Azores - São Miguel

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Pico Queimado – A short hike with amazing views


The Pico Queimado is one of the many small but central mountains on São Miguel that have been created from several craters. The hiking path TM02 has been leading up here for a long time, but for whatever reason, it seems to have been forgotten about lately.

Old sign on the hiking path TM02
Old sign on the hiking path TM02

We personally think that’s not fair at all. You will not find many other spots that offer such a fantastic view over central São Miguel. In order for you to get an idea, we will show you a little bit of the path here. By the way, we took all the photos in the middle of summer, without encountering even a single person.


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Starting point towards the Pico Queimado

The closest carpark is a small lay-by slightly to the north of the hiking path entrance. We did not really find any other space to park without blocking off the driveways to fields. At least you already get a good view of the Pico Queimado from the car park.

Pico Queimado
Pico Queimado

Walk carefully along the side of the bend, because this bend is fairly stretched out which means that potential drivers may only spot you quite late.

Way back from the Pico Queimado
Way back from the Pico Queimado

Fortunately, the way is not far, and you soon reach the hiking path to the left. The entire hike, including the route from the car park to the hiking trail, is only 4.6 km long. We walked slowly with many breaks and it took us around 2.5 hours. The 270m elevation is not that noticeable either. By the way, the summit is about 375m high, according to our Sat Nav.

The path to the summit

Once you reach the hiking path, you will first pass a house and then reach the forest quite quickly. At first, the path resembles a ravine that has burrowed into the mountain over time.

Path towards the Pico Queimado
Path towards the Pico Queimado

The appearance of the path keeps changing. Part of it is forest, part leads you along fields, but you will also pass open mountains and heaths. After around a third of the way, you pass a couple of slightly decomposed gates which we assume were once supposed to keep out animals.

Horse on the way to the Pico Queimado
Horse on the way to the Pico Queimado

There are many spots along the path that really show how it has sort of been forgotten about. However, maybe that’s part of what makes it so beautiful!

View of the western mountains on the way to the Pico Queimado
View of the western mountains on the way to the Pico Queimado

At around the halfway point, you will find two deep clefts on the ground in the forest that have a volcanic origin.

Cleft in the mountain by the Pico Queimado
Cleft in the mountain by the Pico Queimado

The last third of the way to the summit also leads through the forest. You can spot some more special trees here, for example this one:

Tree with hole by the Pico Queimado
Tree with hole by the Pico Queimado

We can’t say how the whole got there, but the trees overgrown with moss and lichens due to the high humidity always omit a very special atmosphere. Not far from here, the path, fenced in by hydrangeas, leads up to the summit.

Hydrangeas accompany you on the way to the Pico Queimado
Hydrangeas accompany you on the way to the Pico Queimado

The summit

Even though the Pico Queimado is not terribly high, its fortunate location means that you get a view over the entirety of central São Miguel. You can see everything from Ribeira Grande, the western mountains such as the Pico da Cruz and central smaller mountains all the way to Ponta Delgada.

From the summit, the path actually leads a little further around the crater and ends within the crater itself. You can climb a little way down it. This path is a little worn down, and the tree trunks that are meant to act as steps were loose when we were last there. However, none of that is a problem as long as you’re careful!

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