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La Almunia del Valle es un Boutique Hotel situado en Granada, cerca de la Alhambra y Granada

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Almunia del Valle
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INICIO WHAT TO DO? Sierra Nevada in Autumn
Sierra Nevada in Autumn

Los Cahorros: the valley of the climbers

Belén Rico

The spot called Los Cahorros has been remodeled in recent years: the suspension bridge was reformed to make it safer, three others were constructed and new tracks with stepped stretches were added. The area is very fashionable amongst rock climbers, who have marked out numerous upward routes in the steep rock faces of the River Monachil gorge, where it is common to see them perform acrobatic feats.


- Route: From the Portachuelos plots, crossing Los Cahorros until reaching the spot called Las Azuelas, returning along the area of the Cortijo del Cerrillo.

- Duration: On average it takes about two hours to cover the 5 kilometers that makes up the route. 
- Environmental Value: The trip runs through the Sierra Nevada Natural Park, right on the border of the National Park. 
- Points of Interest: One of the most typical features of this route is the suspension bridge of Los Cahorros, 63 meters in length, and a cave known as the Túnel de las Palomas (“Tunnel of Pigeons”).

 The River Monachil canyon has, for a very long time, been one of the greatest tourist attractions of this municipal area. Before forming part of the Sierra Nevada Natural Park and the Sierra Nevada National Park – on what would adventure sports be fashioned – this gorge, which is an area very much frequented by rock climbers and hill walkers, was one of the most chosen places to spend a day in the country in. The long suspension bridge of Los Cahorros, is probably, together with the spots known as the Cumbres Verdes (“Green Summits”) and La Silla del Moro (“Moor’s Chair”), one of the vignettes most associated with the traditional excursions of Granada. Crossing this bridge, the traveler continues the outing by following a route that allows him to enjoy the spectacular vertical cliffs, the narrow stone steps and the rich ecology of the surroundings. 

Los Cahorros register maximum influx levels in spring, as is pointed out by the Monachil Tourism councilman, Daniel Serrano. The low temperatures of these days can dissuade many excursionists from undertaking a river walk. Those who are not daunted can enjoy greater tranquility and some marvelous views, which, OK, are less green but have the added benefit of ice stalactites near the water of the river and snowy suspension bridges. 

One can reach Los Cahorros by going through the town of Monachil, a municipal area some 8 kilometers from the capital. Following the left bank of the river one reaches the area of Los Cahorros Bajos (“The Lower Cahorros”) after passing the Central Eléctrica de Tranvías (“Tram Power Station”). Three years ago this spot underwent works: three suspension bridges were added and new paths with stared stretches were laid down, which will surprise those who have not visited the area for some time.

The traveler aims to cross Monachil, traverse the river and take the road that leads to El Purche. Some fifty meters from the bar called El Puntarrón there is a lane on the right which signposts the entrance to Los Cahorros. It is advisable to leave one’s car here in the Portachuelos plots, an area now used as a viewpoint, and to continue walking along the aforementioned path, which goes through an area of farmsteads with a wide variety of crops and fruit trees.

Reaching the end of this path, along which one will find Ayuntamiento de Monachil (“Monachil Town Council”) signs requesting that visitors respect the conservation of the environment, one takes a narrower path which stems off to the right of this one and leads to two plots known as Los Renegreales. Along the way there are signposts pointing out the direction to be followed to reach Los Cahorros, the Bajos (“Lower”) ones as much as the Altos (“Upper”). Matías Cuesta, of the National Mountain team and technical director of the adventure sports company Auster Outdoor, which organizes routes around the area, advises heading for Los Cahorros Altos, because of its spectacular views of the Bajos.

After stopping at one of the plots to contemplate the gorge or the man oeuvres of the climbers who frequently defy it, one keeps on going until reaching the most typical, longest and oldest suspension bridge of Los Cahorros; 63 meters in length and a hundred years old. Having been reformed in recent years the bridge has lost its traditional sway but has gained in safety.

After crossing it, the walker continues along the gorge, along the left bank of the river. The narrowness of the way forces visitors, depending on their degree of agility, to crouch down or to crawl along certain stretches. Built upon a water pipe, it goes through the Túnel de las Palomas, which unites the two walls of the gorge forming a natural cave with various climbing routes.

The last bridge is in the spot known as the Azuelas, which is where the gorge opens out. Crossing this bridge one reaches a path along which one can return to Los Renegreales plots through the area of the Cortijo del Cerrillo, or one might head towards the Portachuelos plots by going along the Solana way, a route along which one can, from the heights, contemplate the course of the river beside which one has just walked. 


Important for the Landscape and the Vegetation

The spot known as Los Cahorros in a middle mountain area of limestone materials, which are younger than the siliceous materials of the high summits, gives rise to more abrupt formations but ones that are subject to erosion. The biologist Dori Domínguez explains that, due to the scarcity of its soil, human intervention and its altitude, the V-shaped valley of the River Monachil has given rise to a vegetation of shrubs that thrive alongside the riverbed plants such as the willow, poplars, rushes and esparto fields. This determines the rich fauna of insectivorous and grain eating wildfowl, amphibians and mammals such as the wild boar and colonies of Spanish ibex.

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1A. From Malaga airport take A92 to Granada, 7 miles before arriving to Granada, exit Santa Fe-Granada towards Granada-Sierra Nevada beltway.

1B. From Granada airport take the BELTWAY.
2. From the beltway take EXIT NBR 132: Ronda Sur - Alhambra – Sierra Nevada.
3. At Ronda Sur, take the EXIT NBR 2: Monachil, A4028 road, which continues on GR3202.

4. Follow the signs to MONACHIL CASCO ANTIGUO (town), GR3202 road, you will pass by a residential area (Barrio de Monachil), pay attention and don't leave the road, there is a sharp curve to the left that leads to confusion, don't go right, that is the Barrio. You will arrive to the town at km 5,200 of this road.
5. Upon arrival to the town, Monachil Casco Antiguo, follow the signs to La Almunia del Valle, you have to go to your right at the end of the town; the river goes to your left. We are less than 1 mile away from the town in CAMINO DE LA UMBRIA. Warning: it’s a narrow mountain road (it’s asphalted, not a dirt road.) At the access there are wooden signs indicating La Almunia del Valle.

GPS COORDINATES: 3º  32'  0004''           WEST - 37º  7'  3386'' NORTH

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