At the foot of the Sierra of Alcarama, in the foothills of the Iberian system, between limestone cliffs formed by the tireless action, over the years, of the river Alhama on its way between Aguilar and Cervera del Río Alhama, in La Rioja Baja is the Path Green of the Alhama.
The valley of the river Alhama, from the Arab 'al-hamma', the thermal spring, offers a singular landscape with the contrast of the striking ochres of the steep slopes, dry and covered with holm oaks and Mediterranean scrub, and the green valley of the poplars and orchards that border the river. The griffon vultures, which form the largest colony in La Rioja, accompany us during the walk. Nature, culture and history are intermingled in this route through the Alhama valley, home to countless species of both animals and plants. This pleasant path of 12.4 km takes us along the right bank of the Alhama River, a plain surrounded by steep slopes and rocky slopes next to the spectacular landscape of poplars and orchards on the banks of the river, a perfect ecosystem that numerous species take advantage of.
The path starts next to the spa of Albotea, famous for the properties of its waters, heading towards Cervera del Río Alhama where we can contemplate the remains of the castle of Muslim origin and the old houses excavated in the rock, vestiges of the ancient origin of the villages through which the road passes, border between kingdoms. From Cervera the route partly coincides with the GR-93 in its stage from Cervera to Valverde, after saying goodbye to it our way goes through limestone cliffs, home to the colonies of griffon vultures. In this section of the way a couple of viewpoints offer us the opportunity to contemplate the magnificent landscape through which this route runs. Sample of the years of history that we contemplate, is the archaeological site of Contrebia Leucade, next to which we pass, and stands out for the spectacular defensive constructions that this ancient Iberian city, strategically located, had.
The road marked by several recreational areas and a few benches where you can rest and enjoy the environment, reaches Inestrillas, after crossing the river Alhama, in this town dependent on the nearby Aguilar del Rio Alhama, we can see the semi-excavated houses in the cliff that protects it, belonging to an ancient medieval town that inhabited it. From Inestrillas the road continues between orchards in search in its final stretch, to reach the access road to Aguilar where it ends, although we have the opportunity to lengthen it by traveling the few 3 km that separate us from this town.
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To get to Cervera del Río Alhama by private transport, we can do so from Alfaro, passing through the nearby Navarrese towns of Corella and Fitero, following from the latter the LR-285 that joins shortly before Cervera with the LR-123 that comes from Arnedo and that will take us to Cervera del Río Alhama. Also by this same road but from Valverde, on the N-113, passing through Cabretón we can get to Cervera. The LR-284 starts at Cervera del Río Alhama and connects it with the next towns of Inestrillas and Aguilar del Río Alhama. Cervera del Río Alhama is connected to Calahorra, Alfaro and Tudela every day with different timetables by means of interurban service lines. A little before arriving to Cervera del Río Alhama by the LR-123 that arrives from Arnedo or Fitero, is the detour towards the spa of Albotea, this place has an ample parking where to be able to leave our vehicle, another option is to begin the route in some of the localities by where it passes, either in Cervera or in Inestrillas to which we will arrive from Cervera following the LR-284 that joins Cervera del Río Alhama with Aguilar del Río Alhama.
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Comfortable journey by tracks and paths in quite good condition, finding us with a short journey by asphalt.
We pass through a couple of localities where we will find fountains, in the itinerary we also have water points, but we should not trust us since in summer the zone registers strong temperatures and except for the section near Inestrillas the shady zones are not many, in addition we will pass through a couple of places in which the access to the river is relatively easy, although we will have to value the force with which the flow flows.
Apart from the pets that we will find in the towns through which the route passes, in the various farms through which we pass there are guard dogs, usually in closed enclosures, in Inestrillas on the stretch that goes to the road to Aguilar, the path passes through a farm of cows and horses, being able to find some along the way.
The route begins next to the Parking (0h 00min) of the spa of Cervera del Río Alhama, just at the entrance to the car park we find a dirt road that climbs a few meters up the side of the spa to a junction, where we will find some informative signs.
Following the track that turns right at the crossroads, begins the Path Green of the Alhama, leaving to our backs the building of the spa the itinerary enters little by little in the valley of the Alhama. On one side the orchards on the banks of the river and on the other the slope of the mountain accompany us on our walk.
In this first part of the route, along a wide track, we come across a couple of paths that, as we head towards Cervera, arrive on our right. Following the main path we pass, alternating narrow areas with others of greater amplitude, next to limestone cliffs, true vertical walls.
Shortly after leaving behind the second crossroads, the river approaches our side, showing us a small waterfall and accompanying us a few meters in the wildest area of this part of the route.
The winding path, protected by a wooden railing for much of the route, brings us closer to the first locality on the route, passing by a raft of water for irrigation and the vertical walls carved for years by the tireless work of the river Alhama.
At the entrance to the town there is a first recreational area, equipped with benches and tables, the path leads to the town centre of Cervera del Río Alhama (1h 00min), next to the bridge that crosses the river, continuing along the street that goes up to the left, leaving this bridge behind us to continue along it a few steps until the second street on the right, where we turn off.
