Looking for a break from the usual sun, sand, and sea? Hike to the mystical rock in the clouds, Roque Nublo. Found at the center of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, the second highest peak on the island is the perfect place to see the world differently in Spain.

Roque Nublo or Cloud Rock is named aptly due to its cloudy or misty view. On most days, it plays hide-and-seek through layers and layers of thick cottony, white clouds. On other days, it’s blanketed by a thin cool fog, making it hardly visible to hikers until it greets them upfront. But on ideal days, it stands tall against a backdrop of clear blue skies, a truly majestic sight to behold.

At a Glance

The same volcanic eruptions that created the island of Gran Canaria over 4 million years ago shaped Roque Nublo. Towering at about 80 meters high, and set elevated in the heart of the municipality of Tejeda, this famous rock formation seems to send out an invitation to people from all around.

Standing proudly at 1,813 meters above sea level, travelers are rewarded with a fantastic 360-degree view of the whole island. Sometimes even the Teide Volcano from the neighboring island of Tenerife makes a special appearance, congratulating hikers.

Rock Cloud with Teide Volcano on the Horizon
Rock Cloud with Teide Volcano on the Horizon – © marcosriverofoto

Together with the smaller Roque Rana on its southwest, the two pillars are like brothers looking down and guarding the caldera from the edge of the plateau. Both are part of the larger Parque Rural de Nublo, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

To modern inhabitants, the basaltic rock has become the main landmark in Gran Canaria. And to the original dwellers of the place, the aboriginal Guanches, this was a holy place. It’s a tiny bit of heaven where they used to offer sacrifices to the gods.

Just like Aladdin and Princess Jasmin, expect “unbelievable skies” and “indescribable feelings” upon visiting the famous volcanic rock. The good news is, no one needs a magic carpet to get there.

How to Get There

It is easy to get to Roque Nublo, thanks to its popularity as a central landmark and the clear road signs all around. The main goal is to reach Degollada de La Goleta, a viewpoint with a parking area that serves as the base for the most popular hiking trails to Roque Nublo.

If taking a bus from Las Palmas, the island’s capital, start at San Telmo and ride Line 303 headed to San Mateo. Then, transfer to Line 305 to Tejeda. Once there, Line 18 bus will get passengers to Ayacata, where La Goleta is located. If coming from Maspalomas, just get on a Line 18 bus and tell the driver that the destination is Roque Nublo.

For those who want to drive, the GC60 road is the easiest way is through Fataga and San Bartolome de Tirajana. The route to La Goleta parking lot is well posted with signs so no one will miss it. Be extra careful though, especially when it rains, as the roads may be steep and narrow at some point. But no matter the weather, the views along the way will always be postcard-worthy, so might as well enjoy the drive.

The Climb to the Top

From the La Goleta parking lot, start the short uphill walk of about 1.5 kilometers to reach the mystic rock. The length of time varies for different people, but it typically takes about an hour. The path runs through the edge of Tejeda’s cauldron or the Caldera de Tejeda. Moving uphill, the pine-scented forest sends a welcoming invitation to the nostrils.

On mornings when the sun is generous, warm rays peek through the tree branches in the mountains before it hits the rocky ground. Not too far off the path, tourists get breathtaking views of neighboring viewpoints like Roque Bentayga, dams like Las Ninas, and the mountain side with the towns of Acusa and Artenara.

Climbing Up to Roque Nublo
Climbing Up to Roque Nublo – ©nito500

But the scenery looks more magical when an icy fog leads and follows the trail. Once on the platform high up, and the haze is still there, take a good photo. The cratered surfaces and lava formations are partially hidden by a cool mist make up for a unique background. Social media friends would think it’s a snapshot of a Mars landing, sans a spacesuit.

Once at the top, the central location of Roque Nublo Gran Canaria allows travelers a front-row seat to the spectacular scenery of the island below. Get a glimpse of the arid south as well as the emerald north with patches of lovely villages scattered across the mountains. When the clouds decide to take a break, Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain located in Tenerife island shows itself.

But what’s most impressive is that the huge free-standing volcanic rock sits on the edge and is often hugged by passing clouds. Some tourists have tried climbing it, while others have tried going around it. For locals, going around it will bring good luck. Whatever guests decide to do, it is guaranteed to make their trip to the Canaries extra special.

