Pico Ruivo CCW from Pico do Arieiro
Pico do Arieiro  Pico Ruivo


Estimated net time 5-6 hours
Difficulty No technical difficulties and the exposed sections are protected by wire fences. Note that you will walk through several tunnels so it will make sense to bring a torch of some kind.
Drinking water No stable access to running water.
GSM coverage Coverage throughout the route except in and around most of the tunnels (November 2014).
Parking Room for many cars at trail head car park.
Start height 1798 metres
Vertical metres 1185 metres for the roundtrip.
Trip distance 12.8 km
GPS-file X


Route photo

  Pico Ruivo trail head by Pico do Arieiro.
  Route towards Pico Ruivo from mountain hut.


From Madeira's capital Funchal drive approximately 12 km north on road 103 from where it crosses under road VR1. Turn right at Poiso, and follow signs for "Pico de Areeiro". Drive 6.5 km and turn left towards parking, and park at the upper end of the car park, just below the tourist centre.

Start your walk by passing the tourist centre on its left hand side and follow the cobbled path up to Pico do Areiro's summit cairn. Descend a few metres and follow the path on the west side of the summit. Follow this path close to 700 metres and turn sharp left 20 metres before a view point. Continue 1.2 km and fork right in the signed path junction (you will be coming back on the path going left). Follow this path 2.8 km, to where a tunnel goes left. Note that the older path continues straight ahead, which gives a considerably shorter route, but the path here has been destroyed by rock fall. Turn left and through the tunnel and walk 50 metres to a path junction. Turn sharp right, signed for "Pico Ruivo", and follow this path 1.8 km to the path junction just below the Pico Ruivo cabin. Fork left and continue another 250 metres, and turn left again and walk the final 280 metres up to Pico Ruivo's summit cairns.

Descend from Pico Ruivo by reversing your ascent route back to the signed path junction 50 metres from the tunnel. Turn right and follow the path back to the Pico do Arieiro car park, through a total of five tunnels.



19. November 2014

Short walk around Pico do Arieiro.

Photos 19.11.2014


17. November 2014

This is a classic Madeira hike, amongst spectacular mountains and along fascinating man-made paths. Unfortunately we had mist throughout our hike this Monday, for which the odds are quite high, so didn't see much.

At one stage in the hike we thought we wouldn't make it to Pico Ruivo; when we got to the second tunnel on our eastern route to Pico Ruivo the signs outside the tunnel both pointed to the two different routes back to Pico Arieiro, and the route onwards to Pico Ruivo was closed with a sign saying something like "No entry". We were not in the mood for heading back to Arieiro so proceeded past the "no entry" sign, but got terribly disappointed when we got to a point where there the path had been subject to an avalanche, and with steep walls both above and below there was no way we would get past without a rope. Hence we had no option but to turn back to the tunnel, where we agreed that they should have put a sign up already at Arieiro, warning people about the closed path. We discussed what to do next and agreed we should rather continue through the tunnel and head back via the western route, as originally planned. This was definitely a wise decision since we found a sign for Ruivo soon after we had exited the tunnel. We later realised that this was now the official route, and that the books we had were written before the avalanche that had destroyed the old path. When we got further along this newer route we were able to look back at the destroyed section and concluded that the new route made the hike approximately 500 metres longer.

After the incident with the "de-tour" we continued up to Pico Ruivo, from where we had only a few tens of metres of visibility. Up here we met some other hikers, who had come via the much shorter route from Teixeira. And then after the short summit stop we headed back down and followed the less spectacular western route back to Arieiro. This route had in total five tunnels, up to 130-140 metres long. Then back to our Canico apartment and a well deserved dinner.

Photos 17.11.2014