From the coast of Almuñécar you can see different mountain formations that make up the Sierras de Tejada, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park, with their ridges that are more than one thousand five hundred metres above sea level, which then descend vertiginously until they are lost beneath the waters of the Mediterranean Sea that bathe the coasts of Almuñécar and La Herradura.
The most extensive of these is the Sierra de Almijara, with its white and grey landscapes and dolomitic limestone terrain. The whole park belongs to the Penibetic System, and specifically this mountain range acts as a natural border between the provinces of Granada and Malaga.
At its foot there are amazing ravines, rugged rocky outcrops, sharp ridges and steep slopes.
To the south this mountain range is bordered by the Sierra de Cómpeta, whose highest peak is known as El Cisne at 1,481 metres above sea level; to the north by the Sierra de Játar, whose highest point is the Cerro de la Chapa at 1,818 metres above sea level; and to the west by the Sierra de Tejada, whose highest peak is La Maroma at just over two thousand metres, 2,068 metres.
The Sierra de Almijara runs in a northwest-southeast direction. Its most emblematic peak is El Lucero, which divides it into two distinct parts. On the one hand we have the western part of the Sierra de Almijara, which is less abrupt in comparison with the eastern part, and begins at the pass called Las Llanadas, whose most significant peak is Malas Camas at an altitude of 1,791 metres. The eastern part, in turn, is much steeper in the area of Machos (1,589 metres above sea level), La Cadena (1,645 metres above sea level) and Piedra Sellada (1,679 metres above sea level), and becomes smoother in the Navachica massif, where the Sierra de Almijara ends on the western side.
The water slowly and tirelessly, at will, has created in the limestone rock a labyrinth of fissures, cracks and cavities that have carved out poljes, such as that of Zafarraya, which is a spectacular depression surrounded by mountains.
Nowadays it is worth mentioning that among the most significant fauna we can observe the golden eagle flying among the peaks, and climbing in impossible places we will find specimens of the mountain goat, being the area of Spain that has the most numerous family of this species.
But there is also a wide diversity of other species of birds and mammals, with the presence of genets and otters, and among the birds we should point out, as well as the golden eagle, the booted, Bonelli’s and short-toed eagle, the griffon vulture, the griffon vulture, the griffon vulture, the griffon vulture, the griffon vulture, the griffon vulture and the griffon vulture;
The griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture and eagle owl are also present here; and near the watercourses, the dipper and kingfisher, and under the water we find the common trout and the native crayfish, which shows the quality of the water in the Sierra de Alimjara.
On the other hand, when night falls we can see the horseshoe bats coming out of their hiding places and during the summer we can hear the song of the crickets Petaloptila malacitana. Among the amphibians in the area is the Betic midwife toad, an endemism exclusive to this mountain range and the massifs between Almeria and Murcia.
hroughout the 19th century, the flora of the area suffered the ravages of the intense economic exploitation that this mountain range suffered, based on mining, grazing, coal mining, etc. Later, however, it was quickly reforested with different varieties of pine to supply raw material for the Fornes resin factory. All of this has conditioned the forestry vision that we have today.
As we ascend towards the humid and cold peaks, we find traces of the original vegetation, with gall oaks and oaks, and at the highest altitudes, we can see cushion scrub and yew, a plant with a scarce presence in the Andalusian sierras.
Of course, there is also room for hiking, as there are up to thirty routes in the Sierra de Almijara, including the Ruta del Río Verde (Green River Route).
Visiting the Sierra de Almijara in the Natural Park from Almuñécar or La Herradura is another incentive for tourism on the Costa del Sol Tropical.