The Five Things You Need To Know Before Hiking in Grazalema
Situated between Cadiz and Malaga, the Sierra De Grazalema Natural Park offers a truly unique landscape, including the Garganta Verde, which is moulded by generations of water erosion, the underground labyrinths of the Cueva del Gato (the longest in Andalucia), the mountaineering peaks of the El Torreón, the climbing walls of the Peñón Grande, the river routes of the Majaceite and of course the Park’s most symbolic site, the Sierra del Pinar, home to one of the largest fir forests in the world.
Nature lovers have had this area declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which offers a variety of routes for cycling, walking and horse-back riding riding by the water, canoeing and even opportunities to hang glide.
But what should you know before heading out on any of these routes?
Among the park’s many trails, four are restricted: Pinsapar, El Torreón, La Garganta Verde and the Llanos del Rabel. What does this mean? To access any of these, you will need a permit granted by the Park in advance, which can often be arranged for you by local, rural hotels. So, if you plan to take on any of these routes, you should take this into account. The permits are free of charge, but are limited to an allowable quota each day.
Our advice from here at the Fuerte Blog is to submit a request for a permit at least 30 days in advance if possible to make sure there is available space, especially of you are planning for a weekend or during a holiday, but weekdays usually present no problems, even on short notice.
3. Routes Closed During the Summer
Another fact to be remembered is that during the summer months, some spaces in the Park are closed to the public or restricted to only those qualified personnel or those accompanied by tourism companies in the area. This is due to the increase risks of fire hazards. These routes include:
- The Pinsapar: This trail can be accessed to the fir forest, but the views up to this point are worthwhile.
- La Garganta Verde: This is only accessible to the first lookout point.
- El Torreón: Fully closed, which means no access to the public or those accompanied by guides
- Los Llanos del Rabel: Accessible with or without guides
4. Hire A Guide
Throughout the year, you can complete routes on your own, but from the 15th of June through the 15th of October, you should hire a licenced guide. We recommend the following active, tourism companies.
5. What Do I Need To Request A Permit?
To request permission, you are required to provide a valid number from an ID card or a passport, the date of your visit, your itinerary and the number of people in your party. The contact number is (+34) 956 70 97 (The Grazalema Natural Park, El Bosque Visitor Centre). You can also write an email to [email protected].