Right next to El Médano lies the big red shaped cone volcano known as Montaña Roja. On the south side of Tenerife where the weather is warm, the beaches are packed, and the waves are perfect for surfing is where you can find this little red mountain.

Hiking up Montaña Roja near El Médano, Tenerife.

This mountain is located in the Reserva Natural Especial de Montaña Roja and there’s a good chance you’ve already seen it flying into the Tenerife South Airport. It’s not as visible as Mt Teide that can be seen from anywhere but it’s definitely one of the most famous mountains to hike on the south side of the island. 

The terrain here is completely different from what you would find on a hike on the west coast of the island or a coastal walk in Puerto de la Cruz. We find this to be one of the fascinating things about hiking in Tenerife: Wherever you go the landscape changes so drastically.

Throughout this post, you can find all the information about how to get to Montaña Roja, the best time to go, along with all the information about the trail and the great views you’ll see along the way.

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Everything You Need to Know about hiking up Montaña Roja

Hiking up the red mountain is one of our favourite things to do in El Médano. It’s a hike we highly recommend if you want to see the natural beauty of the island and want one of the best spots to catch a good sunset in Tenerife. 

If you’re staying on the south side of the island or even staying right in El Médano then this hike is super easy to get to. There’s no need to drive down crazy windy roads like the Tamaimo-Guama Loop trail or the Mirador de Las Breñas hike. This one you can simply walk to from your apartment if you’re staying in town. Otherwise, you can drive on the highway pretty much all the way to the parking lot where the hike also starts.

Montaña Roja in Tenerife.

Luckily we were staying right in town so we walked through the touristy streets, picked up a delicious ice cream and set off to hike Montaña Roja.

We’re not sure if everyone notices it but when you’re in town on the beach and looking at the mountain it almost looks like a turtle. Where the small little hill is the head and the big red mountain is it’s shell. Let us know if you end up seeing it too! We thought it was kind of cute.

Montaña Roja is not a long or hard hike by any means but for being on the south side of the island (which is known more for its surf) it’s still fun to be able to get to the top and be 171 meters above sea level. It’s just another one of the great hikes we found in Tenerife.

Beach near El Médano, Tenerife.

Practical information about Montaña Roja – Tenerife

Distance: 4 km return / 2.5 miles return
Elevation: 131 m / 430 ft. elevation gain
Type: In and out (There are a few trails to the summit though)
Length: 1.5 -2 hours (taking your time and taking pictures)
Difficulty: Moderate (loose gravel path near the top)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Click here to see a map of the beginning of the Montaña Roja Loop Trail.

Jo hiking the red mountain in Tenerife
The trail up to the summit of Montaña Roja, Tenerife.

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Setting off from the busy town of El Médano 

If you’re staying in El Médano then you can start your walk right from your apartment. We definitely recommend exploring El Médano because it has a really cool surf and outdoor vibe to it. So even if you’re not in town it’s worth driving down and exploring a little bit before heading to hike up the 171 meter tall mountain! 

We started our hike walking along the coast on the beautiful sand beaches while enjoying a nice ice cream. Please tell me if you think Montaña Roja looks like a turtle. Jo thought I was crazy but it really looks like a big reddish brown turtle. 

Either way, you can continue along the coast enjoying the waves and taking in the boiling sun that the south side of the island always gets. If you continue down the coast on the beach you will come to a sign where you’ll find a proper path that will start the ascend up towards Montaña Roja!

Dom taking in the views just outside El Médano.

From the beach towards Moñtana Roja

Now the real fun begins! It’s time to explore the Reserva Natural Especial de Montaña Roja. Once you’re in the park you will notice all the different paths that lead up towards the summit. There isn’t really one right way to hike up towards the summit but multiple so you can really just pick the path that looks best to you.

Since there are multiple starting points and tons of paths that cross we ended up just taking the main trail that starts from the beach. It’s the nicest and most well maintained trail and probably the shortest too! 

It’s really not that long of a hike. You can already see the summit even before you start. So all you have to do is continue ascending and following the main path up, up and up! 

Dom exploring the beautiful beach in El Médano.

