Pico Ruivo from Bocca da Encumeada

Climb to the highest point of the island of Madeira, and by the road less travelled. A long and demanding hike in diverse environments. Beautiful viewpoints on the route and, at the top, a beautiful 360° view.
N.B. Due to the steep crags of Madeira, the displayed altitude difference is overestimated and, therefore, so is the estimate of the time. Expect the elevation to be more in the order of 1,200 m in both directions.

Technical sheet
No. 4098714
A Câmara de Lobos walk posted on 05/05/15 by LB_Neil. Update : 25/09/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 13h10[?]
Distance Distance : 19.44km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 2655m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 2646m
Highest point Highest point : 1847m
Lowest point Lowest point : 994m
Very difficult Difficulty : Very difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Câmara de Lobos
Starting point Starting point : N 32.754304° / W 17.018643°
Download : -


Starting point at Bocca da Encumeada (pass). Access is via the road through the island across its width between Sao Vicente and Ribeira Brava in the north to the south.

Red and Yellow markings (route No. 1.3).

(S) From the pass, take the path called "Vereda da Encumeada" which heads south-east. After a few hundred metres the path becomes steeper and then gives way to stone steps leading up a winding path. The road heads north-east and passes near Pico da Encumeada.

(1) The path heads south-east and remains high up by alternating short climbs and short descents. The slope changes to climb Pico do Jorge.

(2) Continue down east to reach Bocca das Torrinhas a pass and a crossroads with a nice view.

(3) Cross the route No. 2 with its north-south orientation (approximately) and go uphill to the north east. Around the 1,500 m elevation mark, the slope becomes more gentle momentarily before again becoming steeper. Veer to the south-east to head round the Pico do Coelho, then continue uphill to the east to the Pico Ruivo.

(4) Turn right (south) to climb in loops to the summit.

(5) The descent is along the same path as on the way out.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 994m
1 : km 2.02 - alt. 1316m - Near the Pico Encuemeada
2 : km 4.3 - alt. 1637m - Pico do Jorge
3 : km 5.32 - alt. 1422m - Bocca das Torrinhas
4 : km 9.5 - alt. 1782m - Split in the path at the foot of Pico Ruivo
5 : km 9.73 - alt. 1847m - Pico Ruivo - Summit
D/A : km 19.44 - alt. 994m

Useful Information

The trail is laid out in places: paving or stone steps, cable rails on the sides. Nevertheless, good hiking shoes are essential.

The climate is changeable, it is recommended to start this long hike early. Despite the latitude, warm clothing is recommended.

No water or supplies available on the trail: plan accordingly.


With two cars, you can park one at Bocca Encumeada (S) and another in Achada do Teixeira in the car park located at the end of the EN-101-5 road from Santana. In this case, after coming down from the summit and arriving at the point (4), instead of retracing your steps to the west, take the east route no. 1.2 to Achada do Teixeira. Allow about 1.5 hours for the walk at least but at least 1 hour to Achado do Teixeira and Bocca Encumeada by car.

Still with two cars, the hike can be walked in the opposite direction (east to west), which significantly reduces the ascent.

Another option (not tested) is to spend a night in the Poussada do Ruivo (shelter), located a few hundred metres east of point (4).

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

From the summit there is a 360° view of the island of Madeira and the ocean.

On the way, the environment varies greatly: it starts in a wooded environment, the vegetation gradually becomes less dense and, at the first summit, it is essentially a open rock.

Other walks in the area

distance 5.32km Vertical gain +364m Vertical drop -355m Durée 2h35 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Câmara de Lobos - Madeira

Madeira Island is filled with irrigation canals, the Levadas. This short hike takes you along the Levada do Norte, one of the most significant of the island, located in an elevated part of the island. You'll find stunning viewpoints along the way and go through a beautiful forest with various species.
N.B. The altitude displayed is most probably over estimated as the trail is relatively flat along the Levada following the contour line.

distance 5.38km Vertical gain +362m Vertical drop -358m Durée 2h35 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Santana - Madeira

Climb to the highest point of the island of Madeira, taking the easier route. Beautiful mountain scenery and a superb 360° panorama at the top.

distance 13.08km Vertical gain +1196m Vertical drop -1200m Durée 7h10 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Calheta (Madeira (Portugal)) - Madeira

It runs along the three very different Levadas, all interconnected by sloping paths. The route covers a varied landscape, crossing over diverse vegetation, and with beautiful views of the waterfalls. A hike whose direction and length can be adjusted depending on wishes or circumstances.
N.B. The displayed altitude difference is higher than reality (and consequently so is the average time for completion). Expect more in the realm of 600 metres in altitude.

Ponta de Sao Lourenco
distance 6.4km Vertical gain +431m Vertical drop -430m Durée 3h05 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Machico - Madeira

A hike at eastern end of Madeira in the only semi-desert environment of the island. Beautiful scenery on top of colourful cliffs, beautiful views of the sea and a way to escape.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.