Sendero El Saltillo
The cherry on the hiking cake called Andalusia is the Sendero el Saltillo. Here you will get maximum results with minimal effort—this hike with spectacular views, picturesque waterfalls, a little danger and a touch of romance. Moreover, the route is short and relatively easy. Do note the use of the word ‘relatively’. More about that later.
Axarquia region, east of Malaga
The best part of this 8-kilometre long hike leads through a national park named after the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama mountain range. The peaks of these mountains form the natural border between the provinces of Malaga and Granada. The Tejeda and Almijara Mountains are located on the Malaga side, in the heart of the Axarquia region. The Maroma peaks at 2,065 meters, the highest mountain in the province of Malaga.
Canillas de Aceituno, a white village, one of the so-called pueblos blancos, which are so characteristic of the south of Spain, is the starting point. The trail ends at the waterfalls of the Rio del Almanchares.
- length 3.4 kilometer.
- height difference 250 meter
A beautiful mountain hike
Some call this sendero the Caminito del Rey of the Axarquia’. A poetic license as far as I am concerned. Yes, there are similarities: both have sweeping views. And you probably should avoid both paths if you suffer from fear of heights, as they both trail along a steep abyss.
The Caminito, formerly, before making the trail tourist-proof through meter-high fences and widening the path, was a potentially deadly route. Now you are obliged to buy an entrance ticket, wear a helmet, and only enter during opening hours.
Access to the Sendero el Saltillo is still free. Moreover, the crumbling path is only a few dozen centimetres wide in some parts of the trail. There are no gates, and it is not fenced off. That is why I would not take small children with me on this sendero. But if you have nerves of steel or little attachment to your offspring, then go ahead, take them.
Description of the El Saltillo route
The route starts in the village of Canillas de Aceituno on Avenida Andalucia, at a square where the restaurant La Maroma Asador is located. At the end of the square, take the stairs leading up the village. Keep right and keep going up. This is a steep climb. At the top of the town, you see another wide stone staircase. Just before the end, take the trail on the right. If you see or smell a goat farm on your left, you are too far up. At the start of the trail are olive trees. After a few hundred meters, there is a concrete aqueduct. A pipeline or a small canal will be with you on most of the route.
The first part of the hike overlooks the valley, Canillas de Aceituno and the surrounding mountains. After approximately three kilometres, the majestic Maroma appears, followed by a suspension bridge. After about 500 meters is the endpoint: a canyon and a series of waterfalls over the steep rocks fed by the Rio Almanchares. By now, you will have walked nearly four kilometres. The stones are an excellent spot to have a picnic or just a rest around the water pools before you head back, following the same route.
The starting point is difficult to find, but once you are on the path, it is as good as impossible to get lost because there are no other trails on this route.
- Park on the small square near the restaurant La Maroma Asador. On Friday mornings, a market takes place. In that case, drive to the edge of the village, towards Malaga (MA125), is a parking garage. Here you can park for free. It is a few hundred meters from the parking garage to the starting point.
- If you have Wikiloc, search for Sendero el Saltillo. The description is in Spanish.
- On hot days, bring plenty of water.
- Try to avoid weekends and holidays if you can, because it can get crowded on the path.
- Another beautiful walk in the region is the ‘Puente Arabe’.
- We have picnicked near the river, but according to one of the readers of this blog, three restaurants in the village are excellent, look out for La Sociedad, La Maroma or Bodega de Juan Mari.
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