Sally and I recently decided to take on a tough walk from Mala to Haría incorporating the Presa de Mala, the dam high above the village, which Miguel wrote about here. I have driven up there many times, usually taking friends who didn’t even know it existed, but I wanted to see what was beyond the dam.
As it was to be a one-way walk we caught the bus from Arrecife to Mala getting off at the Post Office. Heading north we took the turning on the left just after the school which goes past the pretty little church, Ermita de las Mercedes, and winds round, past fields of prickly pear cactus, to the bridge over the LZ1.
If time isn’t an issue, or on another occasion, it is worth making a detour to the bottom of the dam to visit the pool of crystal clear water there which is full of plant life and often teeming with dragonflies of various colours.
Otherwise, straight ahead from the bridge is the track which leads up to the dam. It is a fairly steep gradient at the beginning which then becomes a little easier at the level of the dam.
On reaching the dam for the first time it is quite a surprise to find a body of water as it is an unusual sight in Lanzarote. There is a pair of ruddy ducks who seem to have made their home by the “reservoir" and there was a single grey heron scouting the area.
Walking across the dam (not relying on the rusty railings for support) gives you great views down to Mala and Charco de Palo. On the other side, just over the crest, a stunning vista opens up of the north-west of the island. The white buildings of Arrieta and Punta Mujeres stand out starkly against the azure of the ocean and the green/brown of the landscape.
We skirted the lake, crossed the barranco and picked up our track further along. The barranco, which channels rainwater down to the dam, was lush with vegetation despite not having had rain for some time.
The track climbs steadily to where there are some houses high up the valley. These have amazing views, but you would really have to like your privacy to live in such a remote location.
As we continued, already having climbed nearly 400 metres, the ridge stood in front of us looking very daunting. The climb becomes steeper as the track winds up a series of hairpin bends until it levels out at 521 metres. It then brings you out on the LZ10, the road from Los Valles to Haría.
We followed the road past the radar station, which at 675 metres is the highest point on the island. Then, opposite the long lay-by viewpoint, we cut across to the track leading to Bosquecillo, the Secret Forest. We stopped for a well-earned lunch while taking in the panoramic views.
The narrow track leading down from the “forest" to Haría is pretty rocky and we were glad to have decent walking shoes. It was a relief when the trail widened and levelled out as we came in to the town.
The beer we treated ourselves to while we waited for the bus back to Arrecife had never tasted so good!
This walk can be done in reverse with a short, sharp climb to start and then a steady descent. Looking at the Tour & Trail map there are also possible variations on the route.