Walking in the Los Cahorros gorge is absolutely fantastic, the walks here are so varied and interesting there is enough here to fascinate even the most reluctant of walkers. The gorge has a network of tunnels, suspension bridges, steps and waterfalls with walks suitable for all ages and abilities. Only 8km from the city of Granada it is must visit; an essential day trip to hike, walk or wander and marvel at this natural wonder and spectacular landscape.
Los Cahorros gorge is near to the village of Monachil, in the Granada Province of Andalucia, a picturesque mountain village which feels a million miles away from the nearby busy city of Granada.
On your drive from Granada to Monachil you may want to stop at the road side vendors and pick up the most amazing fresh produce; onions, asparagus, artichokes and beans (April). There are accommodation options and a variety of places to eat in and around Monachil, but we found it easier to take a picnic for a day walk, as once you are through the gorge there is only the hills, the river and the captivating landscape.
Los Cahorros is well signposted, drive through Monachil, only two kms from this mountain village is a car park situated 50 metres past the restaurant El Puntarron on your right. The car park can get very full and parking is also permitted on the road. Follow the track down from the car park, step over a stream which crosses the track and continue past a café then a kiosk (which may or may not be open) continue until you see a large wooden signpost for the low bridges or higher bridges.
The first higher suspension bridge is superb and the longest bridge at Los Cahorros Altos, only four are allowed to enter at any one time. After you cross the bridge you are now in the high sided gorge, popular with rock climbers. This exciting path will now have you ducking, crouching, holding on to metal handles embedded into the rock, and even crawling at one point. The path alongside the river through the gorge is a single file narrow path, the only way in and out but there are a few passing places to squeeze past each other if anyone happens to be walking the path the other way! The boys absolutely loved the drama of the suspension bridge and the twists and turns of the gorge path, it was totally their highlight and the variety kept them challenged and most importantly entertained! In fact the walk was more traumatic for us, as Chaos was so intrigued with what was around the next corner he was racing ahead along the narrow gorge path. Mayhem was in the carrier the first time we visited but the second time he insisted on walking and a couple of times when the path was busy we had to hand him to fellow walkers to pass people and make it up onto the narrow wall-like walkway!
Eventually the narrow path opens up and you can take a moment to enjoy the gorge and the beautiful views of the surrounding hills.
We have seen plenty of visitors to Los Cahorros picnic here and then head back the same way they came, through the gorge path. If you want to explore further there are various options; we have tried two routes back to Monachil:
Continue until you arrive at a smaller suspension bridge on your left, cross this for a good shaded picnic spot.
From here you can take the path to the left and head back to Monachil. The wide stony path snakes upwards to a makeshift gate (which looks like a fence) as you climb higher you get amazing views of the gorge.
The path descends briefly until you will see a wooden signpost. Here look carefully for a narrow track opposite (not signposted). Continue onto this track, as you walk this narrow track you will see a ruin ahead. The track will eventually take you below the ruin for more superb views of the gorge below.
Follow the track which climbs then descends again. If you have parked in the Puntarron car park you may be able to see your car, you will follow the track until it joins the road. Another wooden signpost marks the spot where the track meets the road. Follow the road past some houses and back to the car park (Approx 5km)
Alternatively, if you want a longer walk, do not cross over the smaller suspension bridge, continue to walk away from Monachil until you see a waterfall on your left. Now turn back towards Monachil by crossing a small bridge. The path then leads up hill and has rope rails and continues up to a makeshift gate.
The path will eventually descend to a wooden signpost. Turn right at the signpost and follow the path up hill. At the top you will see an orchard and the path will descend until you meet the road, follow the road back to the car park (Approx 8km).
At the end of the walk, to quench our thirst we popped into the Puntarron restaurant. Huge plates of rustic food were passing our noses which looked great….but then there it was, could it be true? Ale. Not cerveza, Ale in Spain? I had to try some. I don’t think I imagined this after a long hot walk, but the Ale was amazing. Made with water from the Sierra Nevada and brewed locally in Monachil.
Los Cahorros is a great area to explore, relatively unknown and until recently used more by climbers. However, it is gaining in popularity; if you go on a weekend or a holiday expect to queue for the large suspension bridge. On our first trip here, a bank holiday Monday, we had an hours wait to cross the bridge!
The second visit, no wait at all. However busy the bridge may be, once through the gorge path and up into the hills, you rarely see anyone. Do remember to take plenty of food and water with you on this walk as once you are through the gorge there is nowhere to go get supplies and the worst thing you can do on a walk with children is run out of food and drink! Oh and suncream, whereas it’s relatively sheltered in the gorge, it is probably best to avoid a longer walk in Los Cahorros during the sweltering Spanish summer. There are also points in the gorge walk where you have to bend, crawl and climb down rocks so you have to be reasonably mobile and not too scared of heights! If you are visiting Granada and love the countryside, Los Cahorros ticks all the boxes for a fascinating day out.