A unique natural environment of great ornithological interest
Monfragüe National Park extends north of Cáceres, nestled between the mountains that make up the park and the Tiétar and Tajo rivers that feed it, just a stone's throw from Plasencia or Torrejón el Rubio. The meadows, the many streams that run through it and the steep cliffs are the unbeatable home chosen by the various species that inhabit it, making it a territory of incalculable ecological value thanks in part to its rich biodiversity.
The route of Trail of La Tajadilla with a total of 9.2 km starts from the coquettish Villareal de San Carlos, founded some years ago by King Carlos III. From there we will soon see ourselves travelling along the borders of small orchards such as the Huerto del Ojaranzo where the Almez of the Lugar Nuevo awaits us, an illustrious tree that is unique to Extremadura. The river Tiétar claims its part of prominence, since it will be our inseparable companion during almost all the route. The Viewpoint of El Serrano, allows us to enjoy a magnificent panoramic one of the mouth of the Tiétar in the Tagus, another one of the gentlemen of the park but that except in this instant will remain hidden behind the hill that separates it of the Tiétar. Just before reaching one of the small oasis we will pass through, we will be offered the opportunity to return to Villareal de San Carlos leaving our route reduced to a mere 2.8 km, ideal for those who only want to take a short walk. The ash trees and alders bring all their freshness to the narrow beds of the streams where they are concentrated, offering us a magnificent place to cool down on hot days.
The El Alisar Fountain and the Three Pipes Fountain are tempting corners where we can take a break and recover our strength to head towards the impressive Jumps of Torrejón Dam. The meanders that the river draws together with the wide ravines through which the small streams that feed it run, give shape to a landscape populated by vultures, griffon vultures or kites, without forgetting the rest of the fauna that live here. The La Tajadilla viewpoint not only marks the return point of the route, but is also one of the best places to observe the daily life of these birds, escorted by the marked silhouette of the nearby dam that controls the course of the Tietar River. On our way back, we will surely succumb to the charms of the fountains we passed by, before reaching the fork, where we will have to decide on the path by which we will return to Villareal de San Carlos, being somewhat shorter the one that does not pass by the viewpoint and the singular tree.
Many years ago, when wolves could still be seen and heard in the lands of Monfragüe, there was a fierce wolf hunter whose fame was known in the region. In one of his raids he killed a whole pack. Proud of his feat, he prepared to enjoy a copious dinner right there with his assistants when he was surprised to see a small wolf cub come out from under his mother's body and go into the forest. It is said that the hunter dedicated all the rest of his life to try and catch the lucky little wolf, without ever managing to do so. Some say that the wolf still walks around in the mountains without being seen or hunted.
To get to Villareal de San Carlos we have to follow the EX-208 road that joins Plasencia, Torrejón el Rubio and Trujillo. There are other roads, such as the one that crosses the Monfragüe National Park from east to west from La Bazagona, a town located next to the highway that connects Plasencia with Naval Moral de la Mata. Once there we will have a wide parking area in the high part of the town from which we will be able to access the beginning of the route.
We cannot forget that we are in a national park and therefore it has its specific regulations for pets, although on the other hand many of the rules it establishes are common sense. Otherwise, and as long as our dog usually accompanies us on our excursions, he should have no problem enjoying this trekking route.
It is important to pay attention to the heat to avoid discomfort, although there is more than one source along the route should not miss some water and food especially if the sun is tight.
It is not strange to meet the animals that live in the park and we are not only talking about the birds, but also small amphibians, deer ... which besides not bothering them is not very advisable to approach especially in times of reproduction.
This trekking route in the National Park of Monfragüe starts next to the interpretation centre of the park, next to the church of Our Lady of the Socorro in Villareal de San Carlos (0h 00min).
We descend following the layout of the main street of the town, which will take us to the point where some of the routes that run through the park begin.
Right at the end of the houses, we will find ourselves with the obligation to choose between the two possibilities that are presented to us.
The first is to turn left and recover the lost height, following at all times the fence that borders the property that borders Villareal de San Carlos.
The second one forces us to disregard the yellow marks and the explanations in the brochures and continue to lose height while we accompany the red route, that of the Castle of Monfragüe, in this part of its journey. Both options join again later on, allowing us to adjust the route to our taste.
