Time: 3.5–5 hours
Difficulty: Fairly easy
About the walk
This is a really fun walk up to the abandoned hamlet of La Cebedilla and back down to Capileira. The first leg of the walk from the north corner of Capileira leads to La Cebedilla, which once must have housed the staff who operated the hydroelectric station up there. Now that it is closed down, the place has become an eerie ghost village. As you walk along past the dilapidated old houses you can feel the dark, glassless windows staring at you. We decided to explore the creepy abandoned church that clings to the edge of the gorge, full of graffiti and rubble.
The second half of the walk, up the left bank of the gorge was more wooded and the sweet smell of honeysuckle hung in the air. In the more scrubby parts you can smell the spicy scent of the wild thyme. Along the acequias, which are ancient Moorish irrigation channels, you lean over and your nostrils fill with the smell of wild mint.
Part 1: The first part of the walk is a steep paved track that rises above the Capileira village rooftops offering a unique perspective of the traditional flat roofs. The path continues climbing between embankments and past some ‘cortijos’ or farms. Looking south you will be able to see the Poqueira Gorge and the Lujar mountain range, which forms part of the coastal mountain range separating the Sierra Nevada from the sea. All around are terraced slopes, which have been carved into the hillside by generations of Alpujarrans throughout the centuries.
Part 2: After about an hour you will reach La Cebedilla, a ghost village at the convergence of two rivers, at 1,540 metres above sea level. Once in La Cebedilla you cross over the Poqueira river and head back south on the western flank of the gorge. Follow the track past a cortijo and a nearby electric transformer. A sign at the bend in the trail at the cortijo indicates the direction to follow to return to Capileira.
Part 3: This footpath descends smoothly for about 2km between old cortijos and terraces until you reach the Prado Largo gorge, where it leads to the Abuchite bridge over the river.
Part 4: The footpath then climbs up the opposite slope for about 1km, before turning into a paved track arriving back in Capileira.
For information on staying at Casita Buena Vista go to www.alpujarraretreat.com