Walking in search of waterfalls, rivers and natural springs

Walking in search of waterfalls, rivers and natural springs

The network of footpaths in Malaga province includes trails alongside rivers and others that lead to spectacular pools or waterfalls

Javier Almellones


Friday, 7 July 2023, 20:01


The current drought situation has diminished water levels in rivers and streams throughout Andalucía, however there are still resources that never dry up and are well worth a visit.

The rains this spring have been scarce, but they did help boost water levels in some rivers and streams, which can still be appreciated by nature lovers on the numerous river walks in the province of Malaga.

Some of these rivers and streams will continue to have water throughout the summer, as is the case of the Genal, the Guadiaro and the Turón.

The large and varied network of hiking trails in the province includes walks that run alongside rivers in their entirety and others that lead to spectacular pools or waterfalls. These are some of the best.

  1. Istán

    Ruta del Charco de la Huerta

Charca de la Huerta, in the River Verde.
Charca de la Huerta, in the River Verde.

From Istán in the Sierra de las Nieves, a village criss-crossed by irrigation channels, you can easily reach one of the pools in the River Verde. The walk (SL-A-241) is first downhill, something that should be taken into account for the return journey, which is along the same steep path.

The trail, however, is not complicated, as it is well signposted and relatively intuitive, but care should be taken not to get distracted as the path coincides with part of another trail, Herrizas de la Gallega (PR-A-166).

  1. Faraján

    Sendero de las Chorreras

The first of the Chorreras de Balastar.
The first of the Chorreras de Balastar.

This beautiful circular route starts in Calle Genal in the village of Faraján in the Serranía de Ronda. The walk leads to the two waterfalls known as the Chorreras de Balastar.

The first part of the path is downhill, with slopes that become noticeably steeper before reaching the first waterfall. There are even ropes for hikers to hold on to in order to avoid slipping on the concrete sections.

After passing the two waterfalls, the route starts to climb along another path that finally leads back to the village. It is worth noting that sometimes these sites may be without water.

This is not normally due to shortage or drought but because the flow of water has been temporarily diverted by local landowners to irrigate their vegetable plots. In all cases these cuts are relatively short.

  1. Ronda

    Asa de la Caldera and Molinos del Tajo Trail

Waterfall under the New Bridge of Ronda.
Waterfall under the New Bridge of Ronda.

This walking trail starts from Plaza de María Auxiliadora or Plaza del Campillo, and leads down from the town centre of Ronda to the River Guadalevín, where some remarkable pools await. The path is obviously downhill, although the steepness is mitigated by zigzagging sections. This path can be followed as a circular route, ending up back in Ronda at the other end of the town. It can also be made linear and shorter by returning from the Guadalevín pools to the starting point.

  1. Jubrique, Genalguacil, Algatocín and Benarrabá

    Genal footbridges

Part of this route is via walkways.
Part of this route is via walkways.

From Puente de San Juan in Jubrique and Algatocín (near an inn of the same name and two campsites) to the Llano de la Escribana (between Genalguacil and Benarrabá) runs one of the most beautiful stretches of the Genal, the river that gives its name to the most spectacular valley in the province of Malaga.

In the heart of the Serranía de Ronda, this footpath runs alongside the river. Its originality lies in the fact that part of the walk has to be done using raised walkways and suspension bridges, protecting the river. The starting point is at the aforementioned Puente de San Juan, where the villages

  1. El Burgo

    River Turón

El Dique dam, on the river Turón.
El Dique dam, on the river Turón.

From the village of El Burgo to the dam known as the Presa del Dique, you can follow a beautiful path along the right bank of the River Turón, one of the most important watercourses in the Sierra de las Nieves region. The first section of the route is very easy and comfortable, and is barrier-free and suitable for people with reduced mobility or small children.

The route, which bears the name ‘Manolo El Cantaor’, officially ends 1.2 kilometres from the official starting point, but can be extended to reach the large pool at the aforementioned dam.

However, this section is much more complex, as there is more vegetation, which can be avoided by means of a stretch that runs along an irrigation channel.

  1. Stage 25 of the Great Malaga Trail

    Benaoján-Estación de Jimera de Líbar

River Guadiaro.
River Guadiaro.

The great GR-249 route, better known as the Gran Senda de Málaga or the Great Trail of Malaga, has several stages and paths that run alongside important rivers. Among them is this one, which allows the hiker to walk a good part of the way near the River Guadiaro.

The trail, therefore, is practically flat or with slight descents and ascents as it accompanies the river. The walk can be shortened by going to Estación de Jimera in order to avoid the climb to the village of Jimera de Líbar.

Among the highlights of the walk, the stretch known as the Angosturas del Guadiaro is particularly attractive. This walk also runs parallel to the railway line that links Ronda with Algeciras..

  1. Arriate

    Ventilla stream path

Bridge over the Ventilla stream.
Bridge over the Ventilla stream.

Although the water level of this stream drops considerably as summer unfolds, it never dries up. In fact, its levels improved slightly with the most recent rains in spring.

This makes it one of the most thrilling riverside paths in the province. Its wooden bridges, biodiversity and narrow paths are just some of the attractions of this practically circular route that starts in Arriate.

One of the most outstanding aspects of this route is its great ethnographic value, as it passes by old mills and caves.

  1. Igualeja

    Las Caleras

Source of the Genal, in Igualeja.
Source of the Genal, in Igualeja.

Although this is one of the most popular walks during the weeks of the “copper forest”, when the chestnut trees turn colour in the autumn, it is also suitable to do in spring and summer for two reasons.

On one hand, part of the route is in the shade, thanks to the splendid chestnut groves, which at this time of year offer their green tones (both the leaves and the spiky chestnut cases).

On the other, the walk begins and ends at the well-known Nacimiento del Río Genal (the source of the River Genal), an enclave located at the entrance to the village of Igualeja, which has been declared a natural monument of Andalucía and a unique spot in the province of Malaga.

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