Cascada de la Cimbarra

Aldeaquemada / Andalusia Region, Jaen, Spain

About Cascada de la Cimbarra


Hiking Distance: 1.6km round trip (to base); 2km round trip (to top view and base)
Suggested Time: 60-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2015-05-30
Date last visited: 2015-05-30

Waterfall Latitude: 38.38882
Waterfall Longitude: -3.37353

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The Cascada de la Cimbarra was said to be one of the top waterfalls in the Andalucía (or Andalusia; pronounced “ahn-dah-loo-SEE-ah”) region of Spain.

That said, it was actually quite close to the Castilla-La Mancha border.

Cimbarra_068_05302015 - Cascada de la Cimbarra
Cascada de la Cimbarra

Nevertheless, during our visit, the falls was struggling to flow, which you can see in the photo above.

However, given the fact that it had been hot and dry in this region of Spain for at least over a month, perhaps the fact that it still had somewhat satisfactory flow was a testament to its staying power.

In any case, even despite its struggling flow, the Cascada de la Cimbarra was popular enough that we had encountered dozens of people during our visit here in May 2015.

The Hike to the base of Cascada de la Cimbarra

From the car park (see directions below), we followed a well-signed loop trail heading counterclockwise.

Cimbarra_021_05302015 - Julie and Tahia hiking along the rim of the gorge carved out by the Rio Guarrizas en route to the Cascada de la Cimbarra
Julie and Tahia hiking along the rim of the gorge carved out by the Rio Guarrizas en route to the Cascada de la Cimbarra

The trail headed right towards the rim of the gorge carved out by the Río Guarrizas before following its contours in the downstream direction.

While on this stretch of the trail, Julie and Tahia had noticed that there was a tortoise sunbathing next to the trail (one of the benefits of getting a reasonably early start).

Eventually, the trail would curve around one side inlet before it started to descend towards a junction.

At this junction, we first went right to continue the descent down a couple of switchbacks.

Cimbarra_028_05302015 - The tortoise that we spotted on the way to the Cascada de la Cimbarra
The tortoise that we spotted on the way to the Cascada de la Cimbarra

This eventually descended through the ruins of an old mill (called El Molino de la Cimbarra) where there were still walls standing as well as a couple of circular mortars where I’d imagine local nuts could be ground into powder.

The trail continued to descend deeper into the gorge, where it started to became a little bit rough and less defined in spots.

But it wasn’t much later until we found ourselves right in front of the impressive Cascada de la Cimbarra at its base.

From this perspective, we could see that there was a little bit of an alcove behind the waterfall.

Cimbarra_088_05302015 - Some ruins of an old mill and a circular mortar, which hinted at the heritage around the Cascada de la Cimbarra
Some ruins of an old mill and a circular mortar, which hinted at the heritage around the Cascada de la Cimbarra

Moreover, it appeared that with a little climbing, it was possible to take an informal trail-of-use from the mill along the cliffs towards the alcove for that unusual back-of-the-waterfall experience.

We didn’t do that detour, and given the apparent exposure to dropoffs, it seemed like it would be prudent to be very careful if one were to be so inclined to do this.

When we had our fill of the base of the falls (voices seemed to echo down here), we then climbed back up to the junction.

The Overlook of Cascada de la Cimbarra

Continuing beyond the trail junction, we ascended a short distance further before reaching the Mirador de Cascada de la Cimbarra.

Cimbarra_106_05302015 - Looking down at the Cascada de la Cimbarra from a more distant perspective at its mirador on the gorge rim
Looking down at the Cascada de la Cimbarra from a more distant perspective at its mirador on the gorge rim

From up at this sloping railed overlook, we were able to look right down at the waterfall itself as well as its surrounding gorge contours.

The overlook up here was wide and full of open space (i.e. it was also very exposed to the hot sun).

And a short distance beyond this overlook, there was a signposted trail pointing to a spur leading to the Mirador de Desfiladero.

This other viewpoint primarily focused on a very visible fold in the rock layer hinting at the violent forces that gave rise to this gorge in the first place.

Nearly Accidentally Extending Our Hike at the Cascada de la Cimbarra

Cimbarra_142_05302015 - Looking further uphill from the mirador for the Cascada de la Cimbarra towards other trails continuing in the area
Looking further uphill from the mirador for the Cascada de la Cimbarra towards other trails continuing in the area

Although the trail map said that the loop hike could continue back to the trailhead from the junction of the Desfiladero spur and the Mirador de la Cimbarra, there was actually another trail hugging the other side of the rim of a different gorge.

It turned out that this trail could’ve easily led us far away and downhill towards the Sendero del Arroyo de Martín Pérez.

In fact, it almost did that to us as we thought we were looping back to the car park!

Fortunately, we caught our mistake and wound up going back the way we came instead of taking our chances with trying to find the trail that would have completed the loop.

Cimbarra_159_05302015 - Julie and Tahia on a pretty empty trail that we had incorrectly thought would loop back to the car park for the Cascada de la Cimbarra
Julie and Tahia on a pretty empty trail that we had incorrectly thought would loop back to the car park for the Cascada de la Cimbarra

We eventually figured out that there was indeed a signposted trail between the false trail and the way we came, but we stuck with what we knew on that return hike anyways.

