Los Cahorros, Monachil: Hiking in the Sierra Nevada, Spain

by Mark & Kristen Morgan
amazing view of Sierra Nevada mountain range

The “Los Cahorros” trail in Monachil near Granada has been one of our favorite hiking trails to date! Why? Because it truly is an Indiana Jones like adventure. The Sierra Nevada really delivers on this hike! There are several hanging bridges, swimming spots, narrow caves, amazing view points and tight spaces to squeeze through. 

The “Los Cahorros” trail begins and ends about 8km from Granada city center in the lower mountains of the Sierra Nevada in a tiny village called Monachil. We hiked this trail the day after visiting the Alhambra. It’s easily doable on a day trip. The trail is only about 8 km itself, so it’s a quicker one.

What makes the “Los Cahorros” trail unique is that there are two main sections. If you begin on the lower section like we did, the first part brings hikers straight through the gorge and lasts about 2 km. This is where all the Indiana Jones obstacles can be found.

The second part brings hikers to a higher limestone rock trail which overlooks some fabulous Andalusian countryside. The higher trail is about 6km in length.

“Los Cahorros” is a circular trail which means you will finish and start in the same place in Monachil. However, you can turn around at any time if you choose not to finish the hike. Keep in mind you can also do this in reverse if you would prefer the obstacles at the end.

If you’re planning on walking this trail, we’ll assume you’ll be based in Granada – don’t forget to read our 7 best things to do in Granada article before you leave.

cahorros bajos sign for hiking trail

Cahorros Altos refers to the higher section and Cahorros Bajos is the lower gorge section of the hike.

Okay how do you get there?!

To begin the Los Cahorros trail you will need to get to the town of Monachil which lies between the city of Granada and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. 

There are two main places to begin the hike:

1 – In the village of Monachil (we took the bus and started here). You will walk a bit farther because you will have to walk to starting point #2.

-OR-

2 – Park at one of the two restaurants on the outskirts of Monachil

sign for Monachil and other places
sign on hiking trails on los cahorros

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How to Get to the Los Cahorros trail in Monachil

By Car

Take the Monachil exit from the A-395 southern ring road (Ronda Sur). Once you get off the exit for Monachil, continue for 6 km and cross the bridge.

Continue in the direction of the “Los Cahorros El Purche.” The main road leads through the center of town and then upwards towards the mountains.

In about 2 km, you will come across a restaurant called El Puntarron that sits off the main road on the right-hand side. You can either park at this restaurant or if you continue on the dirt road (actually an unnamed road) for about another 1km, there will be another small restaurant.

Look for “Merendero Los Cahorros“, where you can park. This second restaurant sits close to the entrance of the gorge and is tucked away nicely. We met people who had parked at both locations.

El Puntarron restaurant sign

By Bus

Public transport is our jam. This is how we usually choose to travel, and it also reduces our carbon footprint. Win-win, right?!

You want to begin by making your way to Plaza Humilladero and cross over the bridge (Puente Blanco) on the left side of the river. Next, turn left onto Paseo de los Basilios, where you will see two bus stops. You will catch the bus for Monachil at the first bus stop. The ride will cost €1.50 per person each way.

number 183 bus to Monachil

Look for the 183 bus Monday to Saturday morning or number 181 Saturday afternoon, Sundays and holidays. The 183 bus is about 20 minutes while the 181 service is a bit longer, maybe about 40 minutes.  

The bus leaves from Granada to Monachil at 20 minutes past the hour.

The bus returns from Monachil to Granada at 40 minutes past the hour. Keep in mind 8:40pm is the last bus.

Pro-Tip: Our bus back was not right on time. So, don’t panic, the bus will eventually come!!

Our Adventure: Getting to the Trail by Bus 

The bus will drop you off at a bridge, right next to loads of bins in the center of Monachil. Keep in mind this will also be the same place you will come back to in order to catch the bus back to Granada.

main bridge in Monachil Spain

Walk towards the mountains with the river on your right. The town of Monachil is quite small so it’s relatively easy to orient yourself.

main road through Monachil to hiking los cahorros

Keep an eye out for the “Los Cahorros” sign to know you are headed in the right direction.

signs in Monachil Spain for hiking trail

This is the part of the trail we almost missed… The road will hairpin sharply and you will come to a stop sign. Just before the stop sign, there is a concrete road.

hairpin in roadway marking the start of the trail

Take the smaller dirt path on the right.

hairpin showing beginning of trail in Sierra Nevada

Next, after passing a few houses, you will need to take another right on a small dirt road (the unnamed road). 

