European mountains
La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain

La Merica, 854m
Point 839m

Location : La Gomera, Canary Islands, Spain  
Maps : La Gomera, Wander- und Radkarte 1:30 000 (Kompass)
La Gomera Tour & Trail 1:40 000 (Discovery Walking Guides)
La Gomera Wanderkarte 1:35 000 (Goldstadt)
GPS: TOPO_Espaņa Insular y Ciudades de Ceuta y Melilla
Primary factor : La Merica: 71m
Point 839m: 43m
Hiked : Dec 2009
See also : Garajonay, Fortaleza
Los Roques
Las Toscas
Tejeleche & Roque de Mona
Other European  mountains on
La Gomera - Nature and Magic (external link)

See also the La Gomera index page for a list of all tops visited. Also note that mountain elevations have been taken from the TOPO_Espaņa Insular y Ciudades de Ceuta y Melilla GPS map.


La Merica and Valle Gran Rey

La Merica and Valle Gran Rey
(Click for larger image)


La Merica is one of the most popular tops on La Gomera, located on the west side of the beautiful Valle Gran Rey (Valley of the Great King) on the west/southwest side of the island. A 6km well-worn trail runs between La Calera (70m) and Arure (800m). There is even a trail from the village of Tagaluche, but not described on this page.

A traverse across La Merica means that you will have to get back to your starting point, one way or the other. Hikers trying to get a lift at La Calera or Arure are a common sight. Be nice and give them one.

Although La Merica is a huge mesa, there are a few tops. Starting from La Calera, you will first pass point 803m (N28.11328 W17.33556) just above the ruins of what probably was an old shepard's hut. This is a nice viewpoint towards Valle Gran Rey. 200m to the northwest, you'll find the "official" La Merica point (N28.11496 W17.33651). This point, which is a small detour from the main trail, has a marker and this is the point most people associate with La Merica.

But the actual high point (854m, N28.11767 W17.33559) is found 300m further to the north. There is no established trail up here. Parque Rural de Valle Gran Rey may have regulations which prohibits hiking outside the trails, but this needs to be verified. One can reach the high point through a short scramble (YDS class 2+) just after passing the cave below the top. 


La Merica seen from the north

La Merica seen from the north
(Click for larger image)

Northeast of the high point, the trail passes points 838m (N28.11899 W17.33372) and 839m (N28.11956 W17.33175), two less significant tops. Closer to Arure, you pass two pointy rocks, both 839m. The south rock (N28.12850 W17.32701) requires climbing (YDS class 3), while the north rock (N28.12968 W17.32522) is fenced in to an extent which discourages any desire to climb/scramble it.


Point 839m (the south)

Point 839m (the south)
(Click for larger image)


Heights & Primary factor:

La Merica's height (the high point) varies depending on which map you have. Below is a table of heights, collected from various sources;

Kompass Goldstad Tour & Trail Garmin GPS map My GPS
855m 857m 857m 854m 865m

Whether the paper maps refer to the actual high point, or the point where the marker is found, is difficult to determine. Throughout our stay, personal GPS readings were in average 10-13m above the map heights. Even at sea level, the GPS read 10-13m. This may indicate that the GEOID model is not very accurate for this island.

La Merica (Garmin GPS: 854m, N28.11767 W17.33559) has a primary factor of 71m towards the higher mountains north of Arure The defining saddle (approx. N28.12156 W17.33012) is found along the trail between La Merica and Arure. More precisely - 300m south of point point 803m. The saddle height is 783m on the Garmin map.

GPS measurement read 865m (on the ground), averaged over a 5-minute period (error margin +/- 1,4m). The saddle point was found at N28.12135 W17.33006 and measured 790m. The ridge above was approx. 4-5m higher than the trail.

Point 839m (Garmin GPS: 839m, N28.12850 W17.32701) has a primary factor of 43m towards the higher mountains north of Arure. The defining saddle (approx. N28.13032 W17.32432) is found closer towards Arure - between the other point 839m and point 824m. The saddle height is 796m on the Garmin map.

GPS measurement read 857m (on the ground), averaged over a 2-minute period (error margin +/- 1,6m).



La Merica high point

La Merica high point
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Google map

Google's interactive map. You can zoom, pan and click on the markers.


Google maps
Google maps
(Click on image)



Trail descriptions

Route 1: La Calera - La Merica - Arure (GR132) (summer/autumn)

Difficulty : YDS Class 1
Exposure : No
Distance : Approx. 6km (2D distance)
Time : Approx. 3,5-4,5 hours
Starting Elev.: Approx. 70m
Vertical Gain : Approx. 800m

This route description is valid per Dec 2009


(all distances are approx. distances)

The usual way to get to La Gomera, is to fly to Tenerife and take a jetfoil or ferry from Los Cristianos. Some ferries only run to San Sebastian de la Gomera, while others stop by San Sebastian and Playa de Santiago before arriving at Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey.

The starting point is small village La Calera (a 30 minute walk from the harbour at Vueltas), just north of Playa del Valle Gran Rey. On the northeast side of the village, locate a staircase that takes you to an upper road. Turn right, and after a few meters you'll see the trailhead.

The route

The route - as seen in Google Earth

The route - as seen in Google Earth
(Click for larger image)


Follow the mountain trail as it switchbacks up to the mesa. Enjoy amazing rock scenery along the way. Once up on the plateau, you can see the La Merica marker point in the distance. Make sure to stop by point 803m along the way. To the east (across the valley) you can see Garajonay - the island high point and the distinct mesa top Fortaleza.

Continue north along the trail, which passes the high point on its east side. If you decide to visit this point, then pass a cave, and head off-trail the 35 vertical meters to the top (it is important to find the easiest route - YDS class 2+).

The trail passes points 838m and 839m before it descends to the lowest point (783m) between La Merica and the mountains north of Arure. Next, you'll pass two pointy rocks (both 839m) before you reach Arure. As mentioned earlier on this page, the south rock requires a short YDS class 3 climb to the top, while the north top is completely fenced in.

Just before the trail reaches Arure, make sure you turn left and visit Mirador el Santo for a fantastic view towards Tagaluche. From Arure, you can either descend your ascent route, try to get a lift back to the valley, take a taxi or a bus. Research (on beforehand) about the island's public transport may come in handy.  

South side of Le Merica

South side of Le Merica
(Click for larger image)

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