The Sierras of Extremadura
32 half and full-day walks in western Spain's hills
Guidebook to Extremadura, one of Spain's most unspoilt regions, comprising the provinces of Caceres and Badajoz. 32 mainly circular walks (6 to 19km) explore Sierras, rolling hills and oak forests criss-crossed by thousands of kilometres of ancient paths. Includes the Jerte Valley, the hill town of Montánchez, Guadalupe and Monesterio.
SeasonsSeptember to June for the Northern and Central Sierras. There may be snow in December and January in the Northern Sierras. October to May is the best time for the Southern Sierras.
CentresSan Martín de Trevejo, Gata, La Garganta (Hervás), Jerte, Jarandilla de la Vera, Montánchez, Almoharín, Guadalupe, Mérida, Alange, Hornachos, Monesterio.
DifficultyEveryone with a reasonable level of walking fitness can do these walks. All involve ascents and descents but these are walks and not mountain climbs. There is no grading system for the walks - some are very hard but all are achievable.
Must SeeNorthern Sierras: Pico Jálama, Pico Jañona, Puerto de Castilla, El Chorrituelo de Ovejuela (Extremadura's highest waterfall), La Muela, Cascadas Nogaleas, Los Pilones, Jaranda valley. Central Sierras: Montánchez castle, Cerro San Cristobal, Aljibe on the Sierra de Santa Cruz, Pico Venero, Guadalupe. Southern Sierras: cave paintings, Alange reservoir, Hornachos castle, Pico Tentudía, Tentudía Monastery, Pico Aguafría, Aguafría castle.
This guidebook showcases 32 walks exploring the sierras of Cáceres and Badajoz, one of Spain’s least known regions and a gem for walkers and nature lovers. Walks range in length from 6 to 20km are suitable for any reasonably fit walker. They can be done from a number of bases in the area including San Martín de Trevejo, Gata, Hervás, Jerte, Jarandilla de la Vera, Montánchez, Guadalupe, Almoharín, Mérida, Alange, Hornachos and Monesterio.
Each walk is accompanied by a sketch map and detailed route description, as well as notes on the terrain, refreshments available and access. Background information about the area and the many interesting sites passed along the route combine to give an invaluable guide to an unspoilt and peaceful region.
Extremadura is one of the most untouched regions of Spain, a delightful mix of rugged mountain ranges, gently rolling hills, deciduous forests, deep river valleys, olive groves and shady pastures, all criss-crossed by thousands of paths. Superb birdlife and a variety of heritage sites, from cave paintings to monasteries, add to this region’s charms.
Geography and geology
Animals and birds
Flowers and plants
When to go
Bases and accommodation
Food and drink
What to take on a walk
Health and emergencies
Using this guide
The Northern Sierras: The Sistema Central
Sierra de Gata
Walk 1 San Martín de Trevejo and the Sierra de Eljas
Walk 2 Pico Jálama
Walk 3 Puerto de Castilla and Pico Jañona
Walk 4 Castillo de Almenara and the Sierra de las Jañonas
Walk 5 Robledillo de Gata and Ovejuela
Sierra de Béjar
Walk 6 La Garganta and El Nevero
Walk 7 La Muela and the forest track
Walk 8 The valley route to La Muela
Sierra de Gredos
Walk 9 Cascadas Nogaleas in the Montes de Tras la Sierra
Walk 10 Los Pilones and Puente Sacristán
Walk 11 Jerte to Puente Nuevo in the Sierra de Tormantos
Walk 12 Puente los Papúos in the Montes de Tras la Sierra
Walk 13 The Jaranda valley
Walk 14 Guijo de Santa Bárbara and El Trabuquete
The Central Sierras: The Montes de Toledo
Sierra de Montánchez
Walk 15 Arroyomolinos
Walk 16 Torre de Santa María to Montánchez
Walk 17 Torre de Santa María and the mills
Walk 18 The oak woods of Zarza de Montánchez
Walk 19 Almoharín and the Sierra de San Cristobal
Walk 20 The Sierra de los Alijares
Walk 21 The Sierra de Santa Cruz
Sierra del Campillo and the Sierra de Juncaldilla
Walk 22 Garganta de Cuernacabras
Sierra de Guadalupe
Walk 23 Garciaz and Pico Venero
Walk 24 Cabañas de Castillo to Navezuelas
Walk 25 Navezuelas to Guadalupe
Sierra de la Pela
Walk 26 Orellana de la Sierra
The Southern Sierras
Sierra de Peñas Blancas and Sierra de Juan Bueno
Walk 27 La Zarza
Sierra Grande de Hornachos
Walk 28 Hornachos
Walk 29 Cabeza la Vaca and the Sierra de Buitrera
Walk 30 Monasterio de Tentudía and Pico Tentudía
Walk 31 Forest circuit in the Sierra Tudía y Sus Faldas
Walk 32 Alto de Aguafría and the Sierra de Aguafría
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Link route summary table
Appendix C Additional waymarked routes in the area
Appendix D Useful contacts
Appendix E Glossary
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Walk 4 Pages 60-61
The directions are all still the same but there are now wooden bridges to cross the river at the three points formerly where stepping stones were used. The path is still evident but at various places the rough path has been laid with slate and occasionally there are wooden handrails. Once at the waterfall the route continues on paths and tracks that have not been 'improved'. Obviously, a small village such as Ovejuela relies on week-end and tourist walkers who start the walk in the village, go to see the waterfall and then return to the village for refreshments. This part of the walk is now more accessible.
