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Sendero Hornico

Jardin Botánico El Hornico - Prados de Cuenca - Fuente del Artesón - Arroyo de la Venta - Jardin Botánico El Hornico

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How to get there: Driving on the A-326 that starts from Pozo Alcón and leads to Huéscar, turn on a sand road that forks off between the kilometre posts K7 and K8. This road is signposted to "Itinerario Botaníco, Aula de la Naturaleza". Drive 2 km along it, through the gate of the Aula de la Naturaleza to its parking place. (Roadmap)

Distance: 4h05min/15km

IGNORE the information panel on a walking route by the parking place as well as the path that starts by it, and walk from the parking place to the left, passing all the buildings on your right. By the corner of the last building with a name plate "C Rural" you find a track (1025 m). After following the track for two minutes you see a log over the stream of Vidrio flowing on your left. Cross the stream (1035 m) along this log. On the other side the route starts to zigzag uphill. The wide path is both beautiful and easy to walk. Here and there it is lined by magnificent rock walls. Views over the reservoir of Bolera and the valley to the distant mountains are nice almost from the beginning, but they get better and better during the ascent. On your way you can marvel tall pines with thick trunks shooting from gray rock.

When you reach the first crest (37min) (1330 m), you have a view of the eastern mountains and gorges as well. Lined by stout trees and magnificent rock walls the route continues to an upper crest (43min) (1360 m) and starts to follow its south side. Down below you see the valley spreding out on both sides of the Guadalentín river. The reservoir of Bolora with all its branches springs up again. When you meet another path (1h15min) (1555 m), follow a red spot to the left. Looking ahead you see a crest crowned by flat topped rocks. The path takes you to a grassy field (1h25min) (1620 m). Bend left and you find a track going left. It ascends gently to another track (1h28min) (1635 m). Turn right. 

This lovely track leads to the charming fountain of Artesón where you get icecold water even in hot summer days (1h38min) (1645 m). Continue straight ahead for a while and branch off right on a track that is a little bit hard to spot (1h42min) (1660 m). If you want to enjoy a magnificent view to the valley dominated by the reservoir of Bolera and lined by the Sierra Castril, it takes two minutes to visit the top of the crest (1670 m), before you make the right turn.

So far the route has been wonderful, but now starts its most impressive part. The track which you started to follow to the right, bends left on an grassy alley formed by old trees and turns into a path (1h47min) (1640 m), that starts to slope down. Later the way gets about 1.5 meters wide and starts to skirt steep slopes opening splendid views to mountains, gorges, opposite mountainsides and valleys. This skillfully constructed route was probably made by ancient Romans. It has stayed in surprisingly good condition. Only in few parts the stones rolling along the slopes have broken it.

After going gently downhill it starts climbing steeply uphill (2h45min) (1345 m). You come to a crossroads in a clearing (2h51min) (1420 m). Two tracks go right. Take the upper track. It ascends to a hill (2h56min) (1450 m) and bends left opening another view over the reservoir of Bolera and to a huge rock. When it looks like the track would end in a depression (3h02min) (1410 m), turn right. Do not follow the narrow paths uphill, unless you want to visit the crest dominated by the huge rock and have another look don to the valley.

Although the beginning of the route that descends along the gorge to the right is completely covered by grass, you find a clear track in a minute. Also this track is easy to walk, althoug the descent becomes quite steep after a while. When you meet another track (3h15min) (1260 m), continue left downhill. On your right, on the opposite slope of the gorge, tall pines surge between bizarre rock formations.

Also at the next junction, go left (3h32min) (1100 m). The brook of Venta starts to follow the route in a deep gorge on your right. Impressive reddish rocks line the brook. Cross the stone bridge of Sabina that leads over the Venta brook (3h48min) (1025 m) and ascend along a path over a hill to the parking place of the Aula de la Naturaleza (4h05min).


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