One of our self-guided or guided gay nude/naturist walks in Axarquia, Andalucia, Spain
(Note that we have separate write-ups for how to get to each trailhead, and we provide a map for each walk, neither of which are included on this webpage, but obviously are provided in the apartment!)
We cannot praise this walk highly enough. It is one of our very favourites. However, it is a strenuous walk, with little shade on the first half of the walk and very heavy rains in 2007 have washed away some of the paths on the return leg, so some rock scrambling is required. Also, this walk is often on paths with sheer drop-offs close by so should not be attempted by vertigo sufferers! But, if you are fit enough, DO THIS WALK!!
A friend who did this walk with us for the first time recently said it was one of the very best walks she had ever done, which is high praise as she has walked extensively including in the Alpujarras and the Sierra de Grazalema mountains. Which just goes to show that the Axarquia Sierras are the best hiking area in southern Spain!
(1) From the car, walk west up the track on the north side of the river bed. At the first junction 240m later, turn right. 350m later, at the next junction, turn left. Already the views to the north are becoming spectacular. After 200m, the track may have a chain across it - simply continue on past this barrier.
400m later, you might see a sign hanging from a tree saying ‘Atencion Abejas’ (Beware Bees) – you might be able to see the beehives about 100m in front of you. When you are on the track beside the beehives, the track forks – stay right here. 400m further along the track, about 100m after a very obvious right hand hairpin, start looking for a path which leaves the trail on the left (2) – at the time of writing, this path had been very clearly marked with some cairns and sticks (see photo to the right - if you miss it, don’t worry, continue along the track and you will meet the top of the path where the track ends at point (3)).
400m up the path (3), you will come to the end of the track which you left at point (2). Turn left here (west) and the path continues climbing around the hillside. 650m later, you get your first good views to the west, towards Frigiliana and the coast. Another 300m and the path starts climbing up a rocky stream bed.
After climbing quite steeply for 450m, you reach another wonderful viewpoint (4) – this time looking east, down into the Barranco de Cazadores gorge – your route back is down at the bottom of this gorge! There are also great views north to Tajo Almendron which is peeking up above the hill directly north of you. After taking in the views, the path sets off north, initially zigzagging quite close to the cliff edge, but then it swings left away from the edge and becomes slightly more obscured amongst the rocks, although there are quite a few stone cairns to help mark the way.
600m beyond the last waypoint, you round a corner and find Tajo Almendron is now right in front of you. 100m later, it is worth leaving the path on your left in order to go over to the Chillar river gorge (5) and take in yet more stunning views to the west towards Mount Maroma and for uninterrupted views of Tajo Almendron.
Return to the path, and about 150m further on, you come to a rocky outcrop, this time on the eastern side of the ridge, with more terrific views. From this outcrop, the path descends to the north, on the eastern side of the ridge (not totally obvious, as it is initially just a rock slab, but looking further away, you can see the path you need to take).
200m along the path, you are directly east of the smaller of the 2 peaks (called Almendrillo on some maps) and the path begins to climb again, and now begins to cross the occasional small scree slope! A further 500m along the path and you get your first views of the ridge which you will soon be descending along, down to the river gorge. There are some pretty big rock falls obscuring the path here, but look out for small cairns which mark the path.
300m later and you are finally at the high point of the walk at 1416m! A further 230m and you will come to a T-junction with a big cairn right in the junction of the 3 paths (6). Turn right (southeast). The path isn’t that clearly defined initially, but it improves as you descend, and is marked by the occasional cairn.
Simply follow the path down, down, down, to the streambed at the bottom of the valley (at one point, early on, you might see a T-junction, in which case stay right, descending on the path). 1.3km from the start of the descent, at the stream bed (7), turn right. Walk along the streambed for 350m but then leave the streambed on a path your right. At the time of writing, this junction was well marked by some stones laid across the streambed, with some wood on top, pointing the way – if you miss this point, you will only go another 200m further before you get to the top of the first of a series of spectacular waterfall drops where the streambed plunges about 100m in a sheer drop; it’s actually worth taking a detour to this point just for the view!
450m from where the path left the streambed, there is a great viewpoint just off the path with a steep drop-off (you will probably walk to it without realising you are a few metres off the path, as everyone who has walked the trail before has done!).
200m later, the path has been very eroded by a small tributary stream. If you can’t see any cairns, try to cross to the northern side of the tributary, where you should be able to pick up the path again, only for it to disappear a bit further down. Stay on the northern side until you reach the main riverbed again. (8)
As you start climbing away from the river again, look out for evidence of abandoned mines – if you look across the main gorge, you might see a mine entrance about 200m above the valley floor (the Mina del Tajo), and the remains of a stone wall to its right – an amazing location for a mine and a miner’s house!
800m from the last waypoint, and the path has been eroded away again – this time quite seriously. You would think that the path you need to reach is directly across from you, as you can see a dark stone-built path for quite some distance in front of you at the same height. Ignore this path – it is disused! Instead, as you descend into the newly created tributary stream bed, look further down and to the left and you will see another quite well defined path. Head for this path, looking for any cairns which mark the safest route down the steep stream bed.
This path loops around, and is soon again destroyed by the same stream. Go into the streambed, and descend the stream all the way to the bottom where is joins the main river (9) – again, look for cairns marking the route down.
From now on, simply walk down the main riverbed. At first it is very rocky and rough, but there are a surprising number of cairns marking the best route. Eventually, someone has bulldozed a flatter route, which you can then walk on relatively easily. As you descend further, eucalyptus trees become the main trees along the gorge. Look out for the many abandoned cave houses at the side of the gorge behind the trees – presumably these were homes for the miners many years ago.
Towards the end of the walk, you will see a track leaving the riverbed on your right. Stay on the riverbed, but unfortunately it’s not been bulldozed flat beyond this point! Eventually, you will return to the point along the riverbed at which you parked the car.