Enjoy Cool Outdoor Activities – Moon Gorge Granada
This excursion was on our must do outdoor activities list for several years. So you can imagine our delight when everything came together enabling us to go. At last in June 2021, we were able to travel to Restábal again to prepare Casa Tagomago for our summer guests. As usual there was lot to do, so our “free” days were not as many as we had hoped but it was a joy to stay in the house we love so much.
Outdoor Activities – Lecrín Valley Summer Walks
Towards the end of June a few days before we returned home, we took the bull by the horns and set out to the Barranco de Luna Gorge. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, just right for outdoor activities, especially for an excursion along a river bed.
Discovering the Barranco de Luna – Moon Gorge
The Barranco de Luna (Moon Gorge) is well hidden, you could drive by everyday and still not know where it is. The ravine itself is only a small portion of the gorge which begins above Albuñuelas. Created by the River Albuñuelas or River Santo. which join the River Dúrcal and the River Torrente before flowing into the Beznar Dam, just below Restábal.
On leaving Restábal towards Melegís, turn left to the charming village of Saleres. Follow this road towards Albuñuelas. This takes you past the entrance to Saleres itself, if you haven’t already been why not stop off there on the way back?
Not far out of Saleres you’ll come to the cemetery on your right. Park the car here. Turn right, back onto the main road and walk up hill for about 200 metres until you come to a cart track on your right with a board marking the route down to the gorge.
Recently approved by the Andaluz Mountaineering Federation, the route is circular and clearly marked by the typical round poles with white and green lines and the route number, SL-A 287. This is the recommended path and it’s worth following it to avoid climbing up the very steep slope on the return trip to the cemetery. Check out the route in Wikiloc
The walk down is a spectacle in itself, with amazing views over the surrounding countryside towards Sierra Nevada. At the end of the steep incline turn right, you’ll come upon the ravine gradually, walking through ancient olive groves and terraces. We wondered where the river water was!
The first view of the canyon walls is breathtaking but there’s more to come. It soon becomes evident that you are in a karst ravine, part of an ancient coral reef developed by the sediment of the Tortonian age (11 million years ago). There is evidence the Valle de Lecrín was submerged under the Tethys Ocean. Until 8 million years ago, when the creation of Sierra Nevada transformed the valley into an island, known as the Isla de Tórtola by geologists. As you progress along the ravine keep your eyes open for marine fossils embedded in the rock and sediment.
Suddenly, after climbing down some rough steps, the river appears. Watch out for the mud, it’s slippery. This is where the fun begins. Take it slowly so as to enjoy everything to the full. Flowers and birds are everywhere, the air is cool and pleasant.
For several metres the going is easy, ankle deep water and the occasional small waterfall. Gradually the boulders, fallen from the walls, appear and these one has to scramble over. We found our hiking sticks invaluable, they serve to gauge the depth of the water on the other side of a boulder. There are numerous deeper holes in the riverbed and you can’t always see the bottom. We often had to clamber up the rock, sit on top of it and slide down the other side! At times, you may need someone to catch you on the way down, I did!
With all this exertion and fun, don’t forget to stop and look upwards. The height of the walls is amazing and the colours in the rock beautiful. The ravine itself is only about 700 metres long, it seems more but we wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
At the end of the ravine, there’s a narrow and overgrown path leading up into a field. Turn left here and follow the path through the olive groves back up to the cemetery and your car. The whole trip is about 3 km.
Outdoor Activites – Safety First
Never try this excursion after heavy rain, during the snow melt or when a storm is forecast. Wear comfortable clothes and good walking shoes that can get wet. Take a hat and some water, the route down is in full sun. Considered apt for children, I feel it might be tiring for small ones and for those having to carry them! I often had the water up to mid thigh.
When to Go
The best time is in late spring, summer and autumn. Depending on rainfall and weather conditions, of course. The depth of the water will depend on recent weather and the time of the year.
There are more summer walks to enjoy in the Lecrin Valley, many that we haven’t been able to do yet. For more details and other outdoor activities visit: Turismo Valle de Lecrín, the website for the Lecrín Valley Tourist Association, which we belong to.
Read more about Nature in the Lecrín Valley in our Blog
Post and photos by Susan and Ana at Casa Tagomago