Walk 10 & 11 Pages 84 & 89
A wooden bridge has been constructed over the ford. It is high enough to clear flood waters. Permutations of these walks are now possible all year round.
There has been a recent programme of identifying and signposting local walks in the Sierra de Montánchez. These are waymarked in white and green but also have finger signposts at intervals. These signposts are new and so not referred to in walks 15 and 16 where one or two signposts and waymarks may cross the path of those walks.
Walk 15 Page 109
Park anywhere in the open area at the top of Calle Altozano. Walk straight towards the four antenna ahead on the concrete road to reach a Y-junction with the antenna and a small concrete lane to the right. Go left. Pass a turning on the left and take the one, right, a few paces further on. There is a new finger signpost at this junction with three options. Follow the one marked ‘SL-CC7 Ruta de las Atolladeras’. There is also a white and yellow cross on the wall on the left plus a white and green waymark. Walk on the rough track and follow it to pass the ruin of a mill on the left. Cross a small ford, the first of many, and continue as the track winds and narrows. Come to a small open space which is a vague crossroads but the main track continues ahead towards some double metal gates where the track bends right. On the right are views of the villages of Arroyomolinos and Alcuéscar behind. Reach a distinctive boulder on the left with a signpost opposite. Ignore a junction, left, and continue ahead. Come to a few outbuildings on both sides of the track with a wide space with multiple gateways. Here the track bends left. Just before a wide T-junction there is a white and green post with a waymark on the right but take the left track away from the village. After about 100m, up on the left, are three low stone crosses; difficult to see against the background of the sierra. Reach a signpost on the left, ‘Mirador de las Tres Cruces 25m’ and if you want to see the crosses make the small diversion at this point. Walk until a long, grey outbuilding is reached on the right and a red one is straight ahead. There is a junction. Turn left on to a wide track to put the red outbuilding on your right. There is a white and green waymark.
Continue the walk as directed …
Walk 17 Page 123
The ‘tiniest of paths’ referred to may be partly obscured by low-growing vegetation in the Summer months.
A beautiful, but little-known, area of Spain
Cicerone guides have long been a source of reliable, indispensable information for many others and myself, and it continues here. Walking the Sierras of Extremadura delves into a beautiful, but little-known, area of Spain. Much of Extremadura is untouched and unspoiled due to its low-key nature, and this means that you can enjoy the rugged mountains, deep river valleys and pristine forests in relative solitude. To help you make the most of this blissful land, Walking the Sierras of Extremadura outlines 32 walks across five mountain ranges in the area. The walks range from just a few miles long, all the way up to 12 miles in length, and this Cicerone guide provides in-depth information about each one.
Adventure Travel magazine
Extremadura is a delightful area to visit and explore.
Extremadura is a delightful area to visit and explore. I know because I have enjoyed several walking holidays in the region. So Gisela Radant Wood’s book on Walking the Sierras of Extremadura is a very welcome addition to the somewhat limited guides (in English) on the region. I love her tempting introduction (’....snow-capped mountains which puncture the blue sky...’) and I vouch for its accuracy. This neat compact book contains 32 varied walks and the author shares her wealth of regional knowledge with plenty of useful additional information with the visitor. It is also well-illustrated making it a must-have for anyone who wants to maximise their experiences and enjoyment when exploring this delightfully unique and unspoilt part of Spain.
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Gisela Radant Wood
Gisela Radant Wood is a walker, writer, photographer, avid reader and passionate about Extremadura. She has lived in the Sierra de Montánchez for the past 10 years, walking there on a regular basis. Ten years ago Gisela set up the website www.walkingextremadura.com and is actively involved in promoting the area as a walking paradise.View Articles and Books by Gisela Radant Wood