MONTE TRIGO HIKE IN SAO VICENTE, MADEIRA

The hike on Vereda do Monte Trigo takes you up through the dense forest of Sao Vicente to several incredible rocky viewpoints overlooking the valley. Expect some scrambling and bouldering on this trail with the assistance of chains and ropes throughout the track. We had incredible conditions with fast-moving clouds floating through the valley while we stood on the huge boulders at the top of the trail!

MONTE TRIGO HIKE HIKE DETAILS

Hike Distance: The total distance of my hike was 9.4 kilometers for the loop trail.

Hike Duration: The hike duration was six hours but only four hours of moving time.

Hike Difficulty: This hike is one I would list as moderately difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly the incline is 992 meters, which is a pretty steep journey over just 6 kilometers. Secondly, the terrain is a mixture of rocky stairs, muddy tracks, and slippery descents. You will have to use ropes and chains that are installed to ascend and descend up boulders and steep, rocky stairs.

Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 992 meters.

My Strava Map Upload: Monte Trigo Hike

HOW TO GET TO THE MONTE TRIGO HIKE

We parked the cars and began the hike on Caminho da Achada do Loural, which is a road deep in Sao Vicente just off the VE4. If you chuck that into Google Maps you should find the road to begin the route. However, this route is hard to follow if you don’t have local guides. I did this hike with Madeira Lés a Lés, which is a hiking group that does off-the-beaten-path adventures every Saturday. They offer specialized tours through their small business Madeira Wonder Hikes where they take people on alternative hiking adventures. They led the way on this alternative loop hike in Sao Vicente.

MY EXPERIENCE ON THE MONTE TRIGO HIKE IN SAO VICENTE

Sao Vicente is one of the most scenic valleys on Madeira Island so whenever you get relatively clear skies it is time to climb up the steep mountains and find a viewpoint to take it all in. On this day we headed up from Achada do Piquinho to join the Vereda do Monte Trigo path.

The trail begins through a lush forest and civilization was quickly forgotten is we were immediately swallowed by the wall of green. The highlight in the first part of this trail was the beautiful stream we crossed. Ferns drooped over the crystal clear water creating an idyllic scene.

The trail quickly became quite an adventure as we found ourselves clambering up steep cliffsides with the assistance of ropes and chains. While it was quite moderate for those used to climbing, it was definitely a level beyond regular hiking and you needed to be able to manage your own bodyweight several meters above the ground. The rocks and trees in Madeira are never a guarantee to hold you but they were reliable enough for us on this day.

The first major point of interest on the trail is a couple of large rocky outcrops. You might walk past them if you weren’t curious enough to check them out as there is no signage at all. However, once up on top of these rocky platforms, you will have an incredible vista of Sao Vicente valley all the way to the ocean. Clouds floated through the valley at a rapid pace making the photos quite dynamic as the scene was everchanging.

We continued the climb up towards the Pinaculo, which is part of the Bica da Cana hike. This pinnacle looks out over the entire valley and while it is a great view it’s not part of the trail to actually summit the pinnacle. The trail simply passes beneath it. At the pinnacle, we stopped for lunch beneath the huge rock formation. I didn’t climb it this time, but on my first visit to the pinnacle, I actually climbed the thing all the way to the top.

The trail led to the cliff wall of the pinnacle and then that was it. It didn’t go around the sides. It was up or nothing. I decided to go up a few meters and see if I could continue. I did that twice and then I just went for it, hoping I would continue to find good footholds and handgrips as I climbed my way up the wall. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who isn’t an experienced climber. The rocks were a little loose in parts and there was no defined route. I even found old ropes and carabiners tied to trees but the ropes looked like they had been cut years ago.

After about twenty minutes, I managed to see some sunlight from deep in the trees and realized I was close to the summit. Near the top, trees and bushes made it easier to climb up off the wall and I eventually stepped foot on top of the pinnacle. The views were beyond worth it. I had front row seats to the heart of Madeira Island.

After the Pinaculo, the trail then followed the Bica da Cana route for a few kilometers. We passed underneath waterfalls that cascade over the trail all the while with views looking back towards the pinnacle and over Sao Vicente valley. The photos are below are from an earlier visit to this same section of trail.

The final highlight on the trail was the ‘bridge’ section of the route. We reached the bridge before we would drop back down on our long descent back into the valley. At this part of the hike, you can look up to Bica da Cana viewpoint, see the wind turbines and also see all the way down to the ocean at the coast of Sao Vicente. It’s got to be one of the best views on the trail.

Our time to descend had begun and we navigated our way through some dense forest with the help of installed chains and some nice paths. Often we were in the wild but the route down was quite well maintained considering it isn’t a highly trafficked path. The chain sections were very moderate and you almost didn’t need the assistance but it’s great to have on a rainy day in particular.

As we had almost completed our loop, we entered an incredilbe section of the trail with some of the largest Eucalyptus trees I’ve seen on Madeira. I had to stop here for a while and take it all in as I framed up a shot on my wide-anlge lens, which only just fit in the massive trees.

That rounded out our trip as we made it back to the car just in time to beat the rain. Overall this was a pretty tricky hike but nothing too crazy if you can handle a little scrambling. I hope you enjoyed this guide to the Monte Trigo hike on Madeira Island.

MY AWESOME GUIDES FOR THIS HIKE

This isn’t your regular hiking route so although I’ve given you a lot of directions and advice, it’s best to link up with a local if you want to do this route. I wouldn’t do this one alone and nor should you. Find a local or book a guide for this one. I did this hike with the Madeira Lés a Lés, which is a hiking group that does off-the-beaten-path adventures every Saturday. They offer specialized tours through their small business Madeira Wonder Hikes, where they can tour you on a trail that suits you and your group. Anyway, I just joined the group as a friend but thought you might find that information of value if you want to do some serious adventure on Madeira but aren’t sure who to get in contact with. If you meet any of the Madeira Lés a Lés crew, you will see what I’m talking about.

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