Junta de los Rios is a place of outstanding natural beauty with wonderful river pools and spectacular views.
Junta de los Rios translates as “the joining of the rivers”. It’s the ideal name as the Rio Verde and Rio Negro rivers meet to form waterfalls and clear pools that are ideal for a bathe.
Until recently, the river was relatively unexplored and was used only for people practising adrenaline sports, mainly climbing and barranquismo (canyoning), with specialist groups taking people on guided tours.Although still not on the regular tourist route, over the past few years the area has opened up and become more popular.
The blog post below was originally written for Spain Holiday a few years ago. Since then, the river has become a lot more accessible and popular.
You do still need to take care and to be fit!
For those of you looking for a more remote and untouched river walk (and there are still many in Andalusia) drop me a direct message. There are several places we’d rather keep quiet.
From Almuñécar, take the A-4050 northwards, the Carretera Suspiro del Moro (or La Cabra as it is known locally) towards Granada city.
Passing through some beautiful countryside – including kilometres of subtropical fruits and vegetation – the route is at the heart of “tropical valley”.
Local villages are renowned for mangoes, avocados, pears and the distinctive orange fruit of the nispero, an Andalusian delicacy.
Passing through the villages of Jete and Otivar, the gate to the river is on the left hand side, just beyond the turning for the Palacete de Cazulas (approximately 5km from Otivar). Keep your eyes open as it’s very easy to miss!
Keep your eyes open as it’s very easy to miss!
There’s a small gateway with a hut behind, and inside is someone collecting your entrance fee – which when we visited was €5 per person and €5 for the car (children aged under 10 go free).
The access road is private and so this fee helps to keep it maintained.
The track leading to the Junta is approximately 6km and can be pretty rough in places, particularly with a loaded car. Follow it down until reaching the mouth of the gorge.
Depending on the type of vehicle (and your nerves!) you can park here or carry on – although if you’re not in a decent 4×4, it’s advisable to park here and walk.
Following the river on your right, keep walking and almost immediately the river opens up with small waterfalls and plenty of pools for bathing.It takes approximately an hour to get to an old disused dam/farm.
Once here, bear right and start crossing the rivers several times and you’ll eventually make your way up to the higher and deeper pools.
A reasonable level of fitness is required.
The ground is not level, there are several bridges to cross and the path is extremely steep in places.
After several flash floods, the valley has been severely eroded (particularly around the dam area), adding to the difficulty.
Heat and water are two things to take into consideration too. Check the weather forecast, and do not go anywhere near this valley if rain is predicted anywhere in the area. Even the remotest chance of rain should be reason enough to change plans.
Hiking in this valley can be very hot work in the summer months. I’ve seen temperatures well over 40C – in the shade. It’s something to keep in mind, particularly with children.
See the picture below…..this what hiking in 40c heat looks like 🙂
There’s a fantastic hike from the lower river pools up the valley and onto some larger waterfalls. You need to be fit and willing to cross the river numerous times. Go over the hanging bridge and keep following the path upwards into the mountains. The path eventually drops down to the river, crossing it several times. After around 5km, you’ll come to a large hanging bridge.
Crossover and bear right and upwards.
You soon see a large waterfall. You’ll know when you are there… To keep going any further up the river would need specialist equipment and a guide.
This is the best place to swim!
There are several paths that lead leftwards and up into the mountains. I don’t recommend taking them if you don’t know the area. It’s a long and very steep hike back up to the main road and civilisation.
If you do venture away from the river, make sure you take lots of water.
Another important point to bear in mind is there’s no mobile phone coverage in many parts of the valley (emergency services number is 112).
There are several places to jump off the rocks………please be careful! water levels change, rocks move and always check where you are landing. We know this river well and have been going for many years, we still always check (with a mask) before doing any of the jumps.
For an unedited video of one of the bigger jumps see here.
Entrance to Junta de los Rios
The office/cabin is manned from 10.00 to 19.00 on Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays. The key can be obtained from Restaurante El Capricho in Otivar during the winter.
During the summer months, from June onwards there is someone on the gate to let you in. Phone 680493629 or 680493907 for further information (and to check on conditions).
A fantastic day out
A day out in the Junta de los Rios is an experience not to be missed!
If feeling unsure or uneasy about making the journey, there are numerous companies offering guided tours
If feeling more adventurous you can come down the Rio Verde from the top to the bottom, using ropes, swimming through caves and jumping off waterfalls. An unforgettable experience, with some of the best canyoning in Europe.
Here’s a photo post of us canyoning down Rio Verde (one of the rivers that makes up Junta de los Rios).