River Hozgarganta Walk
This riverside walk takes you alongside the River Hozgarganta outside the village of Jimea de la Frontera.
● Length: 2.8km
● Estimated time: 1 hour
● Difficulty: low
● Details of the route: Slightly stony / rocky path. Much of the path is not shaded. No special authorisation needed.
● Recommendations: Bring bottled water and appropriate footwear.
Getting to the Start
Start at Plaza de la Constitución. Take Calle Vaca, then turn left onto Callejón de la Vaca. Follow this street until it becomes Calle Pasada de Alcala. On the corner of the second-to-last right-hand turn before the bridge over the river, there is a brown route sign, as well as a bigger green sign, indicating the river hiking route.
Shortly after beginning the walk, just as you see the river to your left, you’ll notice on your right the rustic yet pretty Casa Rural El Estanque y El Almendro, which offers accommodation in the former Royal Artillery Factory of Carlos III. This is interesting and relaxing place to stay, and is well situated just five minutes’ walk from the main part of the village.
From this point on, the remains of the water management channel which supplied the factory become gradually more obvious. The stone channels reach up to ground level of the walking/hiking path, but have a reasonable depth, so be careful if you step over them to look along the network or the adjacent river. Part of the reason this channel was constructed was to ensure that the factory always had enough water to be powered, and for the munitions made there to be transported, since the water level of the river is seasonal.
The river Hozgarganta route bends around the hill of San Cristóbal, on top of which sits the castle of Jimena. At certain parts of the walk you can see the ruins of the Baño de la Reina Mora (The Bath of Queen Mora), if you look up to the right. On the other side, across the river you will see small patches of farmland occupied by herds of goats.
The vicinity of the river, with its naturally fertile land, is an ideal place for a wide variety of plant species, including abundant oleanders. Further away from the riverbed, you can see eucalyptus, carob, olive, cork and gall oak trees, which offer shade, perfect when walking this route during the warmer months.
After a long bend in the path, the Molino de Las Peñas should be visible, and beyond that a spot called Huerto Clemente. Eventually you will reach a point where the path diverges into two, just before the ruins of an old building. One of the paths is referred to as La Encubierta (the Covered Part), as the trees at the side of the river here stand tall and cast long shadows across the path. This is a picturesque and serene spot to stop for a drink and bite to eat, and rest a while before continuing the walk. The second path carries straight on and leads you directly past the ruins of the old building; slightly elevated, it gives a pleasant view of the path below and the riverbed off to the side.
Towards the end, the path begins to move away from the river and passes through the forest below the castle (and subsequently the village). You will soon come across a farm on the left with a modern house to the right. Pass through the gate ahead and you will walk past a house on the right called El Manantial (the Spring). At this point the path divides - in order to get back to the village quickly, take the path to the right which rises up sharply, which should take about 15 minutes.
On your way you should find a fountain usually with water (it sometimes runs dry) and a place to relax before the final ascent. Then head left up the Camino Encubierta until it becomes the road and leads you out onto Plaza del Puerto Morán. Here you can walk onto Calle Sevilla which will lead you back through the centre of the village to your starting point at Plaza de la Constitución.