FÉLIX RODRÍGUEZ DE LA FUENTE VIEWING POINTS ROUTE

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FÉLIX RODRÍGUEZ DE LA FUENTE VIEWING POINTS ROUTE
Length of route: 15.2 km
Duration (outward leg): 4 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty level: Medium

This route starts at the bridge over the Cerrada de Utrero.  Close by you will find the “START” sign indicating the beginning of the route, which also explains that you will be travelling along a forest track towards the Campos de Hernán Perea. The route is also open to vehicular traffic, so take care when travelling on foot.


Throughout the journey a number of different viewing points will help you find out more about the landscape and delight you with the views to be found in these mountains. The most outstanding points along this route include the Cerrada de Utrero y Linarejos, where the River Guadalquivir has carved out a deep gorge; Poyos de la Mesa, a remarkable geological formation that is notable for its dramatic rocky outcrops; Nava de San Pedro, a karstic plateau ringed by mountains; the Guadalentín valley, which conducts the waters of its namesake river into La Bolera reservoir; and Estrecho de los Perales, a pronounced gorge where rocks dominate the landscape.

You will also pass close to the colossal stone ledges of Carilarga, which was home to the last native bearded vulture in Andalusia. This bird of prey has now returned to the skies above the natural park thanks to the efforts of a reintroduction programme.

The route begins at the LINAREJOS VIEWING POINT, where you will be treated to a superb panoramic view over a large part of the mountains that make up the natural park, such as the Cazorla mountain range. The great naturalist, who loved these landscapes, filmed countless scenes very near to this spot.

During the winter months you can hear the sound of water rushing over the nearby waterfall at Linarejos stream. In addition to the Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente Viewing Points route, close at hand there are a number of other, equally interesting routes that will give you a more intimate knowledge of this magnificent natural park, such as the Cerrada de Utrero and the Linarejos Viewing Point route.

The second VIEWING POINT on this route is at POYOS DE LA MESA, which offers one of the most spectacular panoramas in the park: the meseta, or tableland, of Poyos de la Mesa, which soars to an altitude of 1,635 metres. If you decide to visit the top of the meseta you will be rewarded with impressive views of the Guadalquivir valley, Vadillo-Castril and the parador (a historic, state-owned hotel) known as El Adelantado. Poyos de la Mesa is a high plateau with slopes that fall abruptly away, a magnificent example of a singular geological formation that is very common in these mountains. Amongst the pine trees you will see here is the Pino Abuelo or Grandfather Pine, one of the oldest specimens of its type to be found in the area.
Coordinates: 37.906835,-2.913155

The third VIEWING POINT on this route is at NAVA DE SAN PEDRO, where the meadows were turned into orchards and cultivated fields. This was done at a time when wood was one of the main resources of the mountains, and where in the few open spaces that existed the inhabitants of the area raised livestock and grew crops. On many occasions it was the rangers themselves who built the forest houses in suitable areas such as this, where the orchard and a few animals served to supplement their diet (and income). At this viewing point you will be able to take in the impressive views and also find out about the return of the bearded vulture to Andalusia: the landscape you are holidaying in was once the last refuge in this region for a bird that is as spectacular as it is enigmatic: the bearded vulture. This Iberian vulture vanished from these mountains in the late 1980s, which marked its total extinction in Andalusia.

However, a short while later efforts began on a programme to reintroduce the bearded vulture to the region, sponsored by the Environment Ministry. The most striking feature of this species relates to its scavenging habits, as it is the only bird in the world that feeds almost exclusively on bones. To do so, it has developed an ingenious technique that has given the bird its Spanish name: quebrantahuesos, or "bone-breaker", as it drops bones from a great height so that they break open when they hit the breaking areas or rompederos on the ground. This allows the bearded vulture to consume bones that are both large and tough. Although it is a harmless animal, all the threats to this bird arise from humans and human activities: their numbers were reduced in these areas owing to direct hunting, collecting of their eggs, collision with power lines and the illegal use of poisoned bait.

Today they continue to be at risk from the disturbances to their nests arising from nearby recreational activities, such as mountain-climbing and paragliding, and as a result of the reduced availability of food and the impact of extensive livestock farming.

To make the bearded vulture’s return to Andalusia a reality feasibility studies were carried out and studies were conducted into the best places to home them, while a captive-breeding plan guaranteed the availability of chicks for reintroduction. The programme also involved a release and monitoring plan for the birds and a social-sensitisation strategy designed to raise awareness of the situation amongst the sectors involved in the bird’s conservation.

We have named the fourth location the BARRANCO DEL GUADALENTÍN VIEWING POINT, and it is from here that you can clearly observe the route taken by the river on its way to the nearby La Bolera reservoir. Over the centuries, the Guadalentín carved out an impressive valley in the solid rock that later became a series of remote waterways known as cerradas by the local inhabitants. From here the Pozo mountains rise majestically above the land: this range boasts some of the highest peaks to be found in the park, such as Cabañas, which soars to over 2,000 metres amidst a predominantly mountainous landscape. At the foot of the viewing point is the Félix Rodriguez de la Fuente Viewing Points route, a magnificent route which ascends without interruption until it reaches its end at the Estrecho de los Perales.

 

ESTRECHO DE LOS PERALES VIEWING POINT, the fifth on the route, is a unique gorge that stands out as a result of its fascinating rock formations. At its bottom, the Valdetrillos stream rushes through a series of energetic rapids, adding its exuberant soundtrack to the landscape. Here it is easy to observe how the agile mouflon and spritely Spanish ibex make their way across the vertical rock faces, and you may even be treated to the majestic sight of golden eagles, booted eagles and griffon vultures soaring high above. Behind this viewing point you will find the Cerro de los Trancos, which offers views of the park’s highest peaks (such as Cabañas).

“We have to do everything we can while we are still able, we have to fight together, united and tenacious, to prevent the death of a rock that is round, immense, a rock with a heart of iron and basalt, a rock with a skin of water and clouds, a rock whose voice is birdsong and the murmur of the breeze and which is becoming too strongly intermixed with the roar of machinery invented by man; a rock that travels through space crewed by humankind and by all the animals alive; a rock that I like to call the blue planet.”

Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente in El Hombre y la Tierra.

 

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New brochure of the Route Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente and Route Viewpoints Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente



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