Cascada de Cueva del Gato

Ronda / Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park / Andalucia Region, Malaga, Spain

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 1.5
Cascada de Cueva del Gato along with the opening of the Cueva del Gato itself

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The Cascada de Cueva del Gato was an interesting waterfall that originated from a stream spilling out of the mouth of the Cueva del Gato (Cat Cave). I thought of this as our waterfalling excuse to check out this intriguing cave, but it turned out that we were only able to self-tour up to the mouth of the cave. Beyond that, we needed to book an organized tour, where they'd equip us with hard hats and lights to spelunk even deeper into the dark confines of the cave itself. Interestingly enough, when viewed from afar, Julie and Tahia thought the multiple openings of the cave were such that it resembled a face with two eyes and a large mouth. On the other hand, I had read that the large opening of the mouth of the cave resembled that of a cat's face so the cave might have taken its name from this notion.

I understand that this waterfall would typically be a very popular swimming hole, especially given how hot it can get in the south of Spain. That said, since it was raining on and off during our visit in late May 2015, we were one of a handful of people that showed up until after lunch when a huge group of kids showed up. Fortunately for us, we had our fill of the falls before they showed up so we managed to experience the place in relative peace.

We started our excursion from a roadside car park (see directions below). From the car park as well as a short distance below, there was a grassy mirador (lookout) where we were able to get a contextual look at the cave opening (where Julie and Tahia thought it looked like a face). Then, we walked along a paved ramp leading down to some cafe before we followed a foot trail that then traversed a series of wooden bridges crossing over the Río Guadiaro before continuing on a footpath that went beneath a railroad then towards the fringes of the really clear plunge pool of the Cascada de Cueva del Gato where we were able to get the view you see pictured at the top of this page.

Beyond the view of the falls, the trail continued past a small cave-like alcove before ascending steps towards a ledge that looked out towards the plunge pool below while clinging to the cliff itself. There was some mild dropoff exposure here, and we had to be real careful about the wet surface, which made the ledge potentially very slippery and dangerous. A few paces closer to the cave opening, we then encountered a little catwalk that ended right above the stream and stopped short of going inside the opening of the Cueva del Gato. Signs were put up here to show what you could do inside the cave with a guided tour. However, since we didn't book such a tour (and we still had to get to Sevilla that day), this was our turnaround point.

Overall, we spent a little less than hour to take in the whole place. The walk itself probably took no more than 15 minutes in each direction. And it was probably as a result of this ease of accessibility as well as close proximity to Ronda that this was said to be one of the more popular waterfalls in Andalucian Spain.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was the view of the Cueva del Gato from the mirador just below the car park. Can you see the pair of eyes and the mouth of the cave thereby resembling a face?This was the view of the Cueva del Gato from the mirador just below the car park. Can you see the pair of eyes and the mouth of the cave thereby resembling a face?
The Cueva del Gato was roughly a 20-minute or so drove west of Ronda (shown here), which was an impressive Andalucian town perched high above the Tajo GorgeThe Cueva del Gato was roughly a 20-minute or so drove west of Ronda (shown here), which was an impressive Andalucian town perched high above the Tajo Gorge
After visiting Cueva del Gato, we then drove over two hours to the city of Sevilla. Shown here is the grand Plaza de España, which very much reminded me of the Republic in Star WarsAfter visiting Cueva del Gato, we then drove over two hours to the city of Sevilla. Shown here is the grand Plaza de España, which very much reminded me of the Republic in Star Wars
Sevilla was a beautiful Spanish city where we managed to experience a flamenco show, the Parasol Metropol, the grand Catedral de Sevilla, and the Moorish-influenced Real Alcázar (shown here)Sevilla was a beautiful Spanish city where we managed to experience a flamenco show, the Parasol Metropol, the grand Catedral de Sevilla, and the Moorish-influenced Real Alcázar (shown here)
The mostly empty car park for the Cascada de Cueva del Gato while it was still raining during the morning of our visitThe mostly empty car park while it was still raining during the morning of our visit

