Walking in Cazorla

The Sierra de Cazorla or more accurately the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas are located in the autonomous region of Andalucia some 130 kilometres to the west of Murcia. The western edge of the area is close to the town of Ubeda. At nearly 210,000 hectares, it is the biggest natural wild region in Spain and was declared a Natural Park in 1989. International airports providing reasonably close access to the Park are Malaga, Murcia and Almeria.

This limestone region comprises a spectacular landscape of pine clad mountains and sheer valleys in which crystal clear streams flow. The highest point is Pico Empanada that rises to 2107 metres above sea level. There are many lakes and reservoirs and the Rivers Gualdalquivir and Segura rise there. The topography limits major road access throughout the Natural Park but there are wide tracks with quite good surfaces that cars with reasonable ground clearance could manage.  Occasionally open grassy areas or navas are encountered and these provide grazing for the ibex, red and roe deer. Wild pigs are also making a comeback after years of over hunting.       

The flora is Mediterranean with a large variety of pine trees and much Holm oak. Vegetation typically includes roesmary, thyme, cistus, llentrisca and wild lavendar. It is a bird spotter’s paradise with eagles, Grffon vultures, red kites, goshawks and peregrine falcons to name but a few.  

The main gateway town is Cazorla itself. This is a charming old town some 45 kilometers east of Ubeda and sits beside an enormous expanse of olive trees covering hundreds of square kilometers, the basis of the highly successful olive oil industry in the region. Cazorla, with its emblematic castle, provides an excellent base for a walking holiday in the Natural Park. It has all the facilities necessary including cafés, bars and restaurants and has a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets. 

Given the high summer temperatures in Andalucia, probably the best time to enjoy this wonderful Natural  Park is Spring and Autumn and perhaps early Winter. If hiking in the hot months is unavoidable, early mornings or evenings would be best.

There are nearly a dozen Walkingworld hikes available which, between them, give a good insight into the beauty and rich diversity of the Park. Since this Natural Park covers such a vast area, a base in or near Cazorla is suitable for walks numbers 3233, 3234, 3235, 5499, 9140, 5497, 5502 and 5503. A base in or around Hornos de la Sierra would be better for walks in the Sierra Segura numbers 5500, 5501 and 5498

We strongly recommend The Sierras of Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas as a walking destination. Do try it – you will not be disappointed.

Jim Arymar

Sierra De Cazorla


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We would like to include a short article for each of the areas on these pages. If an area has no article and you can send us a few hundred words about the area, pointing out its key attractions and other useful information, we would greatly appreciate it.