The Route of the Cahorros de Monachil

The route of the Cahorros de Monachil is a 10.5 km, semi-circular hike in the Sierra Nevada National Park, southern Spain. The starting point is the village of Monachil and the return point is also Monachil. The hike takes in 6 gorges (cahorros) formed by the rivers Duque, Purón and Darro.

The interested hiker can find all sorts of information about this trek on the internet, including an endearing video that was put together by a couple who did the walk. It will provide would-be walkers with an excellent idea of what to expect from the experience. I cannot improve on their description and so will let them tell you what it is all about:

“This is a very beautiful and varied semi-circular walk through some spectacularly grand limestone scenery in Sierra Nevada National Park. You’ll be constantly wowed by vistas down into massive gorges and at one point descend 400m via a fabulous network of well-made switchbacks and steps cut into the rock itself”.

What they don’t say in this quote – because they don’t need to as it is obvious from the video – is that it is an extremely strenuous walk, not for those carrying any excess weight, nor for anyone with knees that cannot take extended pounding on rough ground or going up and down endless sets of slippery steps without handrails! And yet, had I not been afflicted with just such dodgy knees, I would have dearly loved to have completed this hike myself. As it was I had to content myself with driving my wife and son to Monachil from where they set off at 8am one sunny September morning, leaving me to enjoy a few hours pottering around this delightful village whilst waiting for their return some 6 hours later.

On their website,, you will find a wealth of information about this and other walks in the area but basically, as can be seen from the map below, it involves following 3 different rivers upstream through 6 dramatic gorges before returning to base along a high-level path affording wonderful views back across the landscape already traversed”.


The puppies of Monachil (cahorros de monachil) are definitely worth visiting if you are lucky enough to find yourself in southern Spain and are looking for a strenuous but ultimately rewarding hike through some breathtaking scenery. Make sure you allow plenty of time – at least 6 hours – as there are several very steep sections which will slow you down considerably. Be sure also to take plenty of water as there are no outlets en route where you might replenish your supplies. Finally, enjoy!