Discover all the secrets of the Aragonese Pyrenees’ greatest treasure
The Earth is in constant motion. A hike approaching a dormant crater, rim or lava bed will transport you to another era through our planet’s scars. Eruption rumblings, flowing lava, with ashes being spewed out of an active cone will all make you experience nature’s hidden fury. 75% of the volcanoes on Earth are found along the “Ring of Fire”, a 40,000-km (24,855-mi) horseshoe-shaped area in the Pacific Ocean.
Mount Bromo is an active volcano that lies in the middle of a large Indonesian valley called “Sea of Sand”. This valley is an enormous caldera created by the ground collapsing after a major eruption. At 2,329 meters (7,641 ft), Mount Bromo is not the highest peak but the most well-known volcano in Indonesia. Its name derives from the Javanese pronunciation of Brahama, the Hindu creator god. This itinerary stops at the viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan, descends to the “Sea of Sand” and then goes up some stairs to reach Mount Bromo’s crater. The views from there and the noise while gas and ashes are being spit out are overwhelming.
The Erta Ale volcano is one of the very few places in the world where you can easily reach the edge of a lava lake in permanent boiling, one of the most beastly spectacles of nature. It is reached from the Bahari camp in the desert of Danakil (Afar Depression, Ethiopia), with a gentle climb of about three hours (10 km / 6.2 mi). A late afternoon start is ideal so as to avoid the peak hours of the scorching sun (bearing in mind that it is one of the hottest places on the planet), and take pleasure in the night show. It is mandatory to hire a guide and highly recommended that visitors wear a mask in case the wind changes and surprises you with toxic clouds.
The Kawah Ijen is an active stratovolcano complex lying on a 16-km (10-mi) caldera in East Java, Indonesia. Its crater emits hot, flammable sulfurous gases which gives off mesmerizing electric blue flames as they emerge into the Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere. A two-hour hike is required to reach the crater, followed by a 45-minute hike down to the bank of the crater, where there’s an incredible turquoise blue lake, as a result of its extreme acidity and high concentration of dissolved metals.
Fimmvörðuháls is an area in southern Iceland which means “five cairns pass” in Icelandic. The Fimmvörðuháls Trekking is a 22-kilometre (14 mi) hike that goes from Þórsmörk to the Atlantic coast, passing through 3 unique landscapes: volcanic soil covered by lime-green moss, the glaciers of Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull, with an ice cap that covers the caldera of a 1,651-metre (5417-ft) tall active volcano, and lush green meadows with 26 waterfalls along the Skógá river. Many people do it along with The Laugavegur Trekking, the most popular trail in Iceland and one of the most beautiful in the world, which takes you from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk in about four days.
Situated in the southeast corner of Reunion Island, “Piton de la Fournaise” is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Erupting for the first time about 50,000 years ago, records note that this basaltic shield volcano has erupted nearly 180 times since such eruptions were first recorded in 1640. The most recent occurred in 2019. The GR R2 traverse is a multi-day backpacking expedition that crosses the Reunion Island from north to south (St Denis to St Philippe), taking you to some of the most scenic points of the island, such as “Cirque de Mafate”, “Piton des Neiges” and “Piton de la Fournaise”.
The Kilimanjaro is a large stratovolcano in Tanzania composed of three volcanic cones: Kibo (dormant but could erupt again), Mawenzi, and Shira (extinct). Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo’s crater rim. At 5,895 meters (19,341 ft) above sea level and at about 4,900 meters (16,100 ft) above its plateau base, it is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world. There are eight official trekking routes by which one can ascend the Kilimanjaro: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Rongai, Shira, Umbwe, the Northern Circuit, and Mweka, most of which can be done in 6-7 days.
Standing at 3,776 meters (12,389 ft), Mount Fuji (also known as Fujisan or Fujiyama) is the highest point in Japan. It is an active stratovolcano which last erupted in 1707. Together with Mount Tate and Mount Haku, it is one of Japan’s three holy mountains, which has attracted pilgrims for centuries. For its longstanding inspiration to artists and poets, UNESCO added it to its World Heritage List in 2013 as a Cultural Site. The most popular itinerary to reach the top is the Yoshida Trail, a circular route that starts from the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station and leads to the summit from the north side.
Seventeen million years ago, an intense period of volcanism began near present day’s Nevada – Oregon – Idaho tri-state border in the United States. Just over 2 million years ago the first of three eruptions occurred in the area we now know as Yellowstone, and one of the largest ever super volcanoes was discovered. The Yellowstone caldera is in almost constant motion, and while experts don’t expect another eruption anytime soon, that underground “hotspot” continues to shape the park we see today. Although it is known for its many geothermal features, in particular the geyser “Old Faithful”, its vast forests and grasslands also make the Yellowstone National Park the largest and most famous megafauna location in the United States, where grizzly bears, wolves, bisons, and elks roam freely and can often be spotted by visitors to the park.
Emerging from a temperate rainforest with powerful waterfalls, and surrounded by wildflower meadows, this imposing stratovolcano is considered one of the most dangerous in the world. Due to its large amount of glacial ice, this 4,392 m (14,411 ft) volcano could produce massive lahars that would threaten the entire Puyallup River valley. Mount Rainier was first known as “Tacoma” (“mother of waters” in the Lushootseed language, spoken by the Puyallup people, the original inhabitants of the area). The Skyline Trail is one of the most popular routes, which through the southern Paradise valley, will not only offer you views of Mount Rainier and Nisqually glacier, but also of the Tattosh Peaks, Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens and Mount Hood.
Mount Teide is an active volcano in Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain). At 3,718 m (12,198 ft), it is the highest mountain in Spain. It’s last eruption was in 1909. The Teide National Park is the most visited national park in Spain and Europe, which incited UNESCO to label it a World Heritage Site in 2007. The most popular itinerary to climb the Teide starts at 2,348 meters (7,703 ft) following the “Montaña Blanca” trail (labeled as trail number 7) passes through the “Altavista” refuge and arrives to “La Rambleta” (cable car’s upper station), where we will then be able to follow the “Telesforo Bravo” trail (labeled as trail number 10), to finally reach the Teide summit.