About Cascadas de Huesna (Cascadas del Hueznar)
The Cascadas de Huesna (I’ve also seen it referred to as the Cascadas del Hueznar or more accurately Cascadas del Huéznar with the accent) was a series of modest-sized waterfalls near the small town of San Nicolás del Puerto. Given the reputation of Southern Spain as being very hot in the Summer months, it seemed like these waterfalls were popular mostly because a lot of these waterfalls could also double as swimming holes to cool off from the heat. That said, we found these waterfalls to be beautiful in their own right, and they were well worth the half-day detour from the beautiful and charming city of Sevilla.
In our visit of these falls, I counted about four waterfalls of varying sizes though the largest one (pictured above) was probably on the order of 10-15m tall. Going into the trip, I looked at Wikiruta and noticed that the waterfalls were quite spread out from each other so it was conceivable that there could be quite a few more waterfalls than what I can describe on this page.
However, I had read that the waters of this area were rich in calcium carbonate (the same stuff that becomes limestone) and that this tended to create the karst-like travertine formations while possibly growing the stream banks and the cliffs supporting the waterfalls. Apparently, the rate of growth of the limestone tended to exceed that of the erosive forces of the moving water thereby creating a net growth in the limestone deposited. So over time, the underlying limestone beneath the water’s flow would continue to grow (possibly growing or shrinking the waterfalls’ height as long as the height of the limestone lip relative to the limestone at the base grows or shrinks, respectively).
There seemed to be at least two car parks during our visit. We happened to take the highest one closest to the town of San Nicolás del Puerto so we’ll describe our walking route from there. Driving directions are given later on this page. So first, we walked towards some kind of power pylon, which served as our initial landmark since the trail didn’t seem to be well-marked. We noticed another car park further down the hill from us, but there didn’t seem to be a direct trail connecting the two in the immediate area.
On the other side of the pylon, there was a field as well as some old-looking stone house. A trail-of-use cut through the field and led us towards the trees, which were flanking the stream. Not sure which way we were supposed to go next, we followed the stream until we reached the brink of the first waterfall (the one showed at the top of this page). However, there was no safe way to descend to the bottom from up here so we eventually asked some visitors, and they told us to cross the creek, then cut through another field on the other side of the stream (there was a sign there saying something to the effect of not being allowed to pass through, but everyone here seemed to ignore it).
Once we did as they said, we then encountered a branch in the trail of use and went left to descend down the left branch of the trail to get down to the level of the stream. From there, we followed the stream uphill to get back up towards the base of the first waterfall. Unfortunately, it was a bit overgrown so in order to get a cleaner look at the falls, we had to cross the stream. The protruding rocks were sparse enough that it was very easy to get our hiking boots wet, but it was possible to keep the socks dry with Gore-tex boots. And it was only from the other side of the stream was I able to get the view that you see at the top of this page. This was the only waterfall that Julie and Tahia saw as they headed back up to the car content to see just this waterfall.
Meanwhile, I did a little more exploring by backtracking to the field with the branch in the trail of use, then continued going in the downhill direction until I had reached another branch. It seemed like these trails of use had criss-crossed this natural park, but I didn’t see anything in the way of direction trail markers so it was hard for me to tell whether I was going on legitimate paths or going the right way or not. Anyways, after taking the left branch, I then scrambled down a steep path before I veered left at the bottom and headed upstream towards what would turn out to be a second waterfall (that happened to be further down the same stream as the first waterfall).
Like the first one, they were similar in appearance except this one might be slightly smaller. But unlike the first falls, this one had remnants of walls that I had to balance on in order to get in front of the waterfall. Since there were several people down here as well as what seemed to be a party further downstream, this place wasn’t as secluded as one would think given the amount of scramble I had to do to get here. I don’t know about the history of how the walls came to be here, but they did look like there was a heritage behind them.
Anyways, when I had my fill of the second falls, I then followed the trails of use back up to the second branch that I encounter, then I continued further past some sign indicating that there was supposed to be some fish refuge (“Refugio de Pesca”). That put me face-to-face with a somewhat wide stream. Since I saw that there was a series of cascades further upstream, I followed some folks and found a way to cross this stream without wading in it. Then, I followed a rough path upstream on the left side of its banks until I reached an area where there was a cascading stream being joined by a few other small waterfalls adjacent to it.
Near the stream-crossing route that I took, there was a more established trail that hugged some fence (probably marking the boundary of the natural park), which ultimately led me back up towards a picnic area and possibly the second car park that we had seen but couldn’t reach at the very beginning of the hike. I then followed the path uphill from this picnic area and found a few smaller spur trails to the right leading to a lookout of a tiny waterfall (this one was signposted). This was the last of the waterfalls that I would encounter, and when I followed the trail further upstream, I then found myself back at the stone house fronted by a field next to the power pylon. Thus, I had completed what turned out to be a loop hike and rejoined Julie and Tahia at the car park.
I was surprised by the lack of signage of this entire hike so I was never really sure if I was on a sanctioned trail or not. In any case, the entire loop took me about 75 minutes total, including all the stopping along the way. I guess this place had more of an adventurous vibe where you pretty much get to take your pick of which waterfall to frolick at. In that sense, this experience was unusual compared to other waterfalls we’ve been to which would’ve been more well-signed and would’ve had a more obvious trail to follow to minimize scrambling erosion from going off trail. That said, there were also plenty of picnic areas for families and friends to gather and enjoy just being in this natural setting. So I guess you pretty much can shape your experience here to be however you want it to be.
From the city of Sevilla (after navigating the city streets to get to the nearest autovía (freeway), we then headed east on the A-4 (Autovía del Sur) for roughly 30km before taking the A-457 north from Carmona for about 24km. We then headed north on the A-455, which left from Lora del Río, and followed this route for another 30km or so until we hung a right to go onto the SE-7102 road (by now we’re in the Natural Parque de Sierra Norte). We then followed the SE-7102 road for about 14km heading into the town of San Nicolás del Puerto, then turning left to go onto the SE-7101 just outside the northern end of town.
Once we were on the SE-7101, we followed this road for 1.3km until there was a signposted spur on our left leading down a fairly rutted path directly to the car park. There appeared to be another car park further down the SE-7101 another 600m or so, but if you start from there, then you’re probably going to do the waterfalls in a different order than what I had described above. That said, it probably doesn’t matter how you experience the waterfalls since the “trails” didn’t seem to be well-marked anyways.
Overall, the drive between Sevilla and the car parks for Cascadas de Huesna took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes in each direction.
To give you some geographical context, Sevilla was 140km (over 1.5 hours drive or about 45 minutes by AVE train) southwest of Córdoba, 205km (2.5 hours drive) northwest of Málaga, 250km (2.5 hours drive) west of Granada, and 530km (about 5 hours drive) northeast of Madrid.
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