The Ruta del Gollizno is an example of one of the many fantastic walking routes that you can find in the vast province of Andalucia, Spain.
Moclín is a small, typical Spanish hillside village only 50 minutes drive from the city of Granada. We parked right in the centre of the town in plaza Espana, popped into Bar la Plaza for a cafe con leche and then went next door to the Coviran mini-market to pick up a few supplies before heading off on the walk. The Ruta Del Gollizno is well signposted from the plaza as PR-A84. The varied and interesting ruta is a 10.5km circular walk providing spectacular views, allowing you to explore both the stunning landscape and intriguing history of the area.
Following the ruta signs we headed out of the village, down a steep track past the Cortijo el Higueral. The track continues down hill to a mirador, a great place to admire the view of the valley and the distant snow capped Sierra Nevada.
Continue your descent, a little further is the ‘Ermita de las Angustias’ balanced on the edge of the path, worth a peek through the open bars of the windows inside to marvel at the tiny chapel’s interior. Wind downhill until you see a recreation area with lots of picnic tables. The toilets here were completely vandalised when we visited (March 2017), there was also no shade for a picnic so we moved on to find a better spot.
The town at the bottom of the hill is Olivares, although you will pass a few houses along the path do not need to enter the town. Of course, if you are running low on supplies, or want to look around it is quite easy to do this and pick the route up afterwards. If, like us, 10km is enough, skip the town and take a left turn, where you will pass under an archway of a riverside building. The path will level out and the gorge (Tajos de la Hoz) will tower above you on either side. Opposite an old power station building is a small bridge, climb the steps to cross the bridge to a peaceful tree-lined up hill section of path, with benches for a rest. Continue to a small spring ‘Fuente de la Buena Ventura’, which, we were advised by a local not to drink from. The next point of interest is one of the highlights of the route, the Colgante bridge. A bouncy, wobbly bridge across the river, towards a huge cave mouth. The path now clings to the edge of the gorge, brilliant!
What goes down, must come back up again (It’s a circular walk back to Moclín) so now begins the climb, the steep climb back up the hill. Zig zag up the hill to another mirador and again you will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area. The next area is fuente de Corcuela, the water literally comes out of the rock across the path into a spiral pattern carved on the ground, there are much nicer picnic tables here which afford some shelter from the sun. You will also find an information board with a map of the locations of the nearby caves which contain the Neolithic cave paintings of Corcuela.
Again the path climbs up into the pine trees for a welcome bit of shade, you will catch glimpses of the Arab fortress, you are now approaching Moclin. At the top of the path you will find another Chapel, the ‘Ermita de San Anton’. Stand beside the Ermita to catch your breath after the climb and take in the views. There is a very handily located drinking water tap close to the Ermita. You can head up into the higher part of town to see the church and Nastrid fortress or wind your way back down through the narrow streets back to the plaza bar sit on the terrace for a well earned drink and a generous fried fish tapas, a popular place with walkers.
This fantastic circular is 10.5kms, with the loose path on the way down and the steep path on the way back up I would describe this route as moderately difficult. After about 6kms both our boys needed carrying which added to the difficulty but definitely reduced the whinge-factor! The beauty of this walk is the varied landscape and the awesome views, but the highlight is definitely the gorge and the suspension bridge!
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