Cascada del Molino

Tragacete, Cuenca, Spain

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 2
Cascada del Molino

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The Cascada del Molino literally stole the show away from the disappointing Nacimiento del Río Cuervo during our early June visit in 2015. Indeed as you can see from the photo at the top of this page, this understated waterfall on the Río Júcar was still performing while the other one was hardly visible against the karstic rocks beneath. In fact, we weren't even planning on visiting this waterfall, but when I saw a waterfall sign with the Río Júcar words scrawled on the signposted photo, that planted the seed in my mind that maybe we should consider making a visit. Then, when the Nacimiento del Río Cuervo disappointed us, that pretty much opened up our minds to lingering around a little while longer to see what this waterfall was all about. Needless to say, this act of curiosity paid off!

The word molino means "mill" in Spanish, and I suspect that the building adjacent to the brink of the falls could very well be a mill, which might explain how this waterfall got its name. From what we could tell, we weren't able to gain any access through the mill in order to get an unusual top-down perspective of the falls. So instead, we had to do the sanctioned way of walking on a longer trail to get to its base.

The hike began from a signposted path right off the narrow access road following the Río Júcar from Tragacete (see directions below), which then quickly descended one long switchback down towards a bridge spanning the Río Júcar. On the opposite side of the bridge was a picnic area. But we continued left as we hiked in an upstream direction to get closer to the waterfall. Since the vegetation was thick around the river, we weren't able to get any satisfying views of the falls from a distance nor were we able to gain a fruitful perspective of the mini canyon carved out by the river. Indeed, it wasn't until 15 minutes later that we passed by another pair of picnic tables before briefly climbing right up to the main waterfall to finally get our clean looks at it.

Since the trail ended at a small lookout practically right in front of the waterfall, it was hard to truly get a good perspective of just how big this waterfall was (let alone photograph it since we were so close to it). It turned out that the main drop that we were in front of was probably on the order of 15-20m or so though it looked a lot bigger than that from the road leading up to the mill. Perhaps it was because the Río Júcar cascaded and tumbled for a bit more before continuing its flow as a typical river. In any case, we spent about 45 minutes away from the car so the hiking wasn't very long at all.

Julie and I were the only ones on the trail until we returned from the hike. That was when there was a family that was using the picnic tables near the bridge. So that kind of attested to how much quieter this waterfalling experience was compared to the Nacimiento del Río Cuervo, which seemed to have non-stop foot traffic. So this was yet another positive for this waterfall over that other more famous one.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

We visited the Cascada del Molino as part of a side trip on the way to Cuenca. That town had a rugged beauty to it (as shown here) as well as its historical charm in its Plaza Mayor and Casas ColgadasWe visited the Cascada del Molino as part of a side trip on the way to Cuenca. That town had a rugged beauty to it (as shown here) as well as its historical charm in its Plaza Mayor and Casas Colgadas
On the way to and from the Cascada del Molino from Cuenca, we made brief stop at the Ventano del Diablo, which was an interesting double arch perched atop a cliff overlooking a gorgeOn the way to and from the Cascada del Molino from Cuenca, we made brief stop at the Ventano del Diablo, which was an interesting double arch perched atop a cliff overlooking a gorge
The city of Madrid was the base of our long day trip to Cuenca and back (which included the Cascada del Molino). Shown here is the Retiro Park, which was like Madrid's Central ParkThe city of Madrid was the base of our long day trip to Cuenca and back (which included the Cascada del Molino). Shown here is the Retiro Park, which was like Madrid's Central Park
Roughly an hour's drive south of Madrid was the medieval city of Toledo with its charming narrow alleyways and its blend of three cultures - Jewish, Muslim, and CatholicRoughly an hour's drive south of Madrid was the medieval city of Toledo with its charming narrow alleyways and its blend of three cultures - Jewish, Muslim, and Catholic
This was the context of the signposted trailhead and the pullout across the way, where we parked our carThis was the context of the signposted trailhead and the pullout across the way, where we parked our car

The signposted trailhead for the Cascada del MolinoThe signposted trailhead for the Cascada del Molino

