GR- 131 is a long distance trail running through the center of the island of El Hierro, from the far north to the south; its main stretch coinciding with the traditional Camino de la Virgen (path of the Virgin), which is the backbone of the island; accordingly, this path is charged with a cultural and religious symbolism like few other trails of Canarias.
The path, which is divided into four sections, starts from the Northeast coast, from Tamaduste and Puerto de La Estaca to the westernmost extreme south part of the island at Punta de la Orchilla, where we find the lighthouse of the same name, which marks the end of the journey, as well as the Prime Meridian monument.
Throughout its 42 kilometers of length, the Natural Trail runs along the most important and characteristic landmarks of El Hierro, such as the capital city, Valverde, and the Virgen de los Reyes shrine, starting point of the so-called Bajada de la Virgen (descent of the Virgin), which is the main feast of the island, taking place every four years in honor of the patron Virgin of the island.
The third stage of GR-131, the longest of all, just over 27 kilometers in length, goes along the Camino de la Virgen or path of the Virgin, which is followed by the traditional procession which takes the image of the Virgin from its ascent (La Subida) to the capital back to the shrine of the Virgin, located in La Dehesa. In the course of the procession, different villages hand over the image of the virgin at specified border points which are known as “rayas” or borders on the road.
In the initial section of the first stage, the GR-131 trail also coincides with the portion which goes from Tamaduste to Echedo, following the circular trail that runs along the entire island, until it reaches an intersection; the second portion of the path being, in fact, an offshoot of the GR-131 trail.
Along its entire length, the GR-131 trail makes it possible for travelers to enjoy the full extent of the landscape contrasts that can be found on the island, from the coast to the interior, across protected natural areas such as the Parque Rural de Frontera (Frontera Rural Park) and volcanic landscapes, stretches of native vegetation, areas of lowlands, and peaks like mount Malpaso, the highest point on the island of El Hierro.