We continue to descend following the marked path near the road where we arrived here.
This path, of course, is marked with both red and yellow marks of our route. This will force us to be careful not to get confused at the few crossroads we will pass.
We quickly reach the detour that will take us to the singular tree of Extremadura, which awaits us a little further on.
This detour can also be followed by those who are travelling the red route, since after visiting the Almez of Lugar Nuevo (0h 10min), they have the possibility of returning to their route without going back.
After contemplating such a singular tree we will follow our route well delimited by the fence that marks it out.
We quickly arrive at the crossroads where, now we will say goodbye to the red route to go to our next stop. This steep stretch makes us lose altitude rather quickly.
Soon we will reach the height of a small stream which we will cross thanks to an improvised bridge.
As expected, as soon as we cross the creek we will start to regain the lost height. This part of the route compensates our effort with the first panoramic views of the Tietar River and its mouth in the Tagus.
The trail is conditioned in some areas, so we should not have major problems to move forward.
The slope seems to be coming to an end, at least for now, just as the Viewpoint of El Serrano (0h 20min) emerges before us.
After having enjoyed this magnificent balcony we will take the path that we left to access the viewpoint. This area of the route, which is much gentler in terms of its physical demands, takes us through a wide ravine leaving the river where it dies behind us.
The vegetation that provided us with some shade has practically disappeared leaving us at the mercy of the relentless sun.
After a good while following the narrow trail that crosses the slope of the hill we are bordering, it seems to lead us to the bottom of the ravine.
Just before arriving next to the stream that runs through the ravine, we find the Bifurcation (0h 30min) where the other side of the yellow route joins us. Giving us the possibility of closing the circle and returning by it again until Villareal de San Carlos (0h 45min), having covered a simple and entertaining circular route of hiking of hardly 2,8 Km of distance.
We continue with our Trail of La Tajadilla crossing the small wooden bridge that allows us to cross the creek.
Once again we are faced with uncomfortable ramps that make us regain some of the lost height. The yellow marks and the footprints on the road leave no room for doubt when it comes to following the right course.
The continuous and marked ups and downs are a fact when having to overcome the different creeks that feed the nearby river.
In this part of our route we coincide with the Tajo Natural Way, so its marks join those of our route.
After a while we arrive at a new crossroads that indicates the proximity of our next objective. We go down the bad road the stretch that separates us from the Fountain of El Alisar (0h 40min).
Here, apart from enjoying the freshness that the place transmits, we must cross the small course of the creek that feeds it.
We advanced with the uncertainty of knowing if we would have to face the steep ramps of the road that, as we approached the fountain we had just left behind, we saw on our right.
Our fears are confirmed and we see ourselves striving to move forward with every step we take.
Luckily the punishment does not last long, since halfway up the slope a narrow trail rescues us from this forced work.
With almost no unevenness, we travel this quieter route in the pleasant company of the nearby Tiétar River.
Once again we find ourselves facing a steep descent, a sign of the nearby creek where the next fountain we will visit is waiting for us.
The refreshing shade of the trees that surround the Fountain Three Caños (0h 50min) invite us to enjoy this place without haste.
We left behind the place, with the idea of facing a new steep slope.
Nothing is further from the truth, just to the right of the esplanade where the track that descends from the nearby road ends, the trail begins where we must continue.
This last part of the route also overcomes some creeks, although it does not have such marked unevenness as the other one.
The trail allows us to clearly observe the itinerary it follows as it goes up the course of the river. A new ravine forces us to descend to find the best place to cross it.
And as it could not be otherwise, after doing so we will regain the height we lost. This part of the route, totally at the mercy of the sun, offers no major difficulties as long as we do not abandon the path that guides us.
The vegetation, in few occasions, seems to want to recover the lost ground with the footpath.
After having contemplated the riverbed more or less far away, the trail leads us towards it to go up its course to the vicinity of the dam that controls it. From now on, the trail runs halfway up the hillside with the nearby company of the Tiétar River.
In this section we are also not free from the continuous ups and downs, although much softer than those surpassed so far.
