The pico do Arieiro

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Since Funchal, to take the direction of Monte, then, starting from the collar of Poiso (1400 m), to take on the left the road (R 202) of Pico do Arieiro.

Traversing the mountainous peaks of the central zone of the Madeira, this road offers prospects on the southern part and Funchal like on the northern coast. In the sorry moors feed of the herds of sheep. To Chão do Arieiro, the road below passes the weather observatory, perched on a cliff to 1,700 m of altitude, then ends near the pousada do Pico do Arieiro.

VisitsVisits

Miradouro do Pico do Arieiro
The view-point of the peak of Arieiro is arranged on the summit even peak, to 1,818 m of altitude, the terminus of the road.

View-point, the circular sight offers a splendid panorama the whole of the crown of the peaks and plates of the center of the island which cut out the deep notches of will ribeiras:

  • in the west, one notices the site of the crater of Curral das Freiras then, on his line, the tangle of the jagged tops: the peak of Pico das Torrinhas and Pico das Torres which precedes head by Pico Ruivo (1 861 m);
  • in the direction of the east in clear weather russet-red Ponta of São Lourenço takes shape, behind the slopes precipice at the wooded tops of Ribeira de São Roque;
  • in the North-East, one distinguishes Ribeira da Metade;
  • in north, the hillock of Penha da Àguia (“Rock of the Eagle”) (590 m) order all landscape of the coast.
Excursion of Pico do Arieiro in Pico Ruivo
. Click to enlarge the image.This rather difficult excursion connects, by a 8 km long path, the two culminating points of the Madeira, Pico Ruivo (1861 m) and Pico do Arieiro (1817 m), while crossing part of the zone of the central mountainous solid mass. It is necessary to count three hours to connect the two peaks, and as much for the return by the same path. The tunnels, the cliffs (not always with parapets), of the staircases sometimes, contribute to make this most spectacular excursion of all the walks in Madeira. The sights on the tops, throughout the course, are dazzling.

In summer, the ground is desiccated, while at other periods of the year, it is often covered with snow. The night, the temperature goes down below zero degree, almost all the year, but the annual average temperature does not exceed 10 °C. There are also here six times more rain than in Funchal.

The departure is carried out close to Pousada do Pico do Arieiro. At the end of 15 minutes of walk, one arrives in front of the view-point Ninho da Manta (nest of the tube). Paving stone and in soft descent in the first meters, the path is transformed quickly into lane mountain narrow and stiff.
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From the top of this platform, where the tube comes to nest, one can admire the valley of Fajã da Nogueira, where some puffins of the English (Puffinus puffinus) nest, São Roque do Faial and most of the central mountainous cordillera. This place is only in the world where the petrel of Madeira (Pterodroma will madeira), endemic species of the island nests and bird of sea more threatened of Europe.

The way traverses initially a rock edge which dominates on the left the valley of Curral das Freiras, on the right that of will ribeira da Metade.

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The path goes down in several stages against the rock faces from Pico Cidrão (1798 m) then forks right before a tunnel passing under the following mountain, Pico do Gato (1780 m). It is then necessary to take the way of right-hand side and the tunnel which avoids the difficult rise with the peak das Torres, not the way of left which is condemned. The way passes then in a zone to vegetation a little denser before going up by a rather stiff staircase towards Pico das Torres (1851 m). To reach Pico Ruivo, it is necessary to circumvent Pico das Torres by the means of an abrupt rise, by borrowing a staircase cut in the rock which makes it possible to climb the mountainous side until another croup, ideal to take again its breath.

After the collar located on the side of Pico das Torres, the path goes down again by a rock zone, describing several laces before crossing a forest of very knotty arborescent heather by places and to describe new laces to the top this time; the path joined the old condemned path (but with this junction one can make a fast return ticket by the tunnel of the path closed to go to admire the sight) then skirts cliffs in whom it was cut, and goes up finally in the middle of the arborescent heathers.

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One discovers then a vast mountainous circus where the higher affluents of Ribeira Seca meet. One notices, on the line, near the way, the vestiges of an astonishing volcanic chimney.
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The final rise to the refuge of Pico Ruivo constitutes the most difficult part of this route. One reaches the refuge of mountain (Put of Abrigo), then an easy path indicated goes up in a few minutes (to take on the left, then still on the left) at the top of Pico Ruivo where three platforms equipped with floors and rails out of wooden make it possible to admire the panoramas.
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Throughout the course, one meets several caves cut in the pumice tuffs, which were used as refuge with the cattle and to the pastors. We can also observe several birds, in particular the specific species of Macaronésie, such as the canary of the Canaries (Serinus canaria), the pipit of Berthelot of Madeira (Anthus berthelottii madeirensis) and the unicoloured trip hammer (Apus unicolor), as well as other specific species of the archipelago of Madeira, such as the sparrow troubles about Madeira (Petronia petronia madeirensis), the finch of the trees of Madeira (Fringilla coelebs madeirensis) and the kinglet with triple stringcourse (Regulus ignicapillus madeirensis).

For those which like to observe the plants, heath dominates in this zone which is also characterized by the presence of several endemisms of Madeira, in particular the violet of Madeira (paradoxa Violated), the ashy heather of Madeira (Erica madeirensis), the orchises of the rocks (Orchis scopolorum) and the lady’s fingers (Anthyllis lemanniana).

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The refuge (abrigo put) of Ruivo, to a few minutes of the summit, offers the most complete panorama of the island. Only the coast O. visible, is not dissimulated by the remote plate of Paúl da Serra. Close to the refuge of Pico Ruivo, one meets the route PR 1.2 which gives access to Achada do Teixeira (1592 m) in 45 minutes. At this place, while descending the slope and after having to exceed the refuge of Achada do Teixeira, one can observe a known basaltic rock formation under the name of “Homem EM Pé” (the man upright).
Route on Wikiloc

InformationPractical informations

HotelsHotels
Pousada do Pico do Arieiro
A pousada was built in this splendid site, right in the middle of mountainous solid masses of the center of the island. The ideal, it is of course there to spend the night to have time to carry out trotts it with foot on the summits.
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