Sierra de Alcaparain


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This is a relatively easy and absolutely stunning walk of around 7.5 km each way with ascent of around 600m. The scenery is astounding, and it is easy walking on a wide track. Looking at the crags above you from the start, it is hard to believe you will soon be on top of them, but you will be! The top point is around 1150m.

Relevant maps:

Cartografia Militar de España Serie L. Escala 1:50,000 Sheet 1037,1038,1051,1052

Mapa Topográfico Nacional de E Escala 1:25,000 Sheet 1037 4, 1038 3, 1051 2, 1052 1.

Most of the walk is on sheet 1037 /1037 1, but irritatingly the top point is right on the join of the 4 maps.

To get to the start of the walk

From the A357 take the MA443 turn to Ardales village. As you come into the village, turn right at a small fountain in front of the Museo Municipal. Continue to the end, and then follow the road left and uphill. Shortly after the road starts to go downhill again, follow it round to the left. At the T junction you will see a sign pointing right to El Burgo on the wall in front of you, turn right onto the El Burgo road, and note the reading on your Km meter. The road skirts the edge of the village and then into the hills. After 5.1 km, there is a concrete track to the left with a tile sign "Cortijo de Capellan" beside it. It is possible to drive 2 km up this track with extreme care in a car with high clearance, but with a hire car it is probably a better option to park in one of the near laybyes on the right hand side of the El Burgo road and walk from here.


The walk

Walk up the concrete track. After 200m or so, take the right fork onto the gravel track and continue another 1.7 km to a wooden signpost by a junction with a track on the left curving sharply back and uphill. If you have continued driving, this is as far as you can go, so park here.

Follow the track to the left and uphill, the sign points to "Puerto Alcaparain" and optimistically says 1.4km – it isnīt, its 5.3 km, and takes around 1 hr 45 mins. The Puerto, marked by a wooden sign, is the highest point on the track. The walk returns the same way, the descent taking around 1 hr 20 mins.

If you are confident about finding your own routes and way back, and want to explore, there are three options. We havenīt tried these yet, but as far as we can see none of them offer a circular route, so you will still need to get back to the Puerto and go down the way you came up. We would be interested to hear from anyone who knows where any of them come out.

a) The main track carries on south. We have only tried the first few km across the flattish top of the hill covered in wildflowers in Spring.

b) About 200 m before you get to the wooden sign at the Puerto, look for a couple of very small cairns marking the start of a footpath to the left. This leads into a network of paths. The best way to find the start is to look for a large white water tank on your left at a bend in the road, the cairns and path are around 90m further on. After about 200 m on the path, the left fork heads off towards the crags, and the right fork takes you to the side of the mountain with views over Carratraca village, La Huma, the lakes and Torcal. A further right fork links to a beautifully constructed stone path which you can see zigzagging down the hill towards Carratraca.

c) 3·.2 km from the bottom signpost, 2.1 from the top signpost, there is a track heading right as you face uphill. You can see it for a km or so till it tantalisingly disappears into a small col..