Friday, 26 November 2010
The Sierra De Huetor national park which lies to the north of the Sierra Nevada about 15 minutes east of Granada.
To get there take the autovia from Granada toward Almeria and come off at junction 259, clearly signed for the national park. From the junction follow the road on the north side of the autovia and turn right to park at Casa Forestal de Penoncillas. The walk starts on the east side of the access track at an information board and way marker. To be honest for most of the walk a description would be superfluous. The route is well marked and follows a clear path winding and climbing slowly through a ‘Karst’ limestone landscape. Whilst initially we walk though forest the habitat quickly opens up to a more open Mediterranean scrub or maquie. The non native pine forest in the area is slowly being cleared to extend the important native habitat of shrubs and scrubby oaks.
After about an hour the path reaches a magnificent natural mirador and the highest point of the main walk. This spot gives great views north to the rocky summit of Pennon the Mata. Also clear is the fire spotter’s cabin on the summit of Las Minas to the north. The path now re enters a more dense forest before dropping left at a way marker to zig zag down into a shallow valley before reaching a broad forest track. At the track turn left to reach a sign post. To the right Mirador de los Minas is signed and is well worth the short, though steeper detour with its 360 views of the whole of the area.
The main route, signed for Puerto Lobo drops left from the sign post. The next section is a delight as the path drops down through a classic piece of limestone landscape, a dry river valley. The valley is well used by both domestic and wild goats so is a bit muddy in wet weather. The foot of the valley is marked by a rock pinnacle, El Pulpito. Follow the path back through forest and turn left at a junction to soon reach another forest track. Heading down hill though a sided steep valley brings us to Fuente de la Teja, a main source for water used in the Alhambra gardens.
At the next junction continue straight along the main track to begin a final slow climb back up to the finish of the walk.
I did this walk at the end of November on a cloudy damp day, the forest sections gave some shelter and would also provide shade in summer. Whilst the walk is good at any time of year Spring would bring wildflowers and would perhaps be the best time of year to do the route.
Water at Fuente de la Teja (3 hours)