You can already see the silhouette of the dam we are heading towards and the imposing wall that separates us from the Tagus riverbed on our right.
After a long walk, we reached the decomposed section of the trail that goes up to the La Tajadilla recreational area.
This ramp becomes a little bit harder than expected, but in return we can enjoy a pleasant recreational area and the panoramic view it offers. The Viewpoint of La Tajadilla (1h 20min) allows us to contemplate the imposing work of engineering that is the Torrejón dam, and the cliff that resists the thrust of the two rivers that fit it, offering an unbeatable habitat for the different species that populate it.
From here the route that brought us to the viewpoint awaits us, a route that will return us following our steps to the bifurcation (2h 15min), where we will be able to cover the part of the route that we discarded at the beginning and that will take us to Villareal de San Carlos (2h 30min).
The different options offered by the area allow us to adapt the route to our taste.
The biggest difference can be found depending on the path we follow at the beginning and end of the route since if we go and return by the route that does not pass through the unique tree we can reduce it by almost 30min at the cost of losing one of the most interesting areas of the route.
There are different attractions throughout the year that justify a visit to Monfragüe National Park. The animals that live there or the flow of the rivers that run through it are some of the main factors that condition many of the people who visit it. The heat also plays a role, especially if our intention is to take a long walk.
Although we will pass by two fountains that normally have a flow, it is not too much to add some water to the food that will undoubtedly allow us to make better use of some of the rest areas that we will find on the route. Trekking shoes and appropriate clothing are certainly also an excellent option. The camera and binoculars will give us an additional plus by bringing us closer to the different corners of the route and the fauna that inhabits them. The walking poles will be good allies without forgetting the cap, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect us from the sun. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
We are facing a route that, although it does not have a great distance or considerable unevenness or duration, does require us to have a reasonable physical condition to which we must add a certain calm on the ramps that we will find so that these do not pass too much bill. Be careful on hot days, this factor can harden the route considerably.
Severity of the environment
As long as we do not abandon the marked route and the conditions are appropriate, we should not encounter any significant difficulties. However, it is important to pay attention to the streams and the roughest areas of the trail. It is also interesting, especially at certain times of the year, that we can count on the flow of the river and the state of the dam.
Marked at all times, the greatest complication may come from the coincidences with other routes in the park whose marks may mislead us or make us hesitate. It is also important to be clear about the route we are going to follow to get to and from Villareal de San Carlos, as that is where we may have the most doubts.
|1-Villarreal de San Carlos||0:00h||315m||0Km||29S 754127 4415043|
|2-Almez of Lugar Nuevo||0:10h||281m||0.6Km||29S 754446 4414743|
|3-El Serrano Viewpoint||0:20h||271m||1.2Km||29S 754998 4414554|
|4-Bifurcation||0:30h||248m||1.7Km||29S 755000 4414957|
|5-El Alisar Fountain||0:40h||271m||2.3Km||29S 755410 4415081|
|6-Tres Caños Fountain||0:50h||277m||2.8Km||29S 755875 4415102|
|7-La Tajadilla Viewpoint||1:20h||230m||4.9Km||30S 243727 4414101|
|8-Tres Caños Fountain||1:55h||277m||7Km||29S 755875 4415102|
|9-El Alisar Fountain||2:05h||271m||7.5Km||29S 755410 4415081|
|10Bifurcation||2:15h||248m||8.1Km||29S 755000 4414957|
|11-Villarreal de San Carlos||2:30h||315m||9.2Km||29S 754127 4415043|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
Slope +: 386m
Slope -: 386m
Maximum altitude: 315m
Minimum altitude: 215m
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 "Cuadrante 623-3 y 623-4, 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.
Un paseo muy agradable.
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Meeting place for art, life, stone and magic
One of the most representative ensembles of the Renaissance in Extremadura
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In addition to being a National Park, Monfragüe is also considered a Biosphere Reserve and Special Protection Area for Birds, the current ZEPA, together with the special protection granted by these qualifications.
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If you have the opportunity, the night sky can be seen from any of the viewpoints or corners of Monfragüe National Park. Its low light pollution and its quality make it an ideal place to contemplate the starry sky at night.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 05-10-2016. 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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