Roque Nublo Traveler Tips

Wondering what else to there is to know for a perfect nature trip in the Cloudy Rock? Check out some travelers’ tips below:

  • Since the wind could be chilly at times, a windbreaker or a jacket would prove to be handy. The last 100 meters of the path are the most difficult, so a pair of hiking or rubber shoes would be convenient.
  • Try to get to the parking lot before 10 am to avoid the crowd. There’s limited parking space so securing a spot early is a good idea.
  • Bring lots of water for the hike as there would be no access to snack bars or refreshments on the trail.
  • Alternatively, travelers could follow the well-signed trail from the mountain villages. Stop by some quaint little restaurant. Enjoy a hearty meal, or indulge in a warm cup of coffee while taking in the stunning scenery.
  • Visit the place twice, once in the morning and once at night. Why? Because during the day visitors could bask in the beauty of the landscape. But at night, high up in the plateau, the wide expanse of the pitch-black sky adorned by a million twinkling stars promises an utterly unforgettable and surreal experience.
Mystical Roque Nublo
The Majestic and Mystical Roque Nublo – ©tonobalaguer

Experience the World Differently at Roque Nublo

Gran Canaria boasts of world-class beaches at its coasts. But this round island offers more than that. Inland, it is also packed with beautiful geologic formations and interesting landmarks, like Roque Nublo.

The gigantic monolith stands like a sentry at the center of the third largest island of the Canaries. Travelers experience a nature hike like no other and feel invincible at the top.

In this rock in the clouds, tourists could get a break from the usual beach scene as their eyes feast on the wonders of nature’s grandiose. Here, the landscape tells a story in the morning, and the stars sing a silent lullaby at night.

FAQ

How difficult is the hike to Roque Nublo?

Heading out to conquer the trail to Roque Nublo? Great choice! You’re in for an adventure that’s as rewarding as it is beautiful. Now, let’s talk about the nitty-gritty: just how tough is this hike?

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that the hike to Roque Nublo is generally considered moderate in difficulty. It’s the kind of hike that won’t have you scaling sheer cliffs or investing in high-tech gear, but it’s not a mere walk in the park either. The trail is well-trodden and clearly marked, making navigation a breeze.

The path itself offers a mix of terrains. You’ll find slightly rocky and uneven sections, so watching your step is key. The ascent provides a bit of a workout but nothing that would scare off a determined beginner or a casual hiker in decent shape. Think of it as a pleasant challenge rather than an exhausting ordeal.

The total round trip can be completed in about 2-3 hours, depending on your pace and how many stops you make to soak in the breathtaking views. And believe me, you’ll want to stop – the panoramas of Gran Canaria from up there are nothing short of spectacular.

Are there any guided tours available to Roque Nublo?

Absolutely! If you’re keen on diving deep into the history, geology, and natural wonders of Roque Nublo with some expert insight, joining a guided tour is the way to go. These tours offer a structured path to exploring one of Gran Canaria’s most iconic landmarks and enrich your hike with fascinating stories and facts you might not discover on your own.

Guided tours come in various formats to suit different preferences and fitness levels, ranging from leisurely walks with plenty of stops to more rigorous treks for adventure-seekers. Plus, having a guide by your side means you won’t miss out on any of the hidden gems along the way, and you’ll learn heaps about the local flora, fauna, and the area’s cultural significance.

Booking a tour is pretty straightforward, too. You can find options online before your trip or ask for recommendations at your accommodation. Prices and what’s included (like transport, food, and gear) vary, so definitely check out a few options to find the perfect fit for your Roque Nublo adventure. Going on a guided tour enriches your experience and supports local businesses, making it a win-win for everyone.

What is the best time of year to hike to Roque Nublo?

When picking the best time of year to hit the trails, you’re in luck because Gran Canaria offers a pretty sweet deal with its mild climate year-round. However, to get the absolute best experience, aiming for the spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) months is your golden ticket.

Why, you ask? Well, during these seasons, the weather is just perfect—not too hot, not too cold, but just right for enjoying the hike without breaking too much of a sweat or shivering in your boots. Plus, the island is less crowded, giving you more space and tranquility to connect with nature and snap those postcard-perfect shots without a bunch of photo bombers.

Spring brings the added bonus of the landscape coming alive with a burst of kaleidoscopic flowers and greenery, making the scenery even more breathtaking. Autumn, on the other hand, offers a slightly cooler and more comfortable climate, ideal for those longer treks where you want to savor the journey without the sun beating down on you.

That said, if summer or winter is the only time you can make it, don’t let that stop you. Just remember to prepare accordingly—hydrate and protect yourself from the sun during the hotter months and layer up to stay warm during the cooler ones.