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Jaén province

Jaén province

Close to the Andalucia-La Mancha border and the Despeñaperros Natural Park are a series of magnificent waterfalls (cascadas), making a total protected area of 534ha. On the Guarrizas river, the waterfalls spill over an impressive, sheer wall of quartzite rock, 50m tall at its highest point of Cascada de la Cimbarra.

The Alto Guadalquivir Natural Area comprises three reservoirs (embalses) covering 663ha, which are situated along the upper reaches of the Guadalquivir river. To the east is the largest one, the Embalse de Puente La Cerrada, in the middle is the Embalse de Doña Aldonza and to the west is the smallest reservoir, the Embalse de Pedro Martín.

This is one of two sites in Andalucia with dinosaur prints. The 24 prints cover an area of sandstone only 20m² on a site near Santisteban del Puerto, northeast of Úbeda. They date from the Late Triassic period over 230 million years ago, but the prints are still a mystery since scientists have been unable to identify the species of dinosaur that made the prints.

El Piélago Natural Monument consists of a Roman bridge, the Puente de Vadollano, which spans the Guarrizas river and its granite rock formations. The river has two impressive waterfalls.

Los Órganos Natural Monument is located within the Despeñaperros Natural Park very close to the Andalucia-La Mancha border. It is a spectacular geological feature, with massive layers of vertical strata towering upwards, which give it an appearance like a church organ, hence the name.

Located on the fringes of the Sierra Mágina Natural Park, this centuries-old woodland of Aleppo pine trees (pinus halepensis) is one of the best preserved of its kind in Andalucia. The trees, aged between 100 and 250 years, are home to a rich variety of birds.

This magnificent gall oak, the Quejigo del Amo o del Carbón, is thought to be more than 500 years old. Its name (del Carbón) reflects a common use of gall oaks, to make their wood into charcoal.

Located near the Laguna del Chinche Natural Reserve is the 65ha saltwater Laguna Honda, with an additional 220ha area around the lake shores. It usually dries up in summer, so it's best to visit it at other times of the year.

Access
The reserve is located about 48km southwest of Jaen. Take the A316 from Jaen towards Martos. At the village of Alcaudete take the N432 towards Cordoba. A few kilometres out of the village, just north of the N432, is the reserve.

Situated just to the north of the Laguna Honda Natural Reserve is this small lake, the 6.5ha Laguna del Chinche, surrounded by olive groves, with an additional 39ha of protected area around the lake. Like Laguna Grande Natural Area and Laguna Honda, it is under protection because of the relative scarcity of wetland areas in Jaen province.