Looking towards the cave opening of Cueva del Gato somewhat resembling a faceLooking towards the cave opening of Cueva del Gato somewhat resembling a face

Context of the roadside car park for the Cueva del Gato. That road is the MA-7401Context of the roadside car park for the excursion. That road is the MA-7401

Following the paved road down to the area where there was a cafe as well as the actual foot trail leading closer to the cave and waterfall itselfFollowing the paved road down to the area where there was a cafe as well as the actual foot trail leading closer to the cave and waterfall itself

The paved road was slippery due to the rain, but as long as I kept my momentum going forward, I wasn't going to slip and fall. Here, the road curved and started paralleling the railroad tracksThe paved road was slippery due to the rain, but as long as I kept my momentum going forward, I wasn't going to slip and fall. Here, the road curved and started paralleling the railroad tracks

This was a calm part of the Río Guadiaro downstream of the waterfallThis was a calm part of the Río Guadiaro downstream of the waterfall

Looking back at the beat up footbridge traversing the Río GuadiaroLooking back at the beat up footbridge traversing the Río Guadiaro

The trail then went beneath the railroad while following the stream coming from the Cueva del GatoThe trail then went beneath the railroad while following the stream coming from the Cueva del Gato

Our first look at the Cascada de Cueva del GatoOur first look at the Cascada de Cueva del Gato

The trail leading up to the Cueva del Gato's mouth passed by this cave-like alcoveThe trail leading up to the Cueva del Gato's mouth passed by this cave-like alcove

Looking down over the clear pool downstream of the Cascada de Cueva del Gato from the ledge of the trail leading to the cave's mouthLooking down over the clear pool downstream of the Cascada de Cueva del Gato from the ledge of the trail leading to the cave's mouth

The narrow ledge trail leading to the mouth of the Cueva del GatoThe narrow ledge trail leading to the mouth of the cave

This was about as close to the mouth of the Cueva del Gato as we were going to getThis was about as close to the mouth of the cave as we were going to get

Looking downstream from the catwalk above the stream towards the brink of the Cascada de Cueva del GatoLooking downstream from the catwalk above the stream towards the brink of the falls

Looking upstream from the catwalk to the opening of the Cueva del GatoLooking upstream from the catwalk to the opening of the cave

Looking back at the Cueva del Gato from the mirador beneath the car park. Notice the train of kids coming towards the cave on the lower left.  Good thing we got our experience when we did!Looking back at the Cueva del Gato from the mirador beneath the car park. Notice the train of kids coming towards the cave on the lower left. Good thing we got our experience when we did!

When we returned to the car park, there were considerably more cars than what we had started withWhen we returned to the car park, there were considerably more cars than what we had started with


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Examining the waterfall and cave opening before walking up even closer to the cave opening at the top of the falls


View from the mirador near the car park showing the cave openings (almost looking like a face)


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From the city of Ronda, we drove north towards the entrance to the A-374 autovía, where we then drove for a few kilometers until we got off at the MA-7401 road (Calle de Benaoján) and followed it for about 6km to a signed car park for the Cueva del Gato on our right. This drive took us 25 minutes from the Old Town of Ronda, where we had to cross over the New Bridge and navigate the streets of the New Town before getting onto the A-374.

According to our GPS records, our route involved going north on Calle Nuevo then Calle Doctor Fleming before turning right onto Avenida Victoria then left onto Calle de Sevilla, which eventually hooked us up onto the on-ramp for A-374.

For directions on getting to Ronda, see the "Cascada de Ronda" page.

Finally, for some context, Ronda was 128km (about 2 hours drive) southeast of Sevilla (or Seville), 101km (about 90 minutes drive) west of Málaga, 180km (over 2 hours drive) west of Granada, 164km (about 2.5 hours drive or about 2 hours by trains) south of Córdoba, and 551km (over 5.5 hours drive) south of Madrid.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES






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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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