Up the ridge towards the summit of Montaña Roja

This is the last little push up to the top of the mountain. This section of the hike is the reason we rate this one as moderate. The rest of the hike is very relaxed and easy but this last section has a lot of loose gravel and rocks. We recommend wearing hiking shoes for it especially if you don’t want to roll your ankles. (Even though we did wear runners, haha.)

So as you go on the loose gravel and walk along the ridge of the mountain the views will open up. You will look back and have the beaches and El Médano to your left and on the right you will have another beach and the south airport seen from above. 

This part is amazing because you get amazing views on both sides of the ridge. Hiking up Montaña Roja from the El Médano side you actually have no idea about the beach on the other side so it was a nice surprise seeing this stunning beach while walking on the ridge.

Views of the beach and El Médano while hiking in Tenerife.

The summit of Montaña Roja 

The panoramic view at the top is well worth the climb up. There is a beautiful lookout point at the top where you get a full 360 view of the beaches, cliffs, El Médano, and the airport. There’s a good chance you’ll see a few flights landing and departing. And on a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mt Teide in the distance rising above the rest of the hills and mountains. 

One of the coolest parts of this is that the platform up at the top of the summit is quite large. There are quite a few cool spots to take pictures or just sit and enjoy the views of the southern coast of Tenerife.

It’s a great spot to catch the sun setting over the island. Especially since it’s not too far to get down you don’t have to worry about hiking in the dark. So for sunset hikes in Tenerife we’d say Montaña Roja is one of the top ones. 

Once you’ve enjoyed all the views and taken tons of photos you’ll be looking right at El Médano on your way down. Having an aerial view of the park you’ll see what I meant by there being plenty of different trails that lead you back to the beach or parking lot. So pick your own way down and enjoy the peaceful sound of the waves crashing below.

The summit of Montaña Roja hike on the south of Tenerife.

Where to stay if hiking Montaña Roja

Thankfully Tenerife is quite a small island and it actually isn’t too far of a drive from anywhere to get to the hike. You can even stay right in El Médano like we did and walk to the trailhead. 

It’s not a far drive from Santa Cruz or Los Cristianos either. So depending on which side of the island you prefer to stay on we would recommend both of these cities. And of course, if you’re looking for an outdoor paradise with surfing, all sorts of outdoor sports, and good weather then El Médano is your spot!

Jo hiking up the ridge of Red Mountain.
Views of El Médano beach in Tenerife.

Staying in El Médano

We absolutely love El Médano and if you love kitesurfing, paddle boarding, and good weather then this is the spot for you as well.

We recommend using Airbnb or Booking to find a place. Most places are close to town and the beach so you can’t really go wrong with a place.

Here are a few good options:

  1. Clean and conveniently located hostel
  2. Hotel with breakfast
  3. Small and cozy apartment with great views

Staying in Los Cristianos 

If you’re looking for a place to relax, hang by the beach, and party then we recommend Los Cristianos. It’s also not too far from nationals parks and a short drive to the hike. 

By car from Los Cristianos it’s only a 20 minute drive to the trailhead. So it’s super close and has a bunch of cool places to explore as well. 

We recommend using Airbnb or Booking for Los Cristianos as well as there are a bunch of great places to stay in town. 

Here are a few good options:

  1. Simple apartment downtown
  2. Apartment with a pool
  3. The Heights apartment

Staying in Santa Cruz

If you’re looking to stay somewhere more local but still very busy then we’d recommend the capital city of Tenerife which is Santa Cruz. You’ll find less tourists here and a lot more locals. 

So lots of delicious tapas and Spanish culture can be found in Santa Cruz. 

It’s located on the east side of the island. It’s also located between both international airports which is very convenient. 

Again, Airbnb or Booking are your best options for finding a great place to stay in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Here are a few good options:

  1. Dream Smart apartment
  2. Dream central apartment
  3. Tenerife Urban Rooms apartment
The trail up to the summit of Montaña Roja hike in Tenerife.

How to get to Montaña Roja

From anywhere in El Médano 

Since the hike is basically on the outskirts of town just along the beach we recommend just walking to the reserve where the trailhead starts!

