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  • Writer's pictureRita Cardoso

S. Miguel, Açores | Trilho Salto do Prego - Faial da Terra PRC 09 SMI

Updated: Nov 26, 2022


This circular route starts in the beautiful and picturesque town of Faial da Terra, nestled in a valley where the Faial da Terra stream meanders, and all surrounded by green landscapes. It is also here that this stream flows into the sea. It's worth exploring Faial da Terra, before, or maybe after the trail, to take something to eat or drink and replenish your energy.



The trail (map) is rated at medium difficulty, as it has some steep slopes and some more challenging areas with slippery parts, wooden bridges, stones and an uneven path. Especially in the waterfall area, be careful if you want to go down to explore its base. However, if you are used to hike and are prepared you will find the path easy, as there are some children accompanied by their parents making the journey without difficulty.

It starts at the bus stop and follows an asphalt road to a bifurcation, where you should continue straight along the left bank of the stream. According to the comments of many travelers, some prefer to go there and back along this same path, while others prefer to start the other way around as they prefer the views of this first section when descending, or even say they prefer to visit the village of Sanguinho first, during the ascent. It will be at the discretion of each one, and to visit Sanguinho, only one of the paths passes through there.

We only hiked this section going downhill, because with Pedro's beautiful ideas, we parked the car on another road and started the trail close to Sanguinho. But as it was so steep, the land was dry and it was slipping a lot, I didn't feel like going up all the way back, so he went back to get the car, and I followed the trail towards Faial da Terra with our friend Álvaro. And it was worth it, as I found the trail much prettier than the path I had taken to Sanguinho.


Sanguinho is a rural village, with some elevation that they say has two purposes, one of them would be to be closer to their land and farms and the other would be to protect themselves from the devastating floods and maritime storms that sometimes ravaged the region. It has about 20 uninhabited houses and has housed about 200 people before, however, all left in search of better living conditions to other areas of the island or emigrated to the United States of America or Canada. Recently, a process of requalification some of the houses began and there is even a cafe in operation, and since the summer of 2019 it has been possible to stay in these houses.

And what is this name due to? Due to the abundant existence of a shrub called sanguinho (Frangula azorica).

After visiting Sanguinho, we follow the trail to the waterfall, which is beautiful, with many endemic and varied plants, with Incense (Pittosporum undulatum) and Acacia (Acacia melanoxylon) being the predominant species. The trail also passes through some private orchards (do not remove anything without authorization, of course) and there is also a strong possibility of getting some pretty nice scares with some chickens and roosters that live there.



And this is where you reach the highest point of this trail, Salto do Prego, it's a beautiful waterfall, in a heavenly corner and we have to descend a few rocks to get there, and it's also possible to explore the top of the waterfall, with proper care, of course. But all this beauty comes with two little, let's call them, challenges, first, the water is simply cold, but it feels good on a day of extreme heat like I was. The second is that there are often a lot of people together, as it is not a big space. The biggest challenge, therefore, is trying to go at a time with less people flow.



From here, there is another trail to Salto do Cagarrão, which we decided not to explore. But legend has it that it is also beautiful and less frequented.

From Salto do Prego, you descend the trail, supposedly along a paving stone path (slippery on rainy days) until you reach the village again. Again, it will be up to each one the chosen path for the descent to Faial da Terra.


Faial da Terra

Faial da Terra, or also known as Island Nativity Scene, “Presépio da Ilha”, inherited this name due to the abundance of Faias-da-Terra (the trees) in the place where it was implanted. It has about 350 inhabitants and lives mainly from agriculture and livestock.

It was one of the first places to be settled on the island, at the beginning of the 16th century, due to all its characteristics and fertile land. And due to its proximity to the sea, it was also one of the main whaling areas of S. Miguel. In addition to this wonderful trail and the unforgettable Sanguinho, there are other attractions in Faial da Terra such as Nossa Senhora da Graça Church, Nossa Senhora de Lourdes Chapel, Pico dos Bodes Viewpoint, Nossa Senhora de Lourdes Chapel Viewpoint, gardens and parks, Picnic Park of Porto Novo and also the Bathing Area of ​​Portinho. For more information about Faial da Terra, you can check this page.


I considered this trail one of the most beautiful to take in S. Miguel, especially on sunny and hot days, as it is well protected from the sun's rays with the dense vegetation. It's worth the climb with an ascent of +150 m, the waterfall is beautiful and you can cool off there. At a moderate pace, it takes about 2 hours to go up and down, not counting the rest time at the waterfall. It is a very well-marked route and I had no doubts at any point along the way.



Recommendations:


  • Check the weather before you go at Spotazores. This is a good trail to do in case of heat and strong sun, as it is mostly in the shade of the big trees and you can always take a bath in the waterfalls to cool off.

  • Try to go during hours with less people, to enjoy it for yourself.

  • Bring your bathing suit and a small towel, there is no comfortable floor to lie on to dry in the sun.

  • Bring snacks and water.

  • Go prepared with comfortable and suitable shoes for the trail, slippery areas and irregularities.

  • There are places of protected landscape, bring your garbage and some more if you find it.

  • Do not remove fruits or vegetables without authorization.

  • Don't scare the animals in the way, it's their home.

  • Always take an extra piece of warmer clothing and a raincoat or windbreaker. What is said about the Azores’ weather is very real, 4 seasons of the year in one day and real suddenly.


Click here to check the post with my location suggestions to visit at S. Miguel.

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