn left and drive 100 metres up to the souvenir shop, and park on the car park on the right hand side of the road.
Start your hike by heading back down to the pass and then another few metres down left. Find the start of the path to Pico Ruivo on the right hand side of the road and follow this path 160 metres uphill. Make sure you continue straight ahead (not right), up the steps into the forest. From here continue 4.2 km to Casado's south side. There's no path leading up to Casado, but a good place to start the ascent is marked by a small cairn on the left hand side of the path. This is a place where there are some small sections of bare (red) rock, and is located just as the path starts to descend.
The first section of the Casado ascent goes through dense bush, but this section isn't long, and the bush is of a relatively gentle sort. When you get up above the bush you're likely to find a number of small cairns marking the rest of the route to the summit, where you will find a small concrete feature.
Descend by reversing your ascent route.
21. November 2014
It was bright and sunny when we woke up in our Canico apartment this Friday morning, and hence we decided to take on the ridge walk east from Encumeada. But by the time we got up to Encumeada it was raining and the mist was as dense as most of other days in the Madeira mountains. We reconsidered our options for a few seconds, and quite quickly concluded that we might as well take on the planned hike.
The rain stopped after a few minutes, and as we made our way east we also saw some blue sky above us, but the mist never lifted and we never got any good views.
From the maps we had seen that there was supposed to be a path heading up to Casado, but after a few minutes of searching in vane we gave up and decided to take the small cairn next to the main path as a sign for where to head uphill. When we got up above the push and found a number of cairns we were confident we were on the right way, which was also confirmed by the GPS. After a little bit of scrambling, including crossing some slippery rock a few metres below the summit, we found a small concrete block and understood we had reached the summit. Because of the mist we didn't get any other visual proof that we were at the summit.
With zero views we only spent one or two minutes at the summit, and headed back down via our ascent route, back down to the main path. We concluded that the route we had found, marked with small cairns above the bush, was as close as we would get in finding a path up to this summit.
Back at the main path we headed back down to Encumeada, meeting one other hiker along the route. And back at Encumeada we bought a couple of cans of soft drinks before changing to dry clothes and the drive down to Funchal.