Pico da Vara
Localized on Serra da Tronqueira, Pico da Vara Nature Reserve, with 786 hectares and an altitude of 1105 metres, is the highest point of São Miguel and is part of the Basalt Volcanic Complex of Nordeste, with about four million years.
It has a mountainous relief, cut by deep ravines, where it flows ephemeral streams, sometimes perennial. It has high botanical and landscape richness.
The Pico da Vara vegetation consists, on the top, of a Deschampsia foliosa meadow and, on its slopes, of dense Laurel Forest, which has a very high endemism index. Highlights the Ilex Azorica, the Juniperus brevifolia, the Laurus azorica, the Prunus azorica, the Erica azorica, the Vaccinium cylindraceum, the Viburnum treleasei and the native fern Culcita macrocarpa.
Of species of birds, there is the Pyrrhula murina, a rare land bird and endemic of São Miguel Island, that is in danger and has priority conservation status by Birds Directive, and whose last refuge is the Laurel Forest that exists here. You can also observe the Fringilla coelebs moreletti, the Buteo buteo rothschildi and the Columba palumbus azorica.
By doing the Pico da Vara walking trail (PRC07SMI), it is possible to go through the Planalto dos Graminhais and to access the highest point of the island. This Nature Reserve includes in its territory the Special Protection Area (SAC) Pico da Vara/Ribeira do Guilherme and a Site of Community Importance (SCI), under the Natura 2000 network, it is classified as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) of the BirdLife International organization and is an integral part of CORINE Biotope project.
This area borders with a Protected Area for the Management of Habitats or Species and, together with two other protected areas of Povoação and Nordeste councils, it was awarded the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas by the EUROPARC Federation.