Azores - São Miguel

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Circular hike to Lagoa do Fogo

One can start this hike to the Lagoa do Fogo at a parking lot above Água d’Alto or also below in the village. We started at the marked parking lot and were on the way for the 11.5 km about 4 hours. If you start in the village, you can also connect the trail with the Fábricas da Luz. Then the route is about 4 km longer and you will need about 1.5 hours longer.

For a long time this hike was on our wish list. At the first attempt we wanted to start in the village, however, it was too late so that we could not have parked sensibly. At the second attempt in the fall of 2020, we chose the parking lot above and were almost alone. Since the hike does take a little longer, you should pack some food. In addition, some rainproof clothing can not hurt in the fall. Of course, we did not have them with us, the weather was good and a few drops do not bring us out of the calm. … clearly we should have known better 🙂

The first section – always upwards

This is the motto for the first three kilometers. The first 300 meters of altitude are climbed on quite wide paths. As usual on the slopes, everything is densely overgrown and green.

Hiking trail PRC2SMI towards Lagoa do Fogo
Hiking trail PRC2SMI towards Lagoa do Fogo

A little higher the path runs through the forest and you finally reach the levada, which are otherwise actually rather typical for Madeira. Here the water flows through thick pipes and is directed down the slope towards Vila Franca do Campo.

Along the Levada to Lagoa do Fogo

Along this levada, the path now runs against the direction of flow along the slope of the mountains.

Levada at the higher part of the trail towards Lagoa do Fogo
Levada at the higher part of the trail towards Lagoa do Fogo

The path is now also significantly smaller, but no longer as steep. The path runs rather leisurely, crosses again and again smaller watercourses that fall into the valley and allows sometimes more, sometimes less, a view into the valley. Initially rather densely overgrown, the path opens up after a little more than a kilometer. There it runs openly in a valley between the mountain slopes that border the Lagoa do Fogo.

Just before reaching Lagoa do Fogo along the mountains
Just before reaching Lagoa do Fogo along the mountains

At the Lagoa do Fogo

Once at the lake, look north to the slope most vacationers know. There, the path from the Miradouro da Lagoa do Fogo leads down to the lake. Overall, from here you have an excellent view over the entire lake and the surrounding slopes. Countless birds breed on the slopes, which you can observe especially in the morning as they soar and circle above the lake. On the shore you can have something to eat and drink in peace and enjoy the tranquility.

Last rays of sun before we got wet
Last rays of sun before we got wet

Das dachten auch wir, bis eine Wolkenfront binnen kurzer Zeit über den westlichen Hang zog und uns überzeugt hat, den Rückweg anzutreten.

The way back

Most visitors take the same way back that they came here. Since we think it is more interesting to go back another way, we followed the path a bit further along the shore. This leads again a little bit up the mountain and then turns right into the valley. In the meantime, the wind had also increased strongly and the rain, which had also increased strongly, was driven through all clothing. Everything important was stowed in the backpack waterproof, we were not… Fortunately, despite the wind and rain, it was not cold, so together with the running no one had to freeze. Hardly the rain had passed, the sun came out and water vapor slowly rose from the meadows and paths.

parallel way back
parallel way back

The path as a whole was slightly larger, so that this is also passable with a jeep, and also more open. You always have a beautiful view of the mountains and the valley ahead. Back at the car our things were already almost completely dry again.

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