Walks in Parque Nacional Cabañeros

The park is located in Castilla La Mancha, central Spain, about 2 hours drive south west of Madrid Airport and about 1 hour’s drive south of the fascinating historic city of Toledo.   

It is part of the Montes de Toledo range and the highest point is 1488 meters above sea level. Surrounding the park are vast areas of open plains called rañas dotted with trees. The name Cabañeros referes to the huts made of brushwood that shepherds used to occupy while tending their flocks. The park itself has a largely Mediterranean flora with a lare variety of oak trees including cork oaks. Surrounding the park are vast areas of olive plantations. There are rivers, gorges and waterfalls as well as a huge man-made lake-Embalse de Torre de Abraham-  in the east.

The climate is Mediterranean. There is very little chance of snow in the winter but the mid summer months can be extremely hot. Probably the best time to walk there would be March to June and mid September to November. We walked there in October 2015 and the temperatures were ideal at around 22ºC dropping at night to 14ºC. The weather was mostly sunny with very occasional light rain. There is plenty of wildlife to be seen. Deer can be seen particularly in the early morning or evening and September/October is the perfect time to see them. There are wild pig and in the skies Vultures, the Imperial Eagle and the short-toed eagle, to name but a few.

There are a number of small towns on the outskirts of the park- Horcajo de los Montes, Alcoba de los Montes, Retuerta del Bullaque all have accomodation options, bars, restaurants, banks etc. Navas de Estena, by far the most attractive, does have some limited accommodation possibilities and a couple of café/bars but little else. www.booking.com will throw up various accommodation options.

Park information offices can be found in most of the towns. Useful number is 926783297. Website is www.visitacabaneros.es. There are marked walks available throught the park though some driving will be involved. However the excellent and picturesque CM4017 road runs NE-SW through the centre of the park and makes accessing walk starts much simpler.  Most are self guided. However the walking area to the north west of the park is considered dangerous and has to be walked with a guide at no cost. The number above should be used to arrange where to meet and so on at least 24 hours in advance. The Entnological Museum in Horacajo de los Montes is well worth a visit to understand the historic background to the region.   

We have put together 5 hikes in the Cabañeros including some we have adapted. We hope they will give a good coverage of the contrasting beauty and patrimony of the place. With Toledo and Talavera (famous for its ceramic tiles) nearby, this is an interesting part of Spain to visit. Apart from walking, it will appeal to nature lovers in general and we hope that you will give it a try.

Jim Arymar

Parque Nacional Cabañeros


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