Pico do Jorge is a lesser-known peak in the center of Madeira Island. There are many different routes you can take to reach this mighty peak but I chose a loop route beginning in Curral das Freiras (Nun’s Valley). We looped up from Nun’s Valley, passed Boca das Torrinhas, summited Pico do Jorge and then went on to Pico Grande before circling back down a long descent into Nun’s Valley. You get everything on this 16.5-kilometer journey, which has 1,550 meters of incline throughout the route.
PICO DO JORGE HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of this loop route was 16.5 kilometers.
Hike Duration: The hike will take you about 5 hours of moving time but our total elapsed time was 9 hours as we made lots of stops for photos, lunch breaks, and enjoying the views.
Hike Difficulty: This hike is one I would list as difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly the incline is 1,556 meters, which is very steep for most hikers. Secondly, it’s quite long on top of the incline with 16.5 kilometers to cover. The terrain is a mixture of rocky scrambling to nice grass paths to slippery descents. You have to be prepared for it all. There are a few moments of exposure but there wasn’t anything very technical on this hike. Summiting Pico do Jorge isn’t necessary but involved a bit of technical scrambling and adventuring off the path.
Hike Incline: Total incline for the hike was 1,556 meters.
My Strava Map Upload: Pico do Jorge Hike
HOW TO GET TO THE PICO DO JORGE HIKE TRAILHEAD
The hike to Pico do Jorge can begin in multiple places such as Nun’s Valley or Encumeada. For this hike we begin at the PR2 Vereda do Urzal sign in Nun’s Valley, which I have pictured below. I’ll also add a pin location for this trailhead. I used Maps.me and followed the path up to Pico das Torrinhas from Nun’s Valley as this wasn’t an official trail with a hiking route map. From Pico das Torrinhas we passed by Pico do Jorge. We then summited Pico do Jorge going off the track before returning to the track and continuing to Pico do Grande and then finishing off by coming back down into Nun’s Valley.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE PICO DO JORGE HIKE
I had the idea to climb to Pico do Jorge but I didn’t find an official route or even any stories of others reaching the absolute summit or top of the peak. However, I did see that it seemed possible to hike from a few different routes to pass by Pico do Jorge. I decided on the loop route (details mentioned above) beginning in Nun’s Valley.
We set off in the early morning at the PR2 Vereda do Urzal sign in Nun’s Valley and at that point, I wasn’t convinced on the route. We passed by a few farms and agricultural areas and the trail soon became much clearer. We passed several signs pointing us towards Pico das Torrinhas, which was our first stop en route to Pico do Jorge.
The rock formations in Nun’s Valley are truly incredible. There are these magnificent spires but also a number of ‘windows’ or rock arches some might say. It’s definitely a very curious landscape and we enjoyed the views before being engulfed by the Eucalyptus forest, which gave us some respite from the sun.
The first few kilometers of this hiking trail are just straight up. It was basically a vertical kilometer within the first four kilometers of the hike as we wound up through the Eucalyptus forest and then towards the ridgeline. We then made our way to Pico das Torrinhas, which was engulfed by clouds by the time we arrived.
When we arrived at Pico das Torrinhas, there was a narrow rock formation that I decided would be a fun little viewpoint to climb. It turned out to be a great view and also where my watch ticked over the vertical kilometer of climbing. It was here that we became to make our plan of how to reach the summit of Pico do Jorge.
After passing Pico das Torrinhas we continued along the path. The map said we would pass Pico do Jorge and head all the way through to Pico Grande. However, when we made it to the point on the map that said Pico do Jorge, there was no trail directly to the summit. There was a lot of cloud cover so we couldn’t really see if there was a route at all. Nothing on the map showed a trail from the official path to the summit. We thought if we could get through the 50-meter section of thick bushes, scrambling up the rocks to the peak would be possible. Our guess was right.
After crawling through the dense bushes, we scrambled up the rocks. This part wasn’t exactly dangerous but it was far from a regular hiking path so it won’t be for everyone.
After our scramble to the summit, we made it to the small cement block that marks the top of Pico do Jorge. I don’t think many make it up to the summit but it was quite an incredible scene as we floated above the clouds. I sent the drone up for an aerial view and was even more astounded at the view of the ridge and peaks on this mountain range.
After eating lunch at the summit of Pico do Jorge, we rejoined the trail and headed onwards another four kilometers to Pico Grande. I had visited Pico Grande before from Encumeada but this time we approached from a different angle. The clouds had rolled in quite heavy now but we really enjoyed the mystical, mountain atmosphere it created on our journey from Pico do Jorge to Pico Grande.
Our incline for the day finished at Pico Grande. It was my second visit to this unique rock formation in the middle of Madeira. It was quite cloudy when we summited so I will show you one photo from that day but a few other photos from a clearer day when I visited. The great part about this peak is that it has panoramic views. You can see all the way to Bica da Cana in one direction and then across to Pico do Arieiro in the other. With no clouds blocking the view again, I had an incredible line of sight towards the sunrise with the Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo hiking route sticking out very clear in the distance with its sharp peaks.
The incline was done and now it was time for a huge descent back into Nun’s Valley. We headed downhill for four kilometers with over 1000 meters of decline throughout this section of the hike. The views as we came into the lower parts of Nun’s Valley were incredible as it was just at the last part of the day with incredible lighting and cloud formations hovering over the peaks. It was actually one of my favorite parts of the hike.
After 16.5-kilometers we made it back to the car to complete the loop. This was one hell of an adventure and turned out quite well with the route I chose thanks to Maps.me for being so accurate! You don’t need to go to the summit of Pico do Jorge and you will still have an incredible day if you stay on the Maps.me trail as it appears on the map. I hope you enjoyed this guide about hiking to Pico do Jorge and Pico Grande. Happy hiking and stay safe out there.