Regions: Sierra Mágina
Altitude: 2.167 m
The Sierra Mágina Natural Park is a natural area located in the centre of the province of Jaén. It covers an area of 19,962 hectares and is one of the most beautiful natural parks in the province.
It has been declared a Natural Park since 1989, a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) since 2003 and a Special Area of Conservation since 2012.
Sierra Mágina stands on the edge of the Jaén countryside, surrounded by the sea of olive trees that characterises the province. Its peaks offer magnificent panoramic views. There is even the highest peak in the province, Pico Mágina, at 2,167 metres.
Abrupt rock formations and harsh climatology characterise Sierra Mágina, which has made it an uninhabitable place for man. But every cloud has a silver lining and, thanks to this circumstance, Sierra Mágina maintains a good state of conservation where you can enjoy a natural and traditional environment.
It is home to a great diversity of landscapes, which can be discovered through activities such as hiking or cycle touring. The Sierra Mágina Natural Park is home to the longest footpath in Spain, the Adelfal de Cuadros footpath. From there, you have spectacular panoramic views of the Zurreón waterfall, a waterfall that freezes in winter. There are also other routes where you can enjoy the Pinar de Cánava pine forest, which has been declared a Natural Monument. This is located in a small forest of exceptionally large, centuries-old Aleppo pines.
Flora and fauna
One of the special features of the Sierra Mágina Natural Park is the possibility of finding species that are extremely rare and unique in the world, such as the Jurinea fotqueri, a type of thistle that is specific to this natural park.
Sierra Mágina has more than 1,300 catalogued plant species. Furthermore, as we go upwards, we will come across different plant species. In the oleanders of the Cuadros river, for example, we find the typical riverside vegetation with poplars and reed galleries. At higher altitudes, we move on to landscapes of pine forests, gall oaks, steelwoods, holm oaks and bushes. On the peaks, already in the high mountains, we find specimens of junipers and junipers.
The fauna of the Sierra Mágina Natural Park is very varied, with 27 different species of mammals, endemic insects and endangered species. Thus, it is not surprising to be able to glimpse species of wild boar, martens, foxes and mountain goats, representative fauna of the Mediterranean mountain. There is also a good concentration of birds of prey, such as the golden eagle, and the presence of vultures and bearded vultures is very frequent. As a curiosity, Sierra Mágina has the highest concentration of golden eagles in Europe.
Municipalities that make up the park
The Sierra Mágina Natural Park covers 9 municipalities with a population of approximately 36,000 inhabitants.
The municipalities that form it are:
- Albanchez de Mágina
- Bedmar and Garcíez
- Bélmez de la Moraleda
There are other municipalities that are included in the area of influence of the natural park, but without being protected areas. These municipalities are Cabra de Santo Cristo, Campillo de Arenas, Cárcheles, La Guardia de Jaén, Larva, Mancha Real and Noalejo.
Of all the hectares it covers, 20% of the surface area is used for agricultural purposes. Forest occupies 36%, scrubland 34% and pasture 10%.
The Sierra Mágina Natural Park is one of the best destinations in the province of Jaén to enjoy activities for the whole family or for the more adventurous.
The complicated relief of Sierra Mágina allows the practice of numerous sports and birdwatching. The latter allows you to catch a glimpse of species such as the golden eagle and Bonelli"s eagle, the red rock thrush and the white-winged blackbird, and even the occasional mountain goat.
Hiking is the main activity in the Sierra de Mágina Natural Park. It offers many hiking routes to contemplate every corner of this marvellous enclave. It is also one of the best ways to get to know the park.
This natural park offers the possibility of practising nature sports such as hiking, mountaineering, trail running, climbing, cycling, archery or orienteering. Without a doubt, it offers an endless number of activities!
It is also an ideal place for potholing, given the number of passages and cavities that exist due to the erosion of water in the limestone rocks. On the other hand, if you want to feel as free as a bird, you can always go paragliding. This is one of the region"s star sports, as the rugged landscape of the sierra contrasts with the sea of olive trees that surrounds it, creating a spectacle to be admired.
After visiting this natural park, don"t forget to take a stroll through its villages to fill yourself with culture and history. This park was a natural frontier between the arctic kingdoms.
Outstanding natural areas
- Source of the river Arbuniel
- The river Cuadros and its oleander.
- Fuenmayor Recreational Area.
- San Lucía Recreational Area
- Spring of the fountain of the Ermita de Fuensanta Hermitage.
- Pegalajar Pond and Fuente de la Reja Fountain
- Spring of Cánava
- Aguadero Stream
- Hill of San Cristóbal
- Cortijada Mata Bejid
- Cabrera Cave
- Adelfar del río Cuadros
- Caldera del Tío Lobo and el Zurreón
- Road to Cabra de Santo Cristo
- Cave-Houses of Pegalajar
- Castle of Velmez de la Moral
- Castle of Jimena
- Castle of Jódar
- Castle of Albanchez
- Castle of Solera
There are 15 trails:
- Adelfal de Cuadros (Bedmar y Garcíez)
- Caño del Aguadero (Bedmar y Garcíez)
- Castle of Albanchez (Albanchez de Mágina)
- Castle of Mata Bejid (Cambil)
- El Peralejo (Cambil). This is a short, low-level trail, suitable for children. It allows us to enjoy the richness and variety of species that the Mediterranean forest represents, with numerous shrubs.
- Fuenmayor (Torres)
- Gibralberca (Cambil)
- La Cueva de la Graja (Jimena)
- Las Viñas (Bedmar y Garcíez)
- Pinar de Cánava (Jimena)
- Puerto de la Mata (Cambil). This route takes you through one of the best preserved mountains in Sierra Mágina, the public mountain Mata Bejid. The main element is the dehesa, a cleared forest of holm oaks and gall oaks of majestic bearing that are interspersed with mountain pastures and numerous shrubs typical of the Mediterranean scrubland.
- The Gibralberca path allows you to see the change in vegetation depending on the altitude you are at. In the lower areas, crops predominate, mainly olive groves. At intermediate altitudes, there are mixed forests of holm oaks, gall oaks and aceres mixed with abundant shrubs, such as juniper, cornicabra, juniper and hawthorns. In higher mountain areas, the vegetation consists mainly of creeping junipers or hawthorns, with some areas of laricio pines, such as in the Pinar del Gargantón.
- Sierra de la Cruz (Jódar)
- Ascent to the Hoyo de la Laguna (Bélmez de la Moraleda)
- Ascent to Pico Mágina and Miramundos (Huelma). From the Miramundos peak, we can contemplate a panoramic view of almost the entire province of Jaén, even reaching Granada and its Sierra Nevada.
- Veredón-Mojón Blanco (Pegalajar)