Mark on los cahorros hiking trail in Sierra Nevada

Finally, you will come to the small second restaurant where the trail begins. Happy trekking in the Sierra Nevada! 

another restaurant in on hiking trail

A Few Thoughts About the Trail:

The Famous Hanging Bridges

The hanging bridges were a highlight of our hike. There are a total of four to cross. The longest bridge is 55m long and probably 15m above the river; not the best if heights isn’t your thing. We would recommend going one at a time when crossing the long bridge.

longest hanging bridge on los cahorros trail

But good news, the remaining three are much shorter. The bridges will sway once you begin your walk but they did seem very secure. 

hanging bridge on los cahorros hiking trail
Mark standing on hanging bridge in Sierra Nevada
Kristen standing on hanging bridge on los cahorros hiking trail

The “Oh Sh*t” Handles

We had a lot of fun on this trail because there are metal handles and knobs set into some of the rocks over hanging the river. We used these handles so we wouldn’t fall in. Hence the name, “Oh Sh*t” handles! Of course, we couldn’t resist a good photo opportunity.

Mark hanging on stone over river in Monachil

Originally, we read this trail was child friendly. But after walking it, we would strongly disagree. We ran into a couple with three young girls who felt the same way. Be aware to keep an eye on the little ones closely if you bring them along.

Tricky Sections

There will be some parts on the path where you will need squeeze in some small spaces. If you can not do this, we would not recommend the trail. 

Mark needing to duck to get through hiking trail in Sierra Nevada

There will also be a section of the trail which seems to be a dead end. We almost turned around at this point because we thought it ended! 

mysterious cave on trail in Sierra Nevada

But you just need to crawl under the rocks overhanging the trail.

Mark under rocks by Monachil river

The higher section of the hike is a bit confusing at the end. If you stay on the main section of the trail, you will make it back down to the restaurant El Puntarron. The trail pretty much veers left and continues down the hill. There will be some small signs and roads but just stay on the main path. If a sign says “Camino particular sin salida” this means “Private road with no exit” so ignore it and continue on.

sign for Monachil and other places

The Water Features

There are some really great waterfalls in the beginning of this hike. Bring a suit if you feel like taking a dip. We did this hike in June and it was hot! The waterfall was just what the doctor ordered!

beautiful waterfall in Monachil on hiking trail

We found it interesting that the path follows an old irrigation channel. At some points, the water was just gushing in the old metal system.

Kristen posing on los charros trail in Sierra Nevada
irrigation tunnel on trail alongside of hiking trail

The babbling river is extremely soothing. We loved hearing the water rush by us as we navigated all the obstacles. 

Monachil river in Sierra Nevada flowing heavily

The Scenery!

Walking through the gorge was another favorite memory. We couldn’t help but constantly look up and notice the looming rocks above. The trail was always tucked in close to the rocks and felt extremely cozy.

Massive gorge in Moanchil with hiking trail

And the yellow flowers in bloom during our hike on the higher section… WOW! The bright yellow color mixed with the blues of the sky and the greens of the land were just breath taking!

Pretty yellow flowers in Sierra Nevada mountain range

A Hidden Surprise

Last but not least, we found an abandoned structure where you can explore. There were old walls and windows to peak out of. See if you can find this along the trail! 😊

window overlooking plants in Sierra Nevada
old rock and wood structure on los cahorros

There we have it folks! One awesome hiking trail! If you have any other information or recommendations for this hike please comment below. If you’d like more information about this trail, check out the trek sierra nevada website here.

Active Exploration

Traveling the world gives an awful lot of benefits to a person. Exploring actively enhances those benefits by keeping you fit and healthy, as well as ensuring your mental state is always sharp. To read more, head over to our Active Exploration area.

The Los Cahorros hiking trail in Monachil is our bread and butter. It’s an easy day trip from Granada, you get beautiful countryside and mountain views, the only cost is a cheap bus ticket and most importantly it’s a great workout.

We always try to make an effort to hike the best local trails because we need to keep on top of fitness and health while traveling long term. We hope as many of you as possible can fit this day trip in from Granada, it’s worth it!

Recommended Reading

If you’re planning a Spain itinerary for an upcoming trip, be sure to check out some other articles from our Spanish adventure!

Day Trip to Toledo – A beautiful UNESCO city, picture perfect and an easy to reach day trip from Madrid.

Segovia: Ultimate Day Trip Guide – Another easy to reach UNESCO city from Madrid. Segovia is home to an incredible aqueduct that has to be seen to be believed.

Cordoba, Spain: One Action Packed Day – An awesome Andalusian city, similar in many ways to Granada. Don’t miss the Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral!

7 Best Things to do in Granada The city home to Spain’s famous Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. 

Alluring Ronda: An Andalusian Gem Spain’s unique city where a famous bridge connects an old Moorish town (La Ciudad) with a newer modernized town (EL Mercadillo).

An Ultimate Guide to a Weekend in Barcelona – The beautiful capital of Catalonia with stunning architecture and medieval quarters.

Quiz Question: What is the Source of the Monachil River?

La Velata, which is one of Spain’s highest mountains!

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