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The suspension bridge over the river Almanchares has become a hiking landmark. J. A.
El Saltillo, a vertigo-inducing hike in one of Malaga province's deepest gorges
TREASURES OF MALAGA

El Saltillo, a vertigo-inducing hike in one of Malaga province's deepest gorges

The challenging walking route in the Axarquía, part of the Gran Senda de Málaga, is not for the faint-hearted

Javier Almellones

Axarquía

Friday, 21 July 2023, 16:37

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Not suitable for those with a fear of heights, the Saltillo hiking route, in the village of Canillas de Aceituno, has become one of the most thrilling and exceptional in Andalucía, thanks to the installation in 2021 of a spectacular suspension bridge over the gorge of the Almanchares river.

This structure, 54 metres long and 70 metres high, is one of the three largest suspension bridges in protected areas in Spain. It is located on the southern slope of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama natural park, where it now shares the limelight with local sites such as La Maroma.

WHAT TO SEE

  • Suspension bridge situated over the Almanchares river.

  • Walkways these metal structures attached to the mountain are very safe.

  • Canillas de Aceituno this village, a possible starting point, has a lovely old district and mountain surroundings.

  • Sedella from this town, you can also reach El Saltillo after an approximate journey of five kilometres.

    FAUNA

  • Midwife toad a native and unique amphibian that can be seen in this area.

    WHERE TO EAT

  • La Sociedad y el Bodegón de Juan María Restaurants in Canillas de Aceituno specialising in roast kid.

But, in addition to the suspension bridge, in this area known for years by the Canilleros (colloquial name for locals) as El Saltillo, there is also a metal walkway, which will also have to be faced by those who want to access this place. The gorge is a result of the swift passage of the Almanchares river from the high peaks of the Sierra de Tejeda over time.

Until a few years ago, this path was essential to reach the riverbed from the village, with an irrigation channel that allowed its waters to be used to irrigate the nearby vegetable plots.

Today this entire route, including the bridge, is the most attractive part of stage seven of the Gran Senda de Málaga, which links Canillas de Aceituno with Cómpeta. The complete section is also the most physically demanding of this GR-249-approved route.

This stage between the Axarquia villages was modified with respect to the one originally planned, as thanks to the Saltillo bridge, it was possible to take a more direct route.

It is undoubtedly one of the most technically challenging routes for hiking in the province of Malaga, as the route from both Canillas de Aceituno and Sedella exposes hikers to steep drops into the void, as warned by numerous signs before setting off. The danger lies mainly in the fact that there are narrow stretches of pathway running through this rugged area of the Sierra de Tejeda, with no fences to hold on to if you stumble or slip.

As can be witnessed in Canillas de Aceituno town centre, where the path leading to the Saltillo bridge starts, this route is not suitable for people with vertigo. Nor is it for people who are not physically fit (there is a steep slope on the way back from the bridge).

As with other hiking routes, proper walking equipment is required, footwear with a good grip is particularly important. In addition, clothing should be comfortable and suitable for this type of outdoor activity. Walking sticks or poles are also recommended to help you to maintain your balance and to help take some of the strain off your legs on climbs and descents.

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