The directions can be found on Google Maps here.

From anywhere in Los Cristianos 

It’s a quick drive if you’re coming from Los Cristianos. There’s a main highway that takes you past the airport and then to El Médano where you will find the parking area for the reserve park. It’s a short 20 minute drive to the parking lot from Los Cristianos.

The directions can be found on Google Maps here.

From anywhere in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

If you’re coming from the capital then you’re basically on the other side of the island. Thankfully, Tenerife is so small and you can get almost anywhere in an hour. The drive will bring you down the south coast towards Los Cristianos and then to Tamaimo. It’s roughly a 40 minute drive from the capital city.

The directions can be found here.

The town of El Médano, Tenerife.

From anywhere in Tenerife by bus

In case you don’t want to drive or rent a car then don’t worry. Busses can take you almost anywhere on the island. All the hikes we’ve done and mentioned are all doable by bus. We actually quite enjoyed riding the bus. We liked the freedom of having a car so we actually did both during our trip. 

El Médano where the hike starts is a popular spot for busses to visit. So you should never have to wait long to take a bus to this town.

  1. Santa Cruz de la Tenerife to El Médano
  2. Los Cristianos to El Médano

The bus rides take longer but it’s comfortable, convenient, and worth it if you don’t have a car. We 100% recommend getting the Tenerife Bus Pass. You can ride the bus for 10 Euro a day, or 50 Euro for the week. If you’re doing a day trip from one of the cities, definitely get the day pass because it will save you a whole lot of money!

Alternatively, you can buy single tickets as well. You will have to get the Ten+ card or download the app. No cash or credit cards are accepted on the buses in Tenerife.

Dom enjoying the warm Spanish weather.

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Before you go hike Montańa Roja de Tenerife

We first recommend checking the weather to make sure it’s not too windy or rainy. Also if it’s too warm we recommend going either for sunrise or sunset because you’re so exposed during the whole hike. We did the hike in 25 degree weather and forgot our sunscreen and that was a big mistake. 

You can see the weather for El Médano weather here.

You can check the timetables for the bus in each direction here to plan your day. If you have the whole day you can easily make a day trip out of it because there is so much to do in town on top of the hike. We recommend spending a few hours in town plus the hike. You can grab some food, take a bathroom break, and enjoy the beaches. 

There’s tons of free parking in town and there are even a few parking spots at the beginning of the nature reserve area where you can leave your car while you do the hike.

Dom hiking up a mountain in Spain.
Tenerife South Airport in the distance.

What to bring on the hike

So since it was a nice short little hike we thought we wouldn’t need to bring hiking shoes. Big Mistake! Honestly, wherever you go hiking in Tenerife hiking shoes are definitely worth bringing. This hike had a lot of loose rocks and pebbles near the top so it would have been really nice to have some proper shoes for grip and stability. 

Also don’t forget the heat and plan accordingly!

So bring:

  • Water! If you forget it then go to the gas station and you can buy some there.
  • Sunscreen is a must when you go anywhere hiking anywhere in Tenerife! Even if you go early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • A camelbak (backpack full of water) is never a bad option.
  • Bring some food so you can enjoy it at the picnic spot “somewhere along the ridge overlooking the coastline and Mount Teide”.
  • Relax, and enjoy the views with a nice PB&J, trail mix, or whatever you like to snack on while hiking!

Also this is a great list of hiking gear that you may need on a hike!

Jo at the summit of a mountain during a hike in Tenerife.

We hope you enjoy this hike that has one of the best sunset spots in Tenerife. There are so many amazing places to visit and hike around the island. Click here to check out some of the best places on the island and get inspired to get out and explore all these little pockets of awe around Tenerife.

We hope you enjoy hiking up the Red Mountain as much as we did! It’s fun getting away from the touristy crowds in the city to less busy trails out in the wilderness. Enjoy and stay safe out there!

Have fun!

Dom & Jo
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Hiking in El Médano, Tenerife pin for Pinterest.
Hiking in Tenerife Pin for Pinterest of Montana Roja.

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