So overall, we spent about two hours away from the vehicle.

When we returned, the trailhead was full of cars, which contrasted mightily with when we were the only ones here at the start at around 10:40am.

I guess that attested to this waterfall’s popularity.

Cimbarra_164_05302015 - Where it was quiet in our extended escapade at the Cascada de la Cimbarra, we spotted more wildlife like this lizard since there are fewer people around
Where it was quiet in our extended escapade at the Cascada de la Cimbarra, we spotted more wildlife like this lizard since there are fewer people around

Anyways, the signage here said the loop trail was 1.2km and it should’ve only taken 30 minutes with low difficulty.

Thus, that should give you an idea of how much time to budget, especially if you want to linger here and not be in a rush.

Authorities

Cascada de la Cimbarra resides near the town of Aldeaquemada in the Jaén Province of Spain. It may be administered by the town of Aldeaquemada. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may want to visit this website.

Cimbarra_020_05302015 - Julie and Tahia on the well-defined trail to reach the Cascada de la Cimbarra as we were approaching the rim of the deep gorge
Cimbarra_037_05302015 - The Cascada de la Cimbarra trail hugged the contours of this side gorge as it started to make its descent around its head
Cimbarra_038_05302015 - As the trail continued to descend in the shade, we were about to approach a junction where going right would lead to the base of the Cascada de la Cimbarra while going left would climb up to its mirador
Cimbarra_041_05302015 - We first descended the trail on the right to access the base of the Cascada de la Cimbarra
Cimbarra_046_05302015 - We eventually found ourselves surrounded by these walls, which apparently belonged to what was once the Molino de Cimbarra (or the Cimbarra Mill)
Cimbarra_048_05302015 - On the way to the bottom of the Cascada de la Cimbarra, we passed by a couple of these circular mortars, which I believed were used to grind nuts or grains into powder or flour
Cimbarra_085_05302015 - The trail to the base of the Cascada de la Cimbarra became a bit rougher and less defined the further down we went
Cimbarra_078_05302015 - At the base of the Cascada de la Cimbarra and its plunge pool. Notice the ledge at the base of the upper tier, which appeared to be where some intrepid folks were able to climb up to in order to get behind the waterfall
Cimbarra_094_05302015 - Julie and Tahia leaving the shade and continuing the hot climb up to the mirador de Cascada de la Cimbarra
Cimbarra_105_05302015 - Looking down at the Cascada de la Cimbarra from the mirador
Cimbarra_158_05302015 - Julie and Tahia heading to a different mirador overlooking a different gorge. We almost made the mistake of continuing on the trail past this point thinking it would wrap up the loop back to the trailhead when in fact it was descending further into the gorge towards the Sendero del Arroyo de Martín Pérez

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To get to Cascada de la Cimbarra from Úbeda, we drove west on the N-322 for about 36km to its junction with the A-44 autovía.

We then headed north on the A-44 for about 3km before it merged with the A-4 autovía (Autovía del Sur).

We would follow the A-4 for the next 51km until we exited onto the A-6200 road heading towards Aldeaquemada.

Cimbarra_008_05302015 - The car park for the Cascada de la Cimbarra
The car park for the Cascada de la Cimbarra

Note that this turnoff was within the park boundaries of the Parque Natural de Despeñaperros.

Once we got off the autovía, we then followed the A-6200 eastwards as it climbed up a series of switchbacks and blind turns.

This road ultimately summitted the mountain then continued going east along the similarly narrow but more straightened out road towards the town of Aldeaquemada (some 23km later).

Once we were in the town, there were signs directing us to head south (turning right) on the Prolongación de Avenida Andalucía.

We then followed this road and the signposts for the Cascada de la Cimbarra for about 2.3km (the road became unpaved once it left the town) before reaching the trailhead near the summit of a some hill.

Cimbarra_004_05302015 - Looking back down the road that led us up to the car park for the Cascada de la Cimbarra from the town of Aldeaquemada
Looking back down the road that led us up to the car park for the Cascada de la Cimbarra from the town of Aldeaquemada

This drive took us just under two hours as most of the time on the road was spent navigating the narrow and twisty confines of the A-6200 between the A-4 autovía and the town of Aldeaquemada.

For some additional context, Úbeda was 10km (under 30 minutes drive) east of Baeza, 146km (90 minutes drive) north of Granada, 150km (over 90 minutes drive) east of Córdoba, 281km (about 3 hours drive) east of Sevilla, and 315km (over 3 hours drive) south of Madrid.

Checking out the falls from its base


Checking out the falls from a higher and more distant vantage point

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Tagged with: aldeaquemada, jaen, andalucia, andalusia, spain, waterfall, baeza, ubeda, cordoba, despenaperros, natural park



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Cascada de la Cimbarra (Spain) January 13, 2020 5:29 am by Jose Luis Sanchez Esteban - This is a better look of this waterfall that deserves a more positive rating. ...Read More

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