Logoa do Fogo: The Essential Azores Hike

I’ll admit I was a little skeptical when we started out on the trail to Logoa do Fogo. To begin with we had spent thirty minutes looking for the road that would take us to the trailhead, and this was after convincing my husband that a strenuous 11km hike was a better idea than simply driving to a Logoa do Fogo lookout point.  Needless to say the mood was a bit tense when we embarked on the trek up to the lake. Add in the fact that there were some ominous clouds rolling in, and that we were walking up what was basically a farm road devoid of views, shade, or even hydrangeas.  It had all the makings of a disappointing vacay adventure. To make a long story short,  four hours later we were drinking perfectly chilled glasses of vino blanco next to the ocean and marveling at what an incredible hike we had just completed…IMG_2926

Getting to the Trailhead

We were given vague, ambiguous directions when in fact it’s actually pretty simple to find the trailhead.

  1. Use your GPS or google maps to direct you to Prestana Bahia Praia. This is a giant resort, the largest in the area, and a good landmark for finding the trail to Logoa do Fogo. If you are navigating by map you want to be on the coastal road (it’s the redline on the free tourist map) heading towards Agua de Alto.
  2. Continue on slowly past the Prestana Bahia Praia towards Vila Franca do Campo.
  3. Almost immediately you will come to a big bend in the road. You will see a small Logoa Do Fogo sign. Turn left onto R. Caminho da Ribeira da Praia. It is a narrow paved street with a few houses. Continue up the road for about five minutes until you reach the wooden trailhead sign.

    trailhead lagoa do fogo
    Always take a picture of the trail description and map

The Hike An Overview

I highly recommend taking a picture of the hike trail instructions and map before starting out. You can do the hike as an “out and back” (coming back on the same trail that you took to get to the lake) or as a loop.

  1. The first section of the “trail” is more of a farm road. There isn’t too much to see and it’s mostly uphill. This is the most confusing part of the hike because the road does split occasionally and you’ll have to make sure you continue on in the correct direction. Fortunately there are plenty of trail marker signs. Just keep your eyes open and you’ll be fine.
  2. You’ll eventually reach an inviting section of road that goes through a grove of Japanese cedar trees.  Enjoy the shade and keep on trekking.

    trees on Logoa do Fogo trail
    Serenity and shade amongst the trees on the journey to Logoa do Fogo
  3. At last a view! You’ll come to a small building at the top of the hill. At this point the road becomes a single track trail.

    view on the logoa do fogo trail
    One of the viewpoints on the ascent to Logoa do Fogo
  4. Walk along the narrow trail that follows the irrigation canal. It’s absolutely magical to be buried in the trees and walking along the mossy canal. It can also be a little muddy after heavy rain..
  5. You’ll leave the shade behind and emerge onto a section of trail that meanders through a wide valley with sweeping views of the green hills. From here it’s an easy 15 minute walk to the lake. ( This is also where you might encounter aggressive sea gulls depending on the time of year).

    the valley leading to logoa do togo
    Once you reach the valley it’s an easy, quick walk to get to the lake.
  6. The lake at last! The trail will take you to the rim of the crater. From here you can look down at the lake, or if you’re feeling inclined you can walk down a trail to the lake. I’ve heard mixed information on whether it is ok to swim in the lake in this area but at the very least it is a nice spot to rest or refuel.

    logoa do fogo
    The weather is always changing at the lake. If it’s cloudy at first wait a bit and you’re patience might be rewarded with some sun.
  7. Stay as long as you’d like and then make the decision on whether you want to head back the way you came or make it a loop!

How To Make The Hike A Loop!

I love trails that are loops. Who doesn’t love seeing new scenery rather than repeating what you’ve already seen?

  1. When you reach the lake, head right along the dirt trail.
  2. Follow the trail along the crater rim and enjoy the views of the lake
  3. Keep going and it will turn into a wider trail (more like a dirt road) as it veers right and starts going down away from the lake back towards the ocean.

    view from logoa do fogo trail
    Breathtaking views on your way back from the lake
  4. It’s a fairly steep downhill so those with knee problems beware! But there are endless views of the ocean,  grassy meadows, and of course hydrangeas.

    hydrangeas at logoa do fogo
    Hike amongst the hydrangeas on your way back from the lake
  5. At the bottom you will be simultaneously excited to see that you’ve reached a parking area and dismayed to realize that it’s not the one where you parked your car. Do not worry, your car is a 5-10 minute walk away.
  6. Continue through the parking area and take a right on the paved road. It’s a fairly flat road that passes some cow fields. Keep going and you will be back at the trailhead for Logoa do Fogo.

    Logoa do Fogo Map
    Follow the Red line for an “out and back” hike or take the narrow black line to the right of the red line to return to your car which makes it a loop

Gear

  • Bring plenty of water and some snacks so that you can enjoy the lake for a bit
  • Hiking poles are helpful if you have them
  • Shoes with good traction. You don’t need hiking boots but if you’re doing the loop, the trail down has some slippery loose gravel sections.
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen

Tips To Maximize Your Hiking Happiness

  • Start in the morning before it gets too hot. The first part of the trail is uphill and hot.
  • Bring a swimsuit on the hike in case you do want to hop in the lake or leave one in the car and take a post hike dip in the ocean at any of the nearby beaches. There are several sandy beaches within five minutes of the trailhead.
  • Or after your hike head to Caloura, a 10-15 minute drive away and get lunch at Bar Caloura. There’s almost always a wait so put your name on the list and cool off in the adjacent swimming area. In addition to the protected swimming area in the cove there’s also a separate swimming pool and ample areas for basking in the sun or jumping off into the water depending on your post-hike energy level.

    Azores Bar Caloura
    Treat yourself to a post-hike meal and swim at Bar Caloura

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