El Picacho

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The Alcornocales Natural Park covers a massive area north of Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar to Ubrique on the southern boundary of the Grazalema Natural Park. It is the largest remaining cork oak forest in Spain and contains the remnants of the ancient sub-tropical forest that once covered most of southern Europe. Species of rhododendron and laurels still survive in the deep gorges and the area is home to abundant wildlife that supports a thriving community of large raptors; griffon vultures, golden eagles and buzzards.

This route takes you up to el Picacho, the distinctive conical-shaped peak that can be seen from all over the western side of the Alcornocales Natural Park. The walk though fairly short, climbs rapidly, gaining over 500m from start to summit; the views throughout are well worth the effort. Halfway up the southern face of the mountain there is a colony of griffon vultures, so keep an eye out for these great birds soaring in the midday thermals.

The walk is in several parts: start by skirting a small lake and proceed via rhododendron-filled valleys and cork oak and pine forests, then climb up a steep shoulder to emerge on the summit ridge of el Picacho. The final 150m cone is short and very steep but not too difficult and the summit (about the size of a tennis-court) is well worth the effort, with 360-degree panoramic views of the whole area.

Spain - Andalucia - Cadiz - Alcornocales

Features

Birds, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Wildlife, Woodland