The Nerja river walk, or the “Cahorros” as it is known in Nerja is an excursion, that requires a certain level of preparation, up the Chillar river. I would say this excursion is a medium difficulty walk, though if you wish to only reach the first pool then it’s considerably easier and more people can take on this part of the walk.
The Nerja river walk (Río chillar) – What you should know
Before you start the walk up the Chillar river, I recommend you take note of this important information I have to offer. Firstly, keep in mind that it is a natural park and you should do your best to maintain the area so it can stay like it is for years to come.
*Keep in mind that the distance and time I am posting here is from the recommended car park.
- Distance: If you wish to complete the Nerja river walk (Río Chillar), all the way to “Vado de Los Patos” you will walk for about 8km to get there and another 8km to get back (through the same route).
- Speed: The rhythm of the walk is slow. 80% of the walk is on the actual Chillar river which means there will be water. Normally this water will cover your ankles, but it has been known to reach people’s knees before. Walk with caution!
- Time: If you wish to reach the end of the Nerja river walk (Vado de Los Patos), you are looking at a 6 or 7 hour walk (there and back) depending on how many stops were made and your rhythm.
- Opening hours: It is open all the time but we recommend you set off early in the morning to avoid all the people and come back before it gets dark.
- Difficulty:The walk up to the “Vado de Los Patos” is a medium difficulty walk, you do not need to know how to climb. That said, you must bear in mind that it is an area of difficult access for emergency services, son please be careful. If you are going with children then I recommend that you walk to the first pool (Los Cahorros) which is about a 5km walk (there and back). This walk is much easier.
- Recommended time of year: I would recommend going between March and October simply because of the weather and how deep the river channel will be. That said, it is a natural park and you can go whenever you like.
- Take care of the environment: Because this area is a natural park, we must fight to maintain it. It is completely forbidden to throw rubbish into the river or anywhere else for that matter. Also, there is a moral obligation to pick up all the rubbish we see, even if it is not ours. You cannot start any fires at all in this area. We must protect the environment which means that it is also prohibited to pick fruit or flowers.
The Nerja river walk (Río Chillar) – What you should take
On top of what I have already told you about this excursion, I also recommend:
- Footwear: You should choose comfortable sporty footwear that can get wet, and that will protect your ankle. Keep in mind that you are going to walk on wet and slippery stones. We do not recommend using flip-flops or sandals!! We also do not recommend using mountain shoes because when they get wet they become very heavy, It is important to know that it is prohibited to throw your shoes onto the electricity line after you have completed the walk.
- Hiking staff: One of these could come in handy at certain parts of the walk, especially the slippery parts. Not mandatory though.
- Suncream and a hat: Highly recommended, especially in July and August. It is a long walk and the sun is always present.
- Food, water, sport drinks: You should pack very well before you set off because you will be in the middle of nature.
- Camera: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone, take lots of pictures with the local flora so you can treasure this moment forever.
- Bag or waterproof bag: I recommend the later because, although the water will never cover you completely, you may slip and you don’t want your personal belonging (or food!) to get wet.
The Nerja river walk (Río Chillar) – Cahorros – Vado de Los Patos
Now that you have read everything you should know about the walk, and you are sure about what you are going to take with you on the walk it’s my turn to describe the walk to you.
I will let know that although there are a few kilometers to cover, the walk is very satisfying. The scenery you will take in during the walk is more than worth the effort.
I am going to describe the walk up to “Vado de Los Patos”, but you should know that when you reach this point you can actually continue until you arrive at the “dam” or the “Imán” country house. The route from the river to the dam is a considerably longer walk that requires more effort and climbing skills. (We will cover this walk in another article in the future).
The walk begins on the asphalt road “los Almachares”. In this link, I explain how to get there from the recommended car parks. It is recommended to park there so that when you get back you will not find that you have been fined for illegal parking. Parking is illegal on this asphalt road.
Continue straight on down this road, you will be on the right track if you walk under a motorway bridge.
You will find a crossing with another road but continue straight on. Carry on till you arrive at a concrete factory, where the asphalt road ends and a stone road begins.
When you reach the barrier shown in the photo, you will have reached the natural park. It is about a 1’5km walk from the car parks. If it seems boring at this moment, don’t worry because you haven’t even begun! The good stuff is just about to begin, as soon as you pass the barrier you will be in the middle of nature.
Upon arrival at this point, you will see a massive esplanade and a small river. The river is now our guide, so follow it. The channel is quite small to begin with and you can walk beside it. Enjoy the scenery and the local flora like the canes, the reeds and the hearts of palms.
You will later reach a steep ramp that has a hydroelectric power plant by it. This spot is known as “third factory” or “big jump”. It is a very nice spot to take your first photo and there is also a little pool so the little ones can cool down a little. This point is about 2km in.
If there has been lots of rain during the year, this area can be overflowing with water. If this is the situation, be careful because it will be slippery.
When we reach this point, we will have no choice but to get our feet and ankles wet. Some years the water has even reached people’s knees. After this point, the scenery is very green and abundant. The river’s channel will widen and everything is nicer.
You must be careful though because the stones are wet and you could fall.
After a 4km walk, you will reach what is for me, the nicest part of the whole walk (Los Cahorros). The river passes through 3 cracks in the mountain, it’s an amazing sight! When you go through these cracks you can touch these walls with your own hands (the cracks are just over a meter wide). If you look up, you will see that the height of these cracks is over 20m.
Scenery like this is not easily found in Spain.
As you cross the second crack in the mountain you will see a small pool (half a meter deep depending on the rain). This is an ideal place to stop and relax for a while so you can continue this walk. You’re at the perfect spot to decide if you continue on to the big pool (Vado de Los Patos) which is about 4km away from where you are or to turn back. Consider that you still have to walk back, so keep it in mind.
If you still have the energy to continue, carry on.
If you decide to continue walking the Nerja river walk you will soon discover that the walk has suddenly got a little bit more complicated. But the scenery just keeps getting better so make the most of it and take as many photos as you can!
Soon you will arrive a very large rock, which means that you are close to the end. There is only about 100m left from here to arrive at the waterfall and the pool.
ou have finally arrived at your destination! (Vado de Los Patos). Enjoy it! It’s the perfect moment to relax, swim and have a little massage under the small waterfall. You have walked about 8km so you deserve it. Drink some water and have some lunch with your family or friends.
NOTE: if you are allergic to wasps or bees, please be careful because they are some areas where these insects are very present.
As you have seen, the Nerja river walk (Río Chillar) is a perfect way to spend the day. It’s also a great way of doing sport while you enjoy the breath-taking scenery. You don’t get to see this everyday. Please stay safe!
Where to park?
If you wish to take part in this excursion, the Nerja river walk then I recommend that you park your car in one of the two free car parks that are very close to the walk. Parking is forbidden all along the Almachares road and police cars often pass by and fine those who didn’t obey the laws