There are several hiking routes around Malaga, one of the most popular is the Rio Chillar river walk in the Cahorros natural park, near to Nerja city. It’s a free natural park, you don’t need any entrance or license to do this walk, but keep in mind that you should do your best to maintain the area. Also important to note, that emergency services can hardly reach this place, therefore walk carefully and try to avoid injuries.
It is a medium difficulty walk which is mostly in the actual Chillar river, so be prepared to get wet! The water usually covers your ankles but at times it can reach people’s knees as well. You need to walk about 8km in the river until Vado de Los Patos, which is a nice natural pool with a little waterfall, then if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life there, you need to return on the exact same route to the starting point, which is another 8km. As you can see the entire route is about 16km and it takes about 6-7 hour to complete, depending on how many stops you take and of course on your pace. On the way you can enjoy the surrounding nature, the water and the relaxing sounds of the birds of the area.
Nerja – Rio Chiller river walk – What you need to know?
Time: Considering that the walk will take 6-7 hours to complete, I suggest going in the morning, so you will surely get back before it gets dark, also you can avoid most of the people who will go there later. It’s a pretty popular place, so be prepared to have more hikers there. Between March and October there is not too much rain in Malaga, so the water levels are steady and safe. In the rainy season the river obviously deeper and the stream is stronger, please take that into consideration as well.
Difficulty: There are two pools in the way, the first is about 5km from the starting point and it’s called Los Cahorros. Until this point the walk is pretty easy, it should be challenging even for children. However if you want to continue to the next pool,to the Vado de Los Patos which is 8km from the starting point, then be prepared for a bit more challenging terrain. You don’t have to climb, but don’t forget that you walk in a river, so make sure you have comfortable shoes that can stand the water and the uneven terrain. As mentioned earlier, you have to return on the exact same route, therefore the walk can be total 10km to the first pool and back, or if you want to go further it’s total 16km to the second pool and back to the starting point.
Rules: It is forbidden to throw away rubbish, to start any fires or to pick flowers. You must do everything possible to protect the environment. It’s highly appreciated if you pick up any rubbish you see even if it’s not yours to maintain the area clean and nice as it is.
Nerja – Rio Chillar river walk – what you should take?
Footwear: As mentioned earlier you will walk in a river, therefore leave your usual mountain shoes at home, because they will get super heavy as they get wet. Also ditch your flip-flops or sandals, as you will talk on slippery surface. The best is some sports shoe that can stand the water and protects your ankles.
Sunscreen: The walk takes 6-7 hours and you will be on the sun all the time, so it’s highly suggested taking sunscreen, especially in July and August.
Food/drinks: There is no shops, restaurants or anything where you can refuel, so you should take everything that you might need for the entire walk. Please do not leave any rubbish behind.
Waterproof bag: Normally you don’t get wet, but keep in mind that you will walk in the river on slippery surface, so if you have a waterproof bag can be handy, just in case you take an unplanned dive into the river with all your personal belongings, including your phone, camera, sandwiches, etc.
Map of the Rio Chillar hiking route
Before you start the Rio Chillar river walk, you need to get there somehow. From Malaga it’s likely that you will go by car, so to avoid parking tickets from the local police, use one of the two legal parking lots nearby. See the included description, coordinates and map:
Parking for Rio Chillar hiking route
Almijara: You can find many free parking spaces here every day, except on Tuesdays because that is the local market day, so the parking space is used to host a temporary market. From this parking lot, go north up to Mirto street and turn left where the street joins the Almachares road.
Calle Mirto: This parking space is available every day, even on Tuesdays when the market is on. From the parking lot go west and turn right to the Almachares road.
On this map you can see the two parking lots marked with orange color and the entrance marked with green, plus the route to get from A to B (literally).
Details of the Nerja Rio Chillar river walk excursion
The walk begins kinda boring, because you have to walk 1.5km from the parking lots on an asphalt road, called Almachares. Unfortunately, you can’t park closer to the natural park, because the local police pass often here and fine those who park on this road.
To get to the natural park, walk straight on the Almachares road, passing a motorway bridge. Carry on till you arrive at a concrete factory, where the asphalt road ends and a stone road begins. Keep going until you reach a barrier shown in the photo. Congratulations, you have just arrived to the natural park, it gets much better from here!
At this point you should see a small river. Guess what, you will walk there, so go and follow it. Depending on the season you might not see any water at this point, but don’t worry, just keep going, and enjoy the natural scenery around you.
After about 2km walk you will arrive to a steep ramp that has a hydroelectric power plant by it. It has a little pool where children can refresh themselves and you can make some nice photos. If you are taking the hike in the rainy season, this area can be overflowing with water, so mind the slippery surfaces! As you might notice everything gets more green around you. Even if you managed to get to this point dry, from now on you have to get your feet and ankles wet.
Next stop is the Los Cahorros which is one of the nicest place of the whole walk. The river passes through three cracks in the mountain, which looks amazing! As you walk through the narrow cracks you can see that you are actually 20m bellow the top of the mountain. As you cross the second crack, you will see a small pool. This is an ideal place to stop and relax a bit. If you are not tired yet, you can continue to the big pool: Vado de Los Patos, which is about 4km away from here, or you can turn back if this was enough for you. Before you continue, keep in mind that you will have to walk back on the same route, the same distance. If you have more energy and time to continue and you like challenges, then let’s go!
As you continue up in the Chillar river, in the breath-taking scenery the surface gets more uneven and challenging. You can make a ton of beautiful photos on the way to the big pool: Vado de Los Patos, which is the final destination of this river walk. The big pool is the perfect place to relax, swim and have a little massage under the small waterfall. You have about 8km walk behind you, so you totally deserve it! Have some drink and lunch with your family or friends before you head back.