Continuing straight on along this street and almost at the end of it, before crossing the river, some signs indicate that the path turns to the left, to leave Cervera through a narrow and short street, sharing this part of the route with the GR-93.
As soon as we turn off the road begins a strong ramp that makes us gain height quickly, asphalted and without an excessive length, soon returns the comfortable run along the winding dirt track. Shortly after overcoming this slope we have the possibility, by means of some stairs, to go up to the viewpoint from where we can contemplate the magnificent landscape that conforms Cervera of the River Alhama and the valley of the Alhama.
Continuing the more relaxed itinerary, leaving Cervera little by little behind us, we arrive at the place where we bid farewell to the GR-93, which continues its course along the trail that climbs the mountain through, while we continue straight along the comfortable track.
The proximity of the banks of the river means that we find some private estates, an example of this is at the next junction where the path continues between two of them, leaving on the right a path that goes up from the other bank.
From here the route winds through torrents and passes spectacular stone walls with large cavities drilled by the river and taken advantage of by man. This area of the somewhat more decomposed path runs through the Alhama valley, a gentle and undulating rise and fall that crosses the steep terrain through which it passes.
The river, clear protagonist, returns to greet us when arriving at another ample zone where we can enjoy the capricious waterfalls that this one draws to save an slope in its course, as well as a recreational area with tables and benches.
In this place, the footpath is crossed with a path that comes from the other bank of the river and goes up the wide torrent that we leave to our left, to continue straight up the course of the valley, where the slopes of the mountain become a little softer and more rounded.
The wide footpath leads to the plain and wide valley of farms and poplars to reach the height of a promontory where other stairs allow us to climb to the viewpoint and be able to contemplate the nearby archaeological site of Contrebia Leucade. Once converted into a wide dirt road, and after passing by the archaeological site, we arrive at the Recreational Area of Contrebia Leucade (2h 10min), where we can recover our strength for the remaining journey.
Leaving on the right the bridge that leads to the welcome centre of Contrebia, the path continues entering the forest of poplars and ash trees to go up, through a very different landscape, the relative short distance that separates us from our next destination. Before we find ourselves with a road that we must cross.
After crossing it, the path continues along the river passing by the municipal swimming pools and arriving at the wooden bridge through which we will pass to the other side of the Alhama and we will enter Inestrillas (2h 50min).
The entrance street to the town ends in the main one, where we continue on the left, going straight on along this street we will leave Inestrillas, the road goes along its last stretch marked by orchards until we reach the meeting of the road that leads to Aguilar del Río Alhama, where the end of the path is (3h 15min), being able to travel along this road the scarce 3 km that separate us from Aguilar.
Total distance. 12,4 Km
Total time. 3h 15min
This time does not include the ascent to the viewpoints, nor do we approach by road to Aguilar del Río Alhama, so to do so we must add about 10min and 45min more respectively.
Time of year Any time
We must take into account the strong temperatures recorded in the area in summer, in continuous periods of rain can be detached some stone easily.
Required equipment. Nothing special
Footwear and sportswear according to the time of year and the weather, cap, canteen, sunscreen and some walking stick. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
Slope acumulate. 123 m Slope positive. 75 m Slope negative. 43 m
A route without great physical demands, practically flat, except for the ramp that goes from Cervera to Inestrillas, the rest is not a major complication, with the possibility of accessing various points of the itinerary in our vehicle and covering it to our liking.
Severity of the environment
No difficulty, although as it is an area with high temperatures we must be attentive to the water reserves that we carry.
The paths and trails are generally in good condition well defined and signposted, the route is largely marked by a wooden railing and milestones with the km we take.
|1-Parking||0h 00min||486 m||0 Km||30T 588635 4653769|
|2-Cervera del Río Alhama||1h 00min||536 m||3,9 Km||30T 586969 4650956|
|3-Recreational area of Contrebia||2h 10min||575 m||8,2 Km||30T 585121 4647838|
|4-Inestrillas||2h 50min||595 m||10,9 Km||30T 584160 4646928|
|5-End of the Path||3h 15min||605 m||12,4 Km||30T 582936 4646605|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
This sketch of the route is not made to scale nor does it contain all the information relating to the area, it is merely indicative.
This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrantes 281-4 y 319-2, 1:25.000".
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems with the reception of the GPS signal. In any case the tracks are always approximate. SENDITUR encourages you to use the new technologies within your reach, using them as support and consultation in your activity, not basing the realization and orientation of the same only and exclusively on them, since they may see their functioning altered by very diverse causes, not functioning correctly and their indications may not be precise.
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The attributes of the waters of this area have always been highly recognized for their healing properties. These baths were very famous, the presence of gases, sulfates and carbonates make them especially suitable to treat skin and respiratory problems.
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The archaeological site of Contrebia Leucade, where the ruins of the ancient Iberian city are located, stands out for the spectacular defensive constructions found, a sign of a past marked by continuous struggles for control due to its strategic location.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 18-04-2015. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.
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