Itineraries One Day Rides

Below you will find detailed itineraries of our one day rides.
 

We start all our trail rides with a brief discussion at Cortjio Las Minas Equestrian Center, when we talk about your previous riding experience and we carefully match riders and horses.

However, the more information you can give us at the time of making your reservation the easier it is for us to make sure that each participant rides the most suitable horse for their experience, confidence, personality and size.

What we need to know about each rider:

Your previous experience in horse riding

Approximate height and weight of each rider

Any general difficulties with mobility or physical injuries sustained (whether riding or not)

Any problems with confidence or nervousness particularly whilst hacking or trail riding

Any existing health condition, for example heart problems, allergies, asthma, recent operations etc.

Any special dietry requirements such as vegetarian/vegan etc. (as we stop to eat during these rides).

Lastly as a requirement of our Rescue Asssistance Insurance Policy we are obliged to identify all participants before they ride and for this we will ask to see your ID card or Passport. 

We reserve the right to vary the itineraries of any of our trail rides at any moment, for any reason. Normally we will stick to the chosen programme as closely as possible but there may be circumstances outwith our control which may require modifications in the route (for example: heavy rains, flooding, forest fires, public works etc.)  or changes in the establishments we use for lunches and refreshments (change of ownership, alteration in prices, building works etc. ....).


ONE DAY RIDES

Route 1: Cortijo Las Minas Ecuestrian Centre - Iznájar Lake (Picnic)

We leave Cortijo Las Minas Equestrian Centre crossing some open country and olive groves. We drop down into a pretty valley where a level track follows the course of a stream for the most part of it, this is a good place to trot and canter.

This is a cool green place, where there is shade and abundant vegetation and you rarely meet anyone. 

We come to a bridge across the stream and going uphill we can see signes of old mine workings, the purple colour of the rock reflects the presence of iron and other minerals in this area. 
 

We reach the top of a ridge where the track divides, here we can chose one of many variations.

This is an area of Mediterranean forest of which there are few left. We stop in the shade of a huge holm oak tree to take a break and have some water or refreshments.

We leave the forest and head towards the village of Villanueva de Tapia. On the way down towards the village we come across a place to stop for a while and let the horses drink from the stream.

After a while we reach the outskirts of the village. We turn off uphill giving the horses a good gallop up a steep track. We reach open fields and olive groves along the side of a hill with fantastic views, where we can trot and canter. Going past a large farm or "Cortijo" we turn off going down a steep track between some country villas to cross the river which runs just below.


For about a kilometre we follow a quiet country road past a few houses and an old beautifully restored water mill, "El Molino del Conde", a superb option for rented accommodation, especially for big groups. A little further on we turn off again and can gallop uphill along a dirt track. We then cross open country going past another water mill, in not such good condition, coming out in the "Arroyo del Cerezo", from here we cross the river which is now clear and wide and going up a short slope we now find ourselves at the Iznájar Lake.

Depending on the weather and the level of water in the lake at the time of the ride we will look for a good place to stop, tie the horses where they can eat and we can have a pleasanat picnic in the shade of an olive tree, or in the sun with our feet in the water. The transport vehicle wil bring the food, the drinks and anything else that you could need.

After a long rest for both riders and horses we move off again. We climb up a long slow hill and as we reach the summit we can take our breath and a last view of the blues and greens of the lake at Iznájar.

Going down into the next valley we go past an area which seems to be a natural hunting ground for many different types of birds of prey. You can often ses eagles, kites and hawks among other birds of prey flying over the fields of cereals and sunflowers.

We descend to the bottom of the valley, crossing the stream we go past a couple of country villas we regularly use for accommodation, "Cortijo Las Olivas" and "Casa Pino Solo". Following a pretty track between olive trees, almonds and quince, we come out on the road which takes us back to Villanueva de Tapia. We have a break beside the river where the horses can eat some grass or cane shoots which they find very appetising.

We continue up a steep hill, sometimes dismounting to take the weight off the horse's backs and stretch our legs a bit before we get to Villanueva de Tapia

We go through the outskirts of the village and up the main street till we come to the village fountain where we let the horses drink. In this part of the world it is totally normal to see people riding their horses through the middle of towns and villages. Our horses are bomb proof in traffic and the local people are generally very respectful.

Once the horses have drunk, we go up through the top part of the village and out onto a dirt track which takes us up a steep hill, where we normally have a good gallop. From the top of this ridge we can enjoy some fabulous views over the village of Villanueva de Tapia towards Sierra Nevada. We have a rest for a while in the shade of an olive tree, and refresh ourselves with water or any other drink available and let the horses recover from the climb. 
 

From here it's easy riding!

We trot and canter through some olive groves until we reach the road that goes from Villanueva de Tapia to Archidona, which we cross, going down another olive grove we turn down a valley following the course of a stream. The ground is soft and sandy and it's an ideal place for a gallop. We then find ourselves back in the area known as "Los Palomos" and following a drove road where there is a 2 km long stretch of track we can let the horses have their heads, if we still have the energy for a last gallop - we have had a few good races here!

