Barranco del Garbanzal and Picones de Fique

Barranco del Garbanzal and Picones de Fique


This trail is truly spectacular. It will take you through the area known as Pasada de Bosques, lying beneath the unusual petrified rock formations of the Picones de Fique and running along both sides of the Barranco del Garbanzal ravine before arriving at the ruins of the forest house, of which only a pile of rubble remains. The ruins are approximately 2 kilometres from the starting point and if you continue along the forest trail you will enter another, much wider and more open ravine known as the Extremara, bearing the same name as the stream that runs through it. Approximately 1.2 kilometres further on, you will reach another, crystal-clear watercourse, which is forded by the trail, and if you carry on walking upstream you will arrive at a spring thought to mark the source of the stream below.

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Belerda and Don Pedro

Belerda and Don Pedro


Belerda, or Las Belerdas, is very near to Casillas de Don Pedro, a town with which it has a strong social and historical relationship. Casillas de Don Pedro is situated beneath the series of natural and historical sites and shrines at Tíscar and is notable for the Picón Larguillo, a spectacular landform that defies gravity and welcomes visitors to the town. This group of hamlets, which are laid out in a delightfully haphazard fashion owing to the difficult topography and the varying social circumstances of its residents, was named in honour of Prince Peter, the uncle of Alfonso XI, who in 1319 captured the Moorish fortress of Tíscar and its 4500 inhabitants from the Moorish leader Mohamed Adón. The village spreads out on either side of the Tíscar stream at the bottom of the valley, at the foot of the range of hills known as the Cerros de Caballos. Protected by a natural rock face inhabited by vultures and Spanish ibex, Las Belerdas blends seamlessly into this wild and seemingly hostile environment.

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Cerrada la Bolera

Cerrada la Bolera


Cerrada de la Bolera is one of the most spectacular and beautiful ravines in the park. From above, whether looking down from the dam at the reservoir of the same name, or from the A-326, on the bridge across the ravine, or from the viewing point at Peña de la Alcantarilla, the views are truly impressive. However, the most attractive surprises are to be found deep inside the ravine, an area reserved exclusively for those who practise canyoning. Water does not always flow through the ravine, however, as filtration during the driest parts of the year means that water often runs underground, leaving the sections above ground dry. Nonetheless, it is worth exploring the ravine to observe the attractive shapes that have been carved out by the river. And if the water levels in the reservoir are high, the aforementioned filtration process makes this excursion a dream.

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Cerrada de la Herradura and Cañada del Mesto

Cerrada de la Herradura and Cañada del Mesto


Depending on the water levels in the reservoir, the depth of the ravine of Cerrada de la Herradura varies. The best point from which to enjoy a panoramic view of the ravine is from the bridge which crosses it: the sense of security provided by the metal rail means you can lean out and look down at the trout and barbells thronging the crystalline waters of the River Guadalentín as it enters the Bolera reservoir.

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La Bolera Reservoir

La Bolera Reservoir


The Bolera Reservoir calms the crystal-clear waters of the River Guadalentin, forming a 6-kilometre-long artificial lake. In summer, it is an ideal place to enjoy a refreshing swim. There is a special area for bathers on the left bank of the reservoir, near the restaurant, which forms a balcony and viewpoint overlooking the dam. You can also go canoeing on the reservoir’s calm waters. There are several companies in the area that organise water sports activities. The abundance of fish-eating birds is the result of the variety and quantity of fish found in these waters today, which include brown trout, rainbow trout, carp, barbel, chub, gudgeon and loach. This enticing food source also attracts otters, which can often be seen entering and leaving the water on the banks of the reservoir.

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Hinojares

Hinojares


The first human settlements in Hinojares date back to the 7th and 6th centuries BC, as the remnants of the 4th century BC Iberian archaeological site of Castellones de Ceal show.

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Huesa

Huesa


Huesa is defined by the Guadiana Menor river valley, which is divided into two very different types of scenery: lush mountains and a sub-desert landscape. Few places can boast such as stunning landscape as the mountains of Sierra del Caballo (1460 m), to which this town seems to cling. The recently remodelled town centre of Huesa focuses attention on the mountain views that almost seem to be within reach from the main square.

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El Hornico Botanical Garden

El Hornico Botanical Garden


Diversity and contrasting landscapes are the main characteristics of the south end of the Nature Reserve and this is particularly noticeable in the composition and structure of the plant formations that cover the territory. A short, pleasant stroll around the El Hornico Botanical Garden will show you the Nature Reserve’s forest ecosystems and the plants they are made of, from the sub-desert esparto grass badlands in the Guadiana Menor river to the alpine broom and pinewoods in the mountains, including the forests found throughout the area. At the Botanical Garden you can go from the lowlands to the highest summits in a few minutes and with little effort.

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Picos del Guadiana

Picos del Guadiana


The Lower Guadiana Valley contains striking geological formations caused by slow and relentless erosion. One interesting site of great geomorphological interest has been proposed as a natural monument: the Picos del Guadiana. This is a limestone outcrop where the vertically-arranged rock strata emerge from a cone of soft clay, forming a rock profile resembling the teeth of a saw. The more imaginative among us say that it is a fossil from a colossal dinosaur which died next to the river, without paying much attention to the fact that this river did not exist during the Jurassic period and that dinosaurs, although certainly enormous, did not grow quite that big.

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Pozo Alcón

Pozo Alcón


Pozo Alcón is the link between the provinces of Granada and Jaén, between the Guadiana Menor river valley and the heart of the Nature Reserve, and between the highest peaks and forests and the source of the Guadalquivir river. Pozo Alcón is a regional point of reference as the place that centralises certain services, and therefore it is one of the most important towns in this sparsely populated territory.

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Puerto de Tíscar

Puerto de Tíscar


Puerto de Tíscar, or the Tíscar Pass, is not merely a mountainous obstacle you must traverse on your way to visiting the church of Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Tíscar, the historical patron of the Settlement of Cazorla and one of the most iconic religious symbols in these mountains; it is a rugged landscape feature, with spectacular views and an excellent place to observe Spanish ibex: in short, a spot of major historical and natural significance. Leaving your vehicle in the car park at the pass itself, take a short stroll around the Atalaya del Infante Don Enrique, a medieval watchtower dating back to the 14th century which boasts spectacular and absolutely unmissable views.

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Río Guazalamanco

Río Guazalamanco


The Guazalamanco is a mountain river, whose turbulent, oxygen- and ice-crystal-filled waters flow all the year round. Every corner of this tranquil spot will invite you to rest your senses and remain still and silent, as though you were able to become one with the natural world around you and return to your origins. If you happen to leave your camera in the car, when you come across this river you will be compelled to hurry back and retrieve it in order to start snapping images of this gorgeous spot.

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Tíscar: the Water Cave

Tíscar: the Water Cave


If you have already visited Covadonga in Asturias and later come across this remarkable spot at the other end of the country, you will be amazed at the visual, mystical and historical parallels between Tíscar and the cave in the Cangas Valley, where it is said that Don Pelayo began the "Reconquest" against the Moors and which was known, in times past, as the Cueva Dominica. There are some who consider this breathtaking corner of southern Spain to be Andalusia’s Covadonga, as, according to tradition, the Virgin of Tíscar appeared at this spot. Her image has been worshipped here since the fall of the Moorish fortress in the 14th century. The structure built to house the shrine is less spectacular than its Asturian counterpart, but the cave itself simply has to be seen to be believed.

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