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The Enchanted Monte de la Torre Trail: Oak Forests & a Moorish Castle Along a Reservoir

Rosario Pérez | Photos: ©Fran Montes, ReachExtra

The Monte de la Torre Trail, which spans between Algeciras and Los Barrios, offers an impressive hike alongside a water reservoir which is fed into by the Garganta del Prior.

Monte de la Torre Trail Embalse del prior trail hiking los barrios algeciras

The Monte de la Torre Trail, which spans between Algeciras and Los Barrios, runs along a scenic water reservoir which makes for stunning photo opportunities and provides a freshness during the warm summer months… on your hike you’ll come across local cattle and a picnic area with beautiful Spanish countryside views at the centre point of the route.

Monte de la Torre Trail Embalse del prior trail hiking los barrios algeciras

If you plan to do the full trail, which is about a 4 hour hike spanning 12 kilometres, you’ll be happy to know that the paath is considered to be “low difficulty” and relatively linear – so you can bring your children along for the journey.

The trail starts approximately 2 kilometres from the Puente Grande, where you’ll find an information panel which will provide details as to the route ahead. Although you can go a little further along the dirt road at the entrance, the Club Hípico de Botafuegos is a good place to park.

Monte de la Torre Trail Embalse del prior trail hiking los barrios algeciras

Passing a cluster of farmhouses and stately homes among the lush forests of cork oaks and wild olive trees, you’ll reach the reservoir which is located between two well-wooded hills. The reservoir is fed by the waters of the nearby Garganta del Prior, which lies between the Canutos del Hoyo and Don Pedro.

From here, after skirting along the Finca Monte de la Torre via the Puerta Verde de Algeciras path, you will begin to ascend a hill which leads to the ruins of the Torre de Botafuegos.

The area bears the same name as the tower, located next to an old road which connects Algeciras with Los Barrios, and was once a 10 metre-high watchtower with two vaults and a square base – a traditional Arab or Mudejar caliphal style with a horseshoe arch at its entrance.

According to the Los Barrios Town Council Tourism Office: “its slopes are covered with a rugged cork oak forest that, under its shade, has an abundance of thick ferns, brambles and the Mediterranean scrub”.

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From this tower, which is the only one of its kind in the Bay of Gibraltar, you will be able to witness beautiful views of the countryside and the Palmones River, also known as the “river of the Cañas”, as well as a portion of an ancient Roman road.

From the top of the tower, you’ll have panoramic views of the Garganta de la Fuente Santa and the Garganta del Capitán, which is located at the Río de la Miel. Without a doubt, this is the perfect spot for a rest stop and get some unique photos before making your way back.

On days when the wind isn’t so strong, walking along the skirts of the reservoir, known as “El Prior” is ideal, where you can even find people fishing for carp, black-bass and barbels (so long as they have the appropriate permits).

Not too far from here, along the road which leads to Matavacas, you’ll come across the forest guard house.

Monte de la Torre Trail Embalse del prior trail hiking los barrios algeciras

We recommend that you maintain caution during your journey and be aware of the local cattle, because cows with calves are known to be defensive and we advise that you keep a distance.

You should also take into account that in periods of heavy rain, the reservoir is known to flood into some paths along the route and can even reach the long wooden bridge.

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