Hiking up El Cielo, Nerja

Hiking up El Cielo, Nerja

There are two protected areas that sit right on Nerja’s boundaries. The Sierra de Tejada and Almijarra Natural Park and the natural area of the Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo. They both provide some spectacular hiking.

El Cielo, which translates appropriately to “Heaven”, is the highest coastal mountain in the area at 1,508 metres. A hike to the top will guarantee a buzz to your senses. The mountain is easily accessible and offers some truly breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. On a clear day, you’ll have unobstructed views of the whole of the Costa del Sol, all the way from Almunecar to Malaga, as well as all the major summits of the Sierra de Tejeda and the North African coastline.

Access to El Cielo

One important point to bear in mind is the access.

During the summer months, access to the natural park by car is restricted. You’d have to leave your car at the Nerja caves (Cuevas de Nerja) and start from there. This adds an extra 10kms onto the hike.

Although not difficult, it’s flat forestry track, it does get a bit monotonous after a while. The track makes a good run, but a fairly boring walk.

When driving into the park you have two options: you can park and leave your car at the first junction, which is a popular choice.

Start and finish in the area recreativa. The path is marked and very clear.

The last two kilometres are steep. Very steep! And loose underfoot. Take it slowly. The peak is visible from the worst parts of the climb, just keep focused on getting there.

From the summit, make your way down the same way you came. After approximately 500m you’ll veer rightwards. This track down is faster, although steeper. Poles are advisable.

You’ll come out at the entrance to the Barranco de los Cazadores. A truly beautiful spot and the place to start another great hike – up the Almendrón.

Follow the river bed downwards and back towards civilisation. You’ll quickly arrive back at the forestry track in an area called the Barranco de la Coladilla.

Take a right here, going towards the Fuente del Esparto – a natural spring. This water is drinkable. 

From here, you cross back over the dry river bed and you’ll fall back onto the Área recreativa El Pinarillo. The  start of the hike.

Summary

Difficulty – moderate
Distance – 14kms
Accumulated height – 1204m

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