Over three days we hiked two stunning trails in Andulasia, the experience a study in contrasts. For those who assume that hiking in Andalusia is limited to high altitude mountaineering on the Sierra Nevada range, we offer two alternatives.
From the desert heat and dry trails of the Gorafe National Park, to the vast rock walls and thickly forested tracks on Cerro Jabalcon, here are two local gems.
Driving towards the Gorafe National Park, most people will do a double take, assuming they’ve suddenly been transported to Utah or Nevada. This wondrous and fragile environment is a treasure to behold, its trails perfect for hiking, trail running, and mountain or gravel biking. The landscape is a true wonder, with the colours of the rock shifting from off-white to pale yellow, gold, orange and streaks of magenta and red.
Midway along the trail, on a spectacular viewpoint, we elected to cook dinner in the wild. The menu was part inspired by the landscape reminding us of the Southern US, mixed with local specialities from Andalucia, hence the southern style grits with Jamon, smoked paprika and mature sheep cheese.
The trail is incredibly easy to follow, with parallel yellow and white stripes marked on posts at every trail junction. If you take the wrong turn, the yellow and white stripes form a cross.
After two days of trekking, almost alone amongst arroyos, ridges and wind carved faces, we decided a change of pace, terrain and landscape was in order. In the desert we had spotted the imposing facade of Cerro Jabalcon and agreed we had to hike its ridgeline.
The next morning we were parked on the edge of the Negratin Reservoir, its cobalt blue waters looking very inviting. For a brief second, two of our group pondered swapping hiking for swimming, but the lure of a summit dinner called stronger, so we shouldered our packs and zig zagged our way upwards along trails, redolent with pine sap and wild herbs.
On the summit, we could take in a magnificent vista, the whole of the surrounding landscape tinged with shades of grey and pale blue as the approaching storm rolled towards us. We wanted to bivouac underneath the stars, but with with streaks of lightning rippling through the cloud base, we decided to descend, our dinner still inside our packs.
Having found a nearby cave hotel for the night, the following morning found the heavens swept clean. The skies were the palest blue and the ground practically steamed in the early morning heat. Last night's dinner became today's brunch; an Andalusian dish of dried peppers, tomatoes and onions, served with a simple flatbread.
Check out the hikes and recipes to recreate these delicious camp meals in this Collection, and enjoy!