Going down a country lane we go past the neighbouring farm of "Galván" where we can see some pure Andalusian mares and foals out in the fields. Via a short stretch of road we find ourselves back at Cortijo Las Minas Ecuestrian Centre.


Route 2: Cortijo Las Minas Eqestrian Centre – Ventorros de la Laguna (Bar/Restaurant)

We leave Cortijo Las Minas Equestrian Center following the same route as Route One, crossing open country and olive groves, then drop down into a pretty valley, following a flat and easy path - a great place to trot and canter.

There is abundant vegetation and cool shady spots along the track which are much appreciated in the heat of summer.

We cross a bridge over the stream and trot past a few old abandoned mines, where the colour of the rock gives away the presence of minerals. 

We reach the top of a ridge, then ride through a beautiful landscape of Mediterranean forest, green oak trees and brick red earth. On reaching a wide clearing we stop for a break an refreshments

From here we emerge into a completely different landscape, riding through open farmland of cereals and olive groves, fields of melons and sunflowers, surrounded by silence, with birds of prey often circling overhead. At this point, and depending on the requirements, experience and ability of the riders we can choose one of the following options:

OPTION ONE - Low difficulty, for all levels of rider.

The Farmland:

We continue to ride through open country, around the edges of fields, taking care not to ride over crops or to damage plants and trees.

In summer, your experience permitting, we can gallop over various kilometres of stubble fields with soft ground under the horse's hooves or simply follow the track at a leisurely pace until we reach another farm, where the track makes it's way between almonds, quince and walnut trees. 

We continue until we reach an old tower where there is a spring and drinking trough. Here we can stop for another short break. At this point the two options of this ride reunite. 

OPTION TWO - High difficulty, only for very experienced riders. 

 The Ridge:

We follow a track between fields, going down a slope to then gallop up a long steep hill through olive groves to reach a high ridge. Passing Granada Farmhouse - or Cortijo El Almendrillo - on the way, an excellent choice for rented accommodation, before the track disappears in the olive groves.

We cross a field which in spring can be up to the level of the saddles with poppies, rape and other wild flowers, with their spectacular colours, then, along with our willing horses, enjoy a little bit of scrambling up the rocky scree on the side of the ridge.

At the top we take a rest, but not for the eyes, or our cameras - from here we can enjoy spectacular views 360º all round:
 

To the West and Northwest we can see almost all of the south of the province of Córdoba, looking over the Iznájar Lake towards the towns of Rute, Lucena and further afield where the land drops down to the great plains of the centre of Andalusia.

If we look north we can see the magnificent shapes of the Subbética Mountains, with their shadows and high peaks. Turning east, we can see over the town of Loja and get blinded by the reflection of the snow on Sierra Nevada with Granada at it's foot. Opposite to the Southeast is the "Sierra de Loja" with its own Don Quijote giants in the form of modern windmills. To the South the mountains of Villanueva del Trabuco and Rosario, completing the circle with the "El Torcal" mountains behind Antequera and to the west the Archidona range. 

Here on the "Sierra de Campo Agro" at over 900m we are on the limit between the provinces of Córdoba and Granada and we ride right along the top of this narrow ridge continuing to enjoy the impressive views. Coming down through some olive groves and shortly afterwards we rejoin the original route, where we stop once again by the old tower next to a spring and drinking trough to catch our breath.

From here we cover a few kilometres on a gentle flat track where we can easily trot, passing some olive farms. We descend a slope to a stream which we sometimes jump and then gallop along the track to the village of Ventorros de la Laguna, where we meet up with the support vehicle carrying anything we might need.

Having secured, untacked, fed and watered our horses under the almond trees behind our good friend Pepe's house, we take a short walk through the village to 'Casa Pepe' Bar/Restaurant. Here they serve typical local dishes from the western part of the province of Granada, tapas and homemade food of the best quality including olives cured by traditional methods in this village.

After lunch, we set off again riding along a country track and head for an area called "Guerrero" where we have a further choice of routes:

OPTION ONE: Low difficulty - for all levels of rider.

The Woodlands:

We ride through wooded hills, and then down past a small farm hidden amongst hills of almonds, quince and peach trees. We cross an olive grove and then a stream via a small bridge. Galloping uphill we reach a track that takes us to a totally different type of terrain.

By the fragrance of aromatic plants such as thyme and wild sage we know we have left cultivation behind us and entered the charm of the Mediterranean forest in all its splendour. From here we get another glimpse of the pure beauty of the Sierra Nevada.

We continue breathing in heady natural fragrances until we reach the start of a track in a small clearing of olives where the two options of this ride meet again, in an area known as "Cortijo del Lentisco".

OPTION TWO: - High Difficuly, only for very experienced riders.

