The Old Road - El Paso to Brena Baja (La Palma)
It takes you from near the Visitors Center
above El Paso, over the backbone of the island
and down to San Isidro (Brena Baja), travelling
through a wide variety of environments in a short time. There
are many places to stop, park your car, look and listen.
The road begins in an area dominated by Sweet Chestnut trees and tree-heather. The Tree-heather is similar to what grows in Northern Europe gardens and moors, but grows to between 2 and 4 meters tall. There are also many Laurel trees.
As you go higher the scenery changes and the Canary
Pine becomes dominant. You pass a black lava flow (on the right)
which is part of the 1949 eruption. The lava flow extends down
to the coast. You drive next to a volcanic cone Mt. Quemada (1376m)
and then enter an area of black volcanic granules (grit sized)
which extend out like a desert, but with the occasional small
pine tree struggling for existence.
The road continues uphill to the Refugio El Pilar. The Refugio is a picnic, barbecue, play and camping area and is very popular with the Palmeros, especially in the weekends in the summer months.
At around 1500m above sea level it can be
a bit 'fresh' in the shade in the winter months. Families come
here to relax and enjoy a barbecue and each other's company.
Just past the refugio the road turns sharp right, but on the left is a walking track which runs along the top of the Cumbre (ridge). On the descent to San Isidro you pass another picnic area and and there are several places to stop and look out over the eastern coast of La Palma and across to Tenerife and La Gomera.
Oh Yes, and don't forget to listen. Listen to the birds, listen to wind in the trees and listen to the silence.