“Incredible view and panoramic vistas with a challenging trail, this route has it all!
— Leslie Meerburg
Check with the mountain house before departure.
While the ascent and descent of Mont Pico are definitely challenging, the 360-degree views make it all worth while.
There is water available at basecamp - it is recommended you bring at least 1.5L per person as well as some food. It is 3-4 hours to ascend, and about the same to descend. Please be aware that most consider the descent to be more difficult than the climb.
This route is not recommended for trail running due to the extremely rocky and uneven nature of the trail. Most of it is stone, but there is some gravel/scree in steep sections - if you try to run, you'll probably break an ankle. A trekking pole is recommended for the descent.
The trail starts from a mountain house basecamp, where you register and pay 10 euros. This provides you with a GPS system and a brief safety video.
There are 45 trail markers to get to the top. On a clear day, you can see the next marker (except for between markers 1 and 2 and markers 5 and 6). The trail is quite steep and uneven, with many sections involving some scrambling. Of note - there is no vegetation on the trail itself, so if you find yourself navigating over plants, you've gone off the trail.
The views are incomparable, and if your knees can take it, this is well worth the effort. The trail is not always clear, but as long as you are moving upward and moving toward the next marker, you'll figure it out. If the weather is not clear, a guide would be HIGHLY recommended (or wait for better weather).
At the top, there is "little Pico" - I did not personally climb it, but my husband did - it is more of a climb, and provides the best view from the top.
You'll primarily see lava rock - different types - ropey lava, sharp lava, smooth lava. It's very neat!