Garganta Verde

Garganta Verde

Route: La Garganta Verde

Area: Andalucia, Spain

Date of walk: 11th May 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly 

Distance: 3.7 miles

Ascent: 1,100 feet

Weather: Sunny

Today’s walk had been at the top of our wish list on this short walking holiday in Spain. The Garganta Verde (‘Green Gorge’) was gouged out of the limestone and dolomite of the mountains by the river which runs through it, and now plunges to 1,200 feet at its deepest point. The gorge is in a protected area and a permit must be obtained before undertaking the walk. We’d obtained ours from the tourist information office in Grazalema a couple of days ago

Full of anticipation we set off from the car park just beyond the ancient village of Zahara. We passed through a gate and followed a path which contours at high level around the northern flank of the gorge. A short there and back detour took us to a mirador from which there is a spectacular view

We carried on along the exciting path, passing close to the home of a colony of griffon vultures – we’d have many sightings of this huge bird during the course of the walk. Eventually the path started to descend to the floor of the gorge itself, and it was a very steep descent indeed, assisted by metal railings along the steepest sections. When we reached the bottom we had to clamber over some huge boulders to make further progress, but it was worth the effort as the surroundings became increasingly awesome with each step forward

After a few hundred yards we arrived at a large boulder which signifies the end of the route as far as ordinary walkers are concerned. With specialist equipment it’s possible to abseil down a series of waterfalls which lie beyond. From this point we retraced our steps back to the start, giving us the opportunity to gape at the incredible scenery once more

Navigation along the way was easy, the path is very clear, and any deviation from it would provide a fast but fatal way to the valley floor. Despite this there are no vertigo issues. Although the walk is only 3.7 miles it feels much further than that and we found it to be quite tough going, partly on account of the intense heat. We had no regrets though – it had been one of the most memorable walks of our lives

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