Pico Grande, Madeira Island, isn’t the highest peak on the island. nor the best conditioned for its ascent, nor is it a route frequented by mass tourism. However, this peak is positioned in a privileged central location, which allows to enjoy some amazing views of the central massif of the island.
Alpine Trails: From Emcumeada to Pico Grande, Madeira Island
With its 1654 meters above sea level it’s a somewhat demanding challenge that brings you closer to a true traditional alpine trail, where it’s important to carry a map or GPS, due to the variants that the roads present. Depending on the time of year it will also be necessary to vary the clothing a little. It’s essential to take a lot of water, these trails are located practically in the tops of the mountains so they are quite dry and with little vegetation. The sun is usually scorching and unforgiving with high temperatures during the summer.
To get to the top there are three starting points each with different degrees of difficulty depending on the steep slopes that have to be raffled (Boca da Corrida, Encumeada and Curral das Freiras), these trails can be combined for a better experience and not have to return for what you already knew in the ascent
If you decide to take Encumeada as a starting point you have the option of choosing two paths. One that goes via Pico Ruivo through the crests and peaks of the north variant, and another halfway through the beautiful valley of Curral de Jangao. Better yet you can do a cyclical tour where you can practically see the most important formations and valleys of the island, such as Serra de Agua, Ribeira Brava, São Vicente, Paul da Serra, Areeiro Peak, Ruivo Peak, Funchal and the old crater, now extinct where rests Curral das Freiras. Your physical condition for this trip should be good, they are approximately 14 km away with significant unevenness along the way.
Curral das Freiras
In the same way starting from the 600 msnm of Curral das Freiras, which supposes practically a 1 km of vertical challenge. To start the journey you arrive by road to Fajã Escura.
Boca da Corrida
For those who do not have enough time or physical conditions, it is best to opt for leaving from Boca da Corrida, a crossing with few slopes until you reach the base of the peak where you climb about 400 meters to the mole. The final part has auxiliary steel cables, which does not stop being exposed so it is convenient to have attention in this small step.
As I mentioned before, do not skimp on water especially in summer, bring sunscreen, a waterproof jacket and some winter coat. For being an alpine footpath not very well traveled like others of the island it is advisable to wear long pants to protect the legs from the thorny vegetation of some stretches. Although it does not have tunnels, the distances are considerable so it is important to carry a flashlight. Use the OpenStreetMap application in the telemobile, where these roads are well detailed, at the same time you can know your exact position at all times, even when you are offline. Courage, explore the impressive landscapes of the central massif, Pico Grande: Madeira Island.