Hiking Loop From Los Escullos to San Jose - Inland and Coastal Paths

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Sunday 1 February 2015

Hiking Loop From Los Escullos to San Jose - Inland and Coastal Paths

Starting out from Camping Los Escullos there are not many short hiking loop opportunities. However, this loop which takes in some stunning coastal scenery in addition to the remote and arid desertscape of the Cabo de Gata Natural Park is such an opportunity.  This short 3/4 hour loop (approx 18km) takes in some of the best scenery of this area with some amazing vantage points to appreciate it from.  So, on Sunday wanting to once again visit the San Jose market for fresh supplies, we decided to give it a try.

The preceding days had been marked by awful gale force winds that had kept us inside and we felt very ready to stretch our legs.  One of the few trails leading from Camping Los Escullos we had yet to follow, the Rambla de Pozo de los Frailes cuts inland from the coast at Los Escullos, heading north west right past the entrance to our campsite. We'd used part of this trail to reach the beach many times, but never traveled in the other direction. Our map showed that it was possible to follow the rambla north then veer westwards through the arid landscape to the village of El Pozo de los Frailes, from which we could avoid the main road to San Jose by continuing inland to complete a scenic hike to that pleasant coastal town. From San Jose our hike could be turned into a loop by returning to Los Escullos via the GR92 along the cliffs passed Torre Vigia de Cala Higuera.

We set off in the early morning sun with our 46L rucksacks almost empty in anticipation of the fruit and vegetables we'd be collecting. We made good time although the surface of the rambla was uneven and rocky in places, with the road just visible on our right hand side. A strong headwind whipped at our cheeks and chapped our lips, but in the bright light of the morning we felt only wonder once again at the scenery. The summit of Los Frailes particularly looked magical, its orange dusty rocks looking pink with the rising sun beyond its peak.


On reaching the whitewashed houses of El Pozo de los Frailes we did have a bit of uncertainty over precisely which track to follow but eventually settled on our choice (directly opposite where we reached the road on the path that passed the waterwheel and a play park). Continuing on stony trails, past old farm buildings we caught sight of the sparkling sea on our horizon and soon reached San Jose shortly after 1030. We swiftly made a visit to the handful of market stalls to collect some fresh greens and other fruit before making our way to the sea front to appreciate a fresh persimmon while listening to the waves.


After half an hour of basking in the increasingly warm day while sheltered from the wind we shouldered our heavier packs and set out towards the clifftop path home.  We'd made this walk once before as the sun was setting and were excited to be repeating it, this time in the warmth of the mid-day sun. We picked up the trail from the roundabout right at the entrance to San Jose and were soon climbing the uneven, rocky trail to the promontory overlooking San Jose and the beaches to the west.

The outlook from this amazing viewpoint was so clear and crisp that, apart from the howling wind, we could have stayed all day. Once again many of the places we'd enjoyed exploring in the Cabo de Gata natural park since arriving, such as Playa de Los Genoveses and Torre de la Vela Blanca were clearly visible as were the more distant peaks, such as Mina, of the Sierra Alhamillas.  But, turning east, we began the hike home marveling at the contours of the volcanic cliffs with waves smashing into them far below us. Every corner yielded a new and idyllic coastal scene.

As we descended from the cliffs to the beaches at Los Escullos before turning inland once more to complete our loop we felt refreshed and energised. We'd taken our time and tried to absorb the natural energy of the surrounding park and returned to our mobile home feeling much more peaceful as well as having restocked our fresh greens!

Walk Information:
Motorhome Base - Camping Los Escullos
Start/ End Point: Camping Los Escullos - El Pozo de los Frailes - San Jose - Camping Los Escullos
Total Distance: approx 18km
Time Taken: 4 hours
Level: Moderate
Map: Editorial Alpina: Cabo de Gata Nijar 1:50.000

Related Posts:
10 Reasons to Visit the Cabo de Gata -Nijar Natural Park - Andalucia, Spain
12 Places to Visit and Things To Do in Cabo de Gata Natural Park
10 Hiking and Walking Routes in the Cabo de Gata - Nijar Natural Park

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