Hiking at the embalses Guadalhorce and El Caminito del Rey

Hiking in the beautiful nature reserve of the embalses del Guadalhorce and El Caminito del Rey.

One can reach this beautiful nature reserve from Coín, B&B Finca La Toronja, by car via a new stretch of motorway of the A-355 towards Málaga where at the connection to A-357 take direction Ardales. After half an hour’s drive one arrives at the lakes via the Ardales exit. At the bottom of the exit you turn right towards ‘El caminito del Rey’. The left goes to Ardales (a white village established on a mountainside).

After a few minutes drive we already see the beautiful lakes of Ardales on our left. These lakes are very popular with locals during the summer months but also very interesting for the people who visit this region because it is a place to cool off in the warm summer months. Here you can swim, canoe, sup, pedalo.

We continue towards ‘El Caminito del Rey’ (king’s path). At the sign ‘El Restaurante Mirador’ we turn right and drive up to the parking above after a five hundred metres. Here we have a beautiful view over the entire nature reserve. Nature photography enthusiasts will appreciate this.

Our walk starts here via the barrier on a beautiful path towards the pumphouse of the old dam. Almost at the bottom under the spruces and eucalyptus trees we walk up. Halfway through this path, the road splits to the top right where after half an hour of walking (ensuring privacy and silence) enjoying the scents of thyme and rosemary again has a beautiful view of Andalusian nature. From here one can see the gorge or popularly called ‘Garganta del Chorro’. Not only the gorge is seen but also the world-famous ‘El Caminito del Rey’ among us but also the griffon vultures floating in the gorge. After the descent back to the intersection we now take the road to the left, it descends towards pump housing. After walking through a tunnel (under some cave dwellings) we now reach the entrance to the famous mine path or ‘El caminito del Rey’. The walk along the revamped path takes about 3 hours. On YouTube there are some beautiful and exciting videos. At the pump house you have the opportunity to walk back to the car via 2 paths, the way back to the tunnel and on to the parking lot. Either the other road runs along the waterfront under the shade of eucalyptus trees to the old dam ‘Conde de Guadalhorce’. Via a staircase we arrive at the top of the road where there is a stone throne in front of king Alfonso XIII who came to inaugurate the dam in 1921. Past the two restaurants we walk back until we see the sign of ‘El Restaurante Mirador’ where we turn left towards the parking.

This hike is one of the many example of the beautiful nature that Andalusia has to offer, not only in terms of fauna (fall vultures, owls, kingfishers, swallows, mountain goats, hares,…) but also of the flora (firs, eucalyptus trees, herbs such as thyme and rosemary). This area also lends itself perfectly to ornithological photography.

Hopefully this little description of the walk has provided you a better picture of what the beautiful Andalusian nature has to offer.

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