Video of Junta de los Rios
A place of outstanding natural beauty with wonderful river pools and spectacular views. For the more adventurous, there is no better way to spend a day out.
About Junta de los Rios
Junta de los Rios translates as ‘the joining of the rivers.’
The rivers Rio Verde and Rio Negro meet to form waterfalls and crystal, clear pools in which you can 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. Over the last few years the area has opened up somewhat, although it is still not on the regular tourist route.
From Almunecar, take the A-4050 northwards, the Carretera Suspiro del Moro (or La Cabra, as it is known locally) towards Granada city. The route passes through some beautiful countryside and is at the heart of the ‘tropical valley.’ Passing through kilometres of subtropical fruits and vegetation. The villages are renowned for the exportation of mangoes, avocados, pears and the distinctive pink fruit of the nispola, an Andalusian delicacy.
Passing through the villages of Jete and then Otivar, the entrance gate to the river is on the left hand side, just beyond the turning for the Palacete de Cazulas (approximately 2kms from Otivar). Keep your eyes open as it is very easy to miss, there is a small gateway with a hut behind. Inside is a person who registers all cars/people and you pay an entrance fee. The access road is private and the fee helps to keep it ‘maintained.’
The road leading to the ‘Junta’ is approximately 6kms and track. It can be pretty rough in places, particularly with a heavily loaded car. Follow the road 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 not in a good 4x4, its suggestible to park here and walk.
Following the river on your right, you keep walking and almost immediately the river opens up with plenty of pools for bathing and small waterfalls. It takes approximately one hour to get to an old disused dam/farm, from here you need to bear right and start crossing the rivers several times and eventually make your way up to the higher/deeper pools.
Please note, a responsible level of fitness is required. The ground is not level, there are several bridges to cross and the path is very steep in places. After several flash floods, the valley has been severely eroded (particularly around the dam area), adding to the difficultly.
Heat and water are two things to take into consideration. Check the weather forecasts, 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.
Heat - hiking in this valley can be very hot going in the summer months. I have seen temperatures well over 40C in the shade. You have water to cool off in and drink...but its still something to bear in mind, particularly if travelling with children.
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. Cross over the hanging bridge and keep following the path upwards into the mountains, the path eventually drops back down to the river, crossing it several times. After 5kms or so, you'll come to a large hanging bridge - shown below.
Cross over and bear rightwards and upwards. You quickly see a large waterfall. You'll know when you are there. To keep going any further up the river you would need specialist equipment and a guide.
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. Its a long and a 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 is no mobile phone coverage in many parts of the valley (emergency services number - 112).
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 the El Capricchio Bar in Otivar during the winter.
During the summer months, June onwards there is someone on the gate to let you in. At the time of writing, the entrance fee was 5€ per person and a further 5€ for the car. Children went for free. 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 and if feeling more adventurous you can come down the river (Rio Verde) from the top to the bottom, using ropes, swimming through caves and jumping off waterfalls. A unforgettable experience, with some of the best canyoning in Europe.
For additional information on canyoning (barranquismo) in Andalusia and river pools that are suitable for families in Andalusia