PR 1.3 Encumeada Footpath
Start: Pico Ruivo Shelter
Distance: 11,2 km
Starting at Achada do Teixeira and following along PR 1.2- Pico Ruivo Footpath leading to the Pico Ruivo Shelter, you will find signs indicating the following routes: PR 1- Pico do Areeiro Footpath, leading to Madeira’s 2nd highest peak (1817m); and PR 1.1- Ilha Footpath, which descends to the parish of Ilha. The beginning of the trail to Encumeada begins a few metres above the Pico Ruivo Shelter.
Incorporating frequent ascents and descents, this trail winds along at elevations ranging between 1000 and 1800 metres as it snakes its way towards Encumeada. Exquisitely beautiful landscapes welcome travellers as they traverse two types of ecosystems, both of which are part of the European Network of Sites of Community Interest – “Natura 2000 Network” namely : the Central Mountainous Massif and the Laurisilva Forest.
As you proceed along the trail, you will pass from the volcanic precipices of the island, which are characteristic of the phytoclimatic levels above 1400m (high-altitude heath), to the more enveloping covered settings, made so by species of the Laurisilva forest, such as the Madeira laurels (Ocotea foetens); laurels, or bay trees (Laurus azorica); Lily-of-the-Valley trees (Clethra arborea); an endemic buckthorn, sanguinhos (Rhamnus glandulosa); the flowering pride of Madeira (Echium candivcans); the very rare Madeiran orchid (Dactylorhiza foliosa) and Mandon’s Chrysanthemum (Argyranthemum pinnatifidum).
Alongside the trail you will find various caves (furnas) dug out of the rocks, such as the Furna da Lapa da Cadela, which in former times served as a refuge for men who passed by as they went about cutting heath (Erica scoparia ssp maderensis and Erica arborea) to be used for stakes, firewood or making charcoal.
From the junction of Boca das Torrinhas you can see panoramic views of the majestic valleys of Curral das Freiras. As you near Encumeada the thrilling feeling of being in the middle of an island will increase, due to the unfolding vistas of the landscapes of the southern slope (Serra d’Água) as well as the valley of São Vicente in the north.Pico Ruivo