Pinsapar – Grazalema to Benamahoma

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This is quite a long walk (12.5km) but immensely interesting, as it take you through the last of the Pinsapo (Spanish fir) forests that once covered much of the southern Mediterranean region during the last Ice Age. Reduced to less than a hundred hectares at one time, this ancient environment was almost lost but is now the subject of intensive conservation efforts and is gradually recovering some lost ground. Access is strictly controlled and only a limited number of people are allowed on the walk on any day. Permission must be sought before starting the walk from the park offices in El Bosque or the tourist office in Grazalema (see below). The area is closed for much of the summer due to the fire risk; it is not possible to do this walk therefore in July, August and September, but if you can make it outside these times you will be amply rewarded with a great day's walking.

The path starts from the car park on the Grazalema to Zahara de la Sierra road and quickly climbs 275m to 1280m and then contours around the northern slopes of El Pinsapar range. You are treated to fabulous views of the whole of the northern sierras, designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1984. The path goes right through the Pinsapo forest before beginning the 800m decent to Benamahoma. The majority of the descent is on forest roads and is therefore not difficult, but because of the steepness is quite tiring; there is little shade and it can be very hot.

It is easy enough to organise a taxi from one of the several inns and restaurants in Benamahoma back to the start of the walk. There are also buses from El Bosque to Grazalema that stop in the village and can drop you at the Zahara junction, where it is a short walk back to the car park.

Permission is required for the route and access is strictly controlled. The park office and visitor centre is in El Bosque, just off the small square with the water wheel by the river in Avenida de la Diputation (tel: 956-727029) open 10am to 2pm and afternoons, Friday and Saturday only. It is best to book walks a few days in advance if possible to avoid disappointment and to allow an early start on the walk day. It is also possible to get permission at tourist information offices, but only at the above times. Permission is free and you will need your passport or ID card; only one person in the party requires permission, but the party size needs to be recorded.

Spain - Andalucia - Cadiz - Grazalema

Features

Birds, Great Views, Mountains, Pub, Restaurant, Wildlife, Woodland
23/05/2015 - Peter moon

07/06/2006 - Don Jones

We have just done this walk for the second time, this time with friends. If you like to take photos then add an extra hour to the walk time, it is a magnificent and diverse walk. One little bit of information we feel essential, It is very difficult to find a bar open in Benamahoma on a Monday afternoon. Just a small disapointment we had after this lovely walk