The best hiking trails in Cadiz: ten options for this outdoor sport
The province of Cádiz is a gem of nature in every direction. It has a coastline rich in flora and fauna, natural vegetation unparalleled in its mountain ecosystems and priceless natural landscapes. All this potential has led to the development of a guide with 300 routes published by the local government. Hiking in Cádiz is in vogue and we have selected for you the top ten routes so you can see this beautiful corner of southern Spain for yourself. Green tourism covers more than 2000 kilometres and now is the time to enjoy it.
Hiking trails in Cadiz
1. Cerro del Águila
In terms of walking trails in Cádiz, the Cerro del Águila is affordable for most audiences. It has a low difficulty that takes 1 hour and 45 minutes over a distance of 4 kilometres. It is ideal to do this with children. To get there from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, you have to take the secondary road CA-9027 to La Algaida. This road leads to the entrance of Pinar de Monte Algaida, where the trail begins.
On the other bank of the Guadalquivir, Doñana remains a space full of riches. This paths shows part of them, offering a tour of an area where you can find numerous species.
Do not miss the Tarelo lagoon which is home to many birds, among which one can see stiff-tailed ducks, goldeneyes or grebes together with coots. In terms of vegetation, along the way, you have the opportunity to observe mainly large pine and juniper trees.
2. Rio Majaceite
This trail is one of the most walked in the Sierra de Grazalema. The fact that it is easy and beautiful make it ideal as a family outing. It is a low-intensity walk which covers 4.3km in two hours. The trail starts in the north-western part of Benamahoma, the lower part of the town together with the El Bujío shop. You can access it from the street La Cuesta de la Venta.
The route runs parallel to the Majaceite river and connects the town of Banamahoma (Grazalema) with El Bosque. This river offers a magnificent forest view, a beautiful fresh green tunnel. Poplars, willows, oleanders, cassis, rose bushes, brambles, clematis and honeysuckle among others grow so close together that it is impenetrable to the river banks, providing a safe haven to the abundant wildlife that resides here, such as the otter. Don’t forget to record these moments with your camera and listen to the unique song of the nightingale.
3. Garganta Verde
To reach the Garganta Verde route from Zahara de la Sierra, take the road CA-9104 to Grazalema. After traveling about 4 miles, the trail starts on the right-hand side. The difficulty of this path is high in an area and covers 2.5 kilometres, so you need the agility and strength to do it.
The Garganta Verda hides the Cueva de la Ermita. The Bocaleones stream created this place with the size of a true temple. The trail provides access to this cave by a sharp decline over which vultures fly, circling and hovering in the air after taking off from their nests on the vertical walls on the canyon. This colony represents one of the largest in Europe.
La Ermita is notable for the textures of its pink and green stained walls, caused by algae that thrive in the rock face. The lighting is dim and the sun barely touches the place directly. The silence is broken only by the drops of water falling from the roof of the huge dome and building the stalactites and stalagmites that can be seen in a slow, delicate process.
4. El Torreón
Well positioned within the best hiking trails in the province of Cádiz is the El Torreón route. To get from Benamahoma, take the A-372 to Grazalema. After about 5 kilometres, the trail starts on a road on the left. Although only 3 kilometres, the difficulty is high and it is suitable only for people who are in very good shape.
This trail leads to the tip of Cádiz, the highest peak in the Sierra del Pinar. This formidable watchtower provides a good view of a lot of Andalucia. It is a rather tough but rewarding climb and you can breathe at the top with stunning views which you can then photograph.
During the ascent, you can see the chalky soil of the geological formations and can spot birds of prey and other colourful birds, and, with a little luck, some ibex. As you get higher, the vegetation changes. This is known as altitudinal zonation. Approaching the summit, vegetation disappears, leaving the rocks exposed. In this area we must be careful: piles of stones act as signs, marking the path as well as some paint to point towards the summit.
5. Salto del Cabrero
Billed as a medium-difficulty route, Salto del Cabrero covers 7.6 km and can be done in 4 hours. To get from Grazalema you should take the A-372 to Benamahoma. After about 3 kilometres, you will arrive at Puerto del Boyar where the trail starts.
