Trilho Lagoa das Sete Cidades (PR3 + PR4) e PR5 (Serra Devassa) – Azores

Lagoa das Sete Cidades

On 25th July 2015 my co-worker and I hiked around the “Lagoon of the Seven Cities” (Lagoa das Sete Cidades), in São Miguel island.
The route is very simple. We walked around the lagoon following two marked trails (PR3SMI and PR4SMI) and we walked 5 Km more along the road to connect these trails.
Less than 1 Km from the PR4SMI, we found another trail, the PRC5SMI Serra Devassa. As this was a short and circular trail, we decided to follow it.
We spent 10 hours walking more than 27 Km and enjoying some of the most beautiful views I ever saw.

PR 3 SMI – Vista do Rei / Sete Cidades
We parked the car next to São Nicolau Church and we began our hike there. A few minutes later we were next to Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Sete Cidades Lake).
Those 800 meters after the lake were tiring! Not only because of the difference of 150 meters, but mainly because of the small loose stones that make the path slippery. Climbing it was tiring, but the descent was hard! On the way back I had to walk very carefully to avoid rolling down the hill.

Caldeira do Alferes

At the top of the hill, we turned left, following the PR3. We returned to this point through PR4, which continued to our right.

We walked about 1 Km along a paved road and then we turned left onto a dirt path. It was when we had the first meeting with a herd of cows, so common on the island.

When we started our hike the weather wasn’t particularly great and it got worse as we were climbing the hill. However, at about noon, the fog disappeared and it got sunny!

We saw Caldeira do Alferes (Caldera of Second Lieutenant), Caldeira Seca (Dried Caldera) and then…there it was, the Lagoa Verde (Green Lake)!

It took us two hours to reach the Vista do Rei viewpoint. It’s from there that we get the better view of Lagoa Verde. We clearly saw the different colours of these twin lakes. One so blue and another so green!

We spent some time in there enjoying the view, taking pictures…and we stopped next to the abandoned hotel to have lunch. Those ruins contrast with the beauty of that place.

The viewpoint is a bit touristy. Several cars were parked in there and there was always a car arriving and another leaving. There were a few street vendors… The positive thing is that there was a WC in there!

Lagoa do Canário
Those 5 Km the separate PR3 from PR4 were the less interesting ones of the trail, mainly because we had to walk on the road. Luckily, only a few cars passed by.

However, when we were almost reaching PR4 trail, we noticed a placard next to an open gate informing the existence of a lagoon, the Lagoa do Canário, as well as a viewpoint.
We went´ there, walked in the middle of a forest of cryptomeria trees, we reached the lagoon and then we went back, forgetting Boca do Inferno Viewpoint…

We had just arrived at Ponta Delgada airport when I first saw a picture of Boca do Inferno Viewpoint (at that time I didn’t know what it was, I just recognize the Lagoa das Sete Cidades). I was fascinated with that scenery!
I was hoping to see it in person during our hike. However, it was only when we were walking PR4 trail and we saw at the distance people walking along a path that seemed to take them to a viewpoint that I realized that we had missed that stunning site. We were so close…

PRC 5 SMI Serra Devassa
There’s a circular trail, whose existence was unknown for us, that begins on the other side of the road, opposite to the path to Lagoa do Canário. As it was only 4 Km long, we did that trail.

In less than 2 hours we crossed Serra Devassa (Devassa Mountain), saw several lakes, enjoyed stunning views (privilege of being at an altitude of 800 meters), stopped to have a snack, saw unknown plants and went back to the road that lead us to another trail – PR 4 SMI Mata do Canário / Sete Cidades.

PR 4 SMI – Mata do Canário / Sete Cidades
A few minutes after we had began PR4 trail, we reached the aqueduct that we had seen from PR5. This aqueduct was used in the past to conduct water to the public fountains in Ponta Delgada.

We turned left in front of the “Muro das Nove Janelas” (Nine Windows Wall), leaving the aqueduct and the paved road behind.
Near the path, we found several cut trees. We improvised two walking sticks from some of the branches. Those sticks were very helpful on the descents.

Unfortunately, when we were at the highest point of the trail, some fog came from nowhere making it difficult to enjoy the scenery. Luckily, the fog did not spread itself and was confined to that area.

There was a funny situation during our hike. We were going down the hill when we saw a car stuck on a mound of dirt. We approached the driver (who smelled of alcohol), asked him if he needed some help and we suggested him to put some blanket on the ground in front of the wheels.
He covered the ground with blankets, carpets…and even some of his clothes. Every time he went to the car trunk to pick something he beat a dog that was in there. He did all this without saying a word. He just communicated with us with gestures. We thought he could be mute…
We pushed the car and he was able to drive the car uphill. As he didn’t close the car trunk, several items (potatoes, boxes..) fall of the car during the ascend.
He came to us and… he spoke!!! He thanked and asked us if we needed a ride. Told us to be careful with his dog because it was evil (poor animal, looked so unhappy). And talked a lot more.

About one hour later a car stopped next to us (well we were almost run down by the car). It was the same man. He wanted to give us a ride and talked, talked… His car trunk was still opened and the carpets and blankets were almost falling of the car. We didn’t have to walk much to find them on the ground.

And we met the man once more! When we were about 2-3 Km from Sete Cidades the man was coming back in his car to look for the items he had lost. Once again he stopped to offer us a ride and to invite us to spend the night at his house…

We finished our hike without any more incidents.

Gallery

PR 3 SMI – Vista do Rei / Sete Cidades

PRC 5 SMI Serra Devassa

PR 4 SMI – Mata do Canário / Sete Cidades

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