Looking down from the road towards the bridge and picnic areaLooking down from the road towards the bridge and picnic area

Wildflowers were in bloom during our visit to the Cascada del Molino as we made our way down to the bridge across the Río JúcarWildflowers were in bloom during our visit to the falls as we made our way down to the bridge across the Río Júcar

Picnic tables on the other side of the bridge spanning the Río JúcarPicnic tables on the other side of the bridge spanning the Río Júcar

Following the sanctioned trail in the upstream direction as we approached the Cascada del MolinoFollowing the sanctioned trail in the upstream direction as we approached the falls

Generally, the trail climbed uphill. This particular stretch shown here branched up while a trail leading down to the left dead-ended at the base of some small hard-to-see cascadesGenerally, the trail climbed uphill. This particular stretch shown here branched up while a trail leading down to the left dead-ended at the base of some small hard-to-see cascades

Looking down at some cascade well downstream of the Cascada del MolinoLooking down at some cascade well downstream of the main waterfall

It was too bad there were a lot of tall trees blocking the views across the gorge because the cliffs on the other side looked interesting, and I'm sure the distant perspective of Cascada del Molino would have been good, tooIt was too bad there were a lot of tall trees blocking the views across the gorge because the cliffs on the other side looked interesting, and I'm sure the distant perspective of the main waterfall would have been good, too

This was a partial distant view of the Cascada del Molino between treesThis was a partial distant view of the main waterfall between trees

Here's the context of that partial view of the Cascada del Molino against the trailHere's the context of that partial view of the main waterfall against the trail

After the last bend in the trail as it descended, this was the final stretch leading up to the base of the main drop of the Cascada del MolinoAfter the last bend in the trail as it descended, this was the final stretch leading up to the base of the main drop of the Cascada del Molino

Yes, there were also a handful of picnic tables very close to the end of the trailYes, there were also a handful of picnic tables very close to the end of the trail

Trying to get the whole height of the Cascada del Molino from the end of the trailTrying to get the whole height of the Cascada del Molino from the end of the trail

Julie and Tahia checking out the Cascada del MolinoJulie and Tahia checking out the falls

Looking downstream at the scenery from near the base of the Cascada del MolinoLooking downstream at the scenery from near the base of the falls

Our last look at the Cascada del Molino between trees as we made our way back to the trailheadOur last look at the falls between trees as we made our way back to the trailhead


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Top down sweep of the falls before walking away from it to try to show it in better context


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From Madrid, we navigated the maze of city streets to get to the nearest on-ramp for an autovía due east. The best autovía to take was the A-3 (Autovía del Este), which headed in a southeasterly direction before continuing east (towards Valencia). After about 82km, we then junctioned off the A-3 for the A-40 (Autovía Castilla la Mancha), which continued to the east towards Cuenca. We would follow the A-40 for the next 79km before heading north on the Cm-2105 road, which would twist its way into the Serranía de Cuenca mountains.

After about 58km the Cm-2105 road became the Cm-2106 (keeping left to continue going north), then after about another 7km, we'd enter the town of Tragacete. Right across from the town's center was a signposted turnoff to the right, which crossed a bridge then followed a rural road for the next 2km or so. Right about this point in the narrow road, there was the signposted trailhead for the Cascada del Molino on the right. On the left were small pullouts where we managed to stop the car and get out of the way so traffic can still pass through this narrow road. This drive would take probably close to three hours in each direction.

Just a few hundred meters beyond this trailhead was the mill by the brink of the waterfall. However, we didn't see any parking spots near the mill.

If there's no parking space right across from the trailhead, we noticed that there were some parking spaces further back down the narrow road. Of course, the farther away you park, the more you'll have to walk just to get up to the trailhead (though I wondered if that was the intent of the authorities here because there were numerous interpretive signs along this road, which only walkers and bicyclists would have the ability to stop and check out).

For some additional context, Cuenca was 140km (under 2 hours drive) east of Madrid, 226km (over 2 hours drive) east of Toledo, and 199km (over 2 hours drive) west of Valencia.




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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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