This route connects the Puerto del Boyar with the town of Benaocaz, through the gorge of the Salto del Cabrero, visible throughout the trail. The limestone composition of these mountains creates a landscape of potholes, caves, shelters and faults like this gorge, a gap which divides the hill in half with vertical walls that exceed eighty metres in height, leaving a space between them of not more than fifty.
The track runs along the west slope of the Sierra del Endrinal, overlooking the Boyar depression. From here you have the opportunity to observe the Sierra de la Silla, Cerro de las Cuevas, the Sierra de Albarracín, the Hurones, Bornos and Guadalcacín reservoirs, and the great mass of the Sierra del Pinar.
6. Llanos de Rabel
The Llanos de Rabel trail is 6.2 kilometres long and can be completed in two hours, so it is rated as low difficulty. If you want to get close to this area from Grazalema, take the A-372 to Benamahoma. After travelling 1.5 km, turn right along the CA-9104 to the Puerto de las Palomas.
After travelling about 9 kilometres, the route starts on a road on the left. As far as hiking trails in Andalucia, this is one of the best to do as a family. The path goes into the Sierra de Grazalema reserve area with a firm and smooth path.
The path runs through the Spanish fir grove along a road densely populated by Mediterranean vegetation which shelters a wide variety of fauna. In the background, we see the Sierra del Pinar which highlights the silhouette of El Torreón, and higher up, the flawless flight of the vultures.
The real star of this trail is the Spanish fir, one of the nine species of fir trees surrounding the Mediterranean which only grows naturally in the Sierra de las Nieves, Sierra Bermeja and the Grazalema massif.
7. The Roman Road
In Benaocaz, the trail starts on the A-2302, just next to the town bus stop. If you start from Ubrique, look for the monastery or hermitage of San Juan. It is a low intensity trail measuring 3.3 kilometres and lasts hour, ideal for enjoying the relaxing landscape.
This trail combines nature and culture. It allows us to see some of the natural park from Benaocaz to Ubrique and the history of its settlement. The Roman road was the model of road used in Rome for the structuring of the empire, laying the foundation of today’s communications networks.
From the Salto de la Mora, the Roman city of Ocuri, the path can be seen while the remains of the former village of Archite can barely be seen.
8. The Fir Grove
The beauty of Grazalema comes, undoubtedly, from its huge expanse of firs. That same singular Mediterranean fir was what led to the declaration of the area as a Biosphere Reserve and Natural Park.
This trail runs along the northern slope of the Sierra del Pinar and has an average difficulty covering nearly 11 kilometres, taking about 4 hours and 30 minutes. To get there from Grazalema, take the A-372 to Benamahoma. After travelling 1.5 km, turn right along the CA-9104 to the Puerto de las Palomas. Access to the path is 1 kilometre away to the left of the road.
The Spanish fir in Andalucia is only found in the Serrania de Ronda and the Sierra de Grazalema, where it covers over 400 hectares on the Sierra del Pinar. It generates a cool atmosphere so it is important that you take something warm to wear.
9. Llanos del Republicano
As you leave Villaluenga del Rosario towards Grazalema, you should take the road where the municipal pool is found in order to reach the low-intensity, 5 km long route.
This trail connects the town of Villaluenga del Rosario with the Llano del Republicano. The road starts climbing gently through pastures to the Port de la Mesa. From here, you descend a steep path between the bushes and dense cork trees, covered with moss and lichen on shady slopes, to the Llano del Republicano. On the way down, you can see the Sima del Republicano where the trail ends.
This area is ideal for caving enthusiasts since the Sierra del Caíllo has a large number of caves, especially the Sima del Republicano.
10. Garganta Seca – Puerto de la Brena
In Andalucia Avenue in the village of Zahara de la Sierra, near the children’s park, is a red road which you need to follow for 2 miles to the Puente de los Palominos where the trail begins.
The route runs along the Bocaleones creek to the Puerto de la Brena. The journey begins with a gentle slope until you see the vertical walls of the Garganta Seca, offering beautiful views. It is interesting to see such unique eroded forms which the water has left behind through the stones on the bed. Some of the walls hold colonies of resting vultures.
In terms of flora, cork and carob trees are predominant but oaks and junipers can also be found in the upper area; there are also hackberry trees on the walls, a characteristic species not found elsewhere in the mountains. In terms of shrubs, mastic, palm hearts and broom are the most widespread. The trail ends at the Puerto de la Brena, hugely important due to its ancient livestock work.
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