The town of Canillas de Aceituno extends into the Natural Park of Sierras Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama, which offers a countless number of attractions. This protected area has enclaves of outstanding natural beauty within its nearly 40,670 hectares, which are perfect for climbing, trekking, potholing and hiking.
The peaks of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Mountains form the natural frontier between the provinces of Malaga and Granada. The Tejeda and Almijara Mountains are on the Malaga side, in the heart of the Axarquía region. Alhama is in the westernmost part of the province of Granada. Tejeda Peak reaches 2,065 above sea level and offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean coast and adjacent mountain ranges.
White and grey tones predominate in the peaks and gullies of these mountains, the result of an abundance of marble. The decomposition of these rocks creates areas of sand where pine groves adapt and form the most common ecosystems, with Aleppo, Austrian and even Corsican pines. In the highest and most shady areas there are also Pyrenean oaks and maple trees.
The name Tejeda (“tejo” = yew) comes from the abundance of these trees once found here. Now there is just one yew copse, the furthest south on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the best in Andalusia, located on the way up to the Salto del Caballo Waterfall.
These areas of trees and rocky outcrops are home to large eagles such as the golden and Bonelli’s varieties. There is an interesting population of mountain goats, a species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, and it is one of the largest in Spain.
Fast-flowing rivers and streams come down the mountainsides with spectacular waterfalls such as Los Árboles Petrificados, where the lime-rich water has mineralised old tree trunks. In other cases the waters have carved out impressive canyons, locally known as “cahorros”. Other outstanding geological elements are Nerja Cave, which is a designated Natural Monument, as well as La Maroma Cave.
Numerous hiking trails cover this area, from easy to difficult. Routes can be selected and printed at the local Tourist Information Point in the Town Hall. Below are just two of many.
This hike provides glorious sea views as well as vistas of the magnificent Loma de Capellania and promontory of proa del barco (The Ship’s Prow). From the summit, the vast panoramic vistas are hard to beat and are particularly memorable when the Sierra Nevada is cloaked in its winter mantle of snow. The great thing about the ascent from Canillas is that once you are back down at Los Charcones you can follow a different path back to the village, descending parallel to the gorge of Los Almanchares: a route once used by the neveros to bring ice down from the summit.
Taking you over a 50m long suspension bridge above the Almanchares river bed, this route is part of the “Gran Senda de Malaga” hiking network, connecting Canillas de Aceituno and Sedella.