This path is 7.6 kilometres long and it goes along one part of the Genal River in the Genal Valley, and through the towns of Jubrique, Genalguacil, Benarrabá and Algatocín. This is a very narrow V-shaped gorge, which is almost totally covered in forest. The path goes through the forest on its stretches along the slopes and close to the river.
The elevation throughout the path is not high, and it is neither too long, as this is a half-day walking route. You will always walk along the left side of the river, and move southward along the first half of the route, up to the first footbridge. You will then continue walking south-east. As this path is a round-rip hike, the way back is the same as the outward walk.
As for the kind of trails this route follows, there is a stretch which consists of a dirt track, but generally you walk along footpaths. Long sections which extend along the ditches which are no longer in use have also been turned into paths. On one of this paths, a cable has been installed for safety's sake. There are three absolutely extraordinary walkway sections, where the elevated walkways are anchored to a rock in order to allow hikers to hike across the steepest part of the valley.
This is one of the most incredibly beautiful routes that belong to the Great Málaga Path due to the areas that surround it and the type of trails. The Genal is rather curvy and its water crystalline in this area, where a rather narrow valley extends over rocks prone to erosion such as schist and slate. The landscape you can admire along the path presents a mixture of pine trees, cork oaks, Mediterranean thicket, large vegetable gardens, cropland, olive groves and woods on the river bank. The environment is acceptably conserved, which positively affects the biodiversity of the zone.
Nevertheless, the stretch between the San Juan Bridge and La Escribana was only possible to cross after some larger works had been preformed in order to refurbish some old paths and irrigation channels, and the metal footbridges were built so the dangerous stretches could be walked over. This light building structures will probably turn into the most memorable part of the route for visitors. Moreover, they allow hikers to admire the best parts of the river and its gorge.
Elevated walkway over the Genal
The stretch between the San Juan Bridge and La Escribana Plain was one of the biggest achievements of the Great Málaga Path Project, because it meant that an inaccessible part of the route was open for public use. One of the biggest obstacles were three stretches with rocky cliffs which had limited the length of the path. This problem was dealt in accordance with safety matters, and by causing the minor possible impact on the environment. It resulted in spectacular grid platforms with rails, which stand on metal pillars and supports which are anchored to the rock.
Ditches and azuds
The Genal River and its tributaries, perennial streams or rivers, have been used to create plenty of ditches and channels used for plains irrigation or for hydraulic devices. Although many of these basic structures, as well as farmland, mills and factories, were abandoned, they bear testimony to the age-old times.
Today, we can see some of the old dams called Azud, traditional Moorish devices typical in Andalusia used for water diversion. In summer, people used to swim around these dams, and they were used to create big pools which would be habitat for freshwater plants and animals.