The River Gorges: 

"Where even the eagles don't go" according to Pepe's father-in-law!

A huge, magestic old tree marks the turning point of our route and we head towards some olive groves on the edge of nothingness, seeking out a hidden path which marks our decent into the river gorge.
Given the slippery nature of the ground, loose stones, pebbles and the narrowness of the path we dismount and lead our horses in single file.

Going down this narrow path seems like heading into a lost world. Sometimes we have to duck under trees and others we climb over a rock with a sharp drop on one side - the horses trust us and don't get worried, although it is quite hard going.

The descent is worth it.

We come out onto a hardly-used track in a natural paradise. A stream flows down  a remote valley, which is hardly visited and totally wild. At a widening in the bend of the river, hundreds of years-old trees watch in silence the imperceptible passing of time.
 
We can find the marks of wild boar, turtles and fish in the stream. You can see birds of prey circling overhead and you might hear the bleating of a sheep on the other bank. You can breathe in the peace and quiet.

Little by little we make our way up the valley between sugar cane and brambles, there are places where we can trot and canter but mostly we don't want to disturb the magic of this forgotten world.

We find a perfect place to stop for a rest, at the edge of the stream, letting the horses drink first, in the shade of the trees, we have a refreshing drink and escape from the heat of the afternoon for a while.

Refreshed after our break, we climb or scramble up between broom and undergrowth to find the path that takes us back into the forest. Winding between trees and looking for openings in the woodland we find a path which takes us to a pretty clearing of olive trees among ancient oaks, returning to the area known as Cortijo del Lentisco.

Joining the last track we will see for a while, we then lose ourselves in the woodlands. Following a shadow of a path, which shows few signs of being used, it is easy to imagine we are some of the few people who know it.

We trot and canter through the trees to reach a clearing where we often see a flock of sheep and goats. Here there are giant tree trunks along the side of the way which make inviting seats for us to stop to rest and above all, have a bit more water.

We continue along the edge of the forest, the track taking us in and out of the shade between the trees and the wheat fields, trotting and cantering we come to a crossroads which we crossed in the morning in the opposite direction. Here the horses liven up as they are now on familiar ground and know we are on the way home.

We gallop up a pretty valley, going past a small vegetable garden and have another good blast up the edge of a steep slope. On reaching the top there is yet another spectacular view of the surrounding landscapes and the country we have just ridden through. We find ourselves now reaching the "Camino del Entredicho" and at it's exit the Hotel Rural La Paloma. We tie the horses and have a drink and a nibble at this enchanting country hotel.

Now for the last stand! Or rather, time to enjoy the last gallop along a straight 2 kilometre stretch of an old drove road. The ground is soft, but we recommend cheap sunglasses to guard against flying gravel as (if you are up for it) we give the horses their heads - first to the top of the hill wins, then waits for the others to catch up.

Not far now! We go down a lane and past the neighbouring farm of Galván, where we can see mares and foals out in the fields. We get back to Cortijo Las Minas Equestrian Centre via a stretch of old road.

 

Route Three - Cortijo Las Minas Equestrian Centre - Los Cien Caños (Picnic or Bar/Restaurant)

We will ride through farmlands, past lakes, up mountains, through olive groves and see the source of the Guadalhorce River.

On Route 3 we leave Cortijo Las Minas Equestrian Center heading through an attractive piece of Mediterranean forest where we can see the first signs of the wild animals of the area before passing the village of Salinas.
 

Trotting and cantering over grassland we reach the Natural Reserve of the "Lagunas de Archidona". Climbing between olives we get to the top of a ridge with our first views over the "Laguna Grande". These lakes are formed by natural springs which come from the nearest mountain, the "Sierra de Gibalto". We go down to the edge of the water and can see large numbers of aquatic birds.

Crossing a field of wild flowers and grasses we reach a natural vantage point looking over the "Laguna Chica". It has abundant vegetation, an important location for the protection of many species.

We trot through the reeds and cane of the edge of the lake, until we reach the shade of some oak trees where we stop for a short break and refreshments. On continuing our journey we notice the purple colour of the rock around the lakes which indicates the geological singularity of the area.
 

We ride down hill along the edge of a ridge and gallop accross olive groves to come out on the road from Archidona to Las Montoras and Mariandana. We cross some big flat fields, in summer galloping over stubbles and in winter along the path between crops. We reach a farm called "La Rosa Alta", here the owners kindly let us allow the horses to drink from their water trough and sometimes we can catch a glimpse of some pure Andalusian stallions.

We continue our trail until we reach the road that joins the "Fuente de la Lana" with the hamlet of "El Cortijuelo" on the outskirts of Villanueva del Trabuco.

At this point we can choose either of two options:


OPTION ONE: Medium difficulty

Gibalto: Picnic at "Los Cien Caños", source of the Guadalhorce River

Crossing the road we start to climb between olives, passing some houses and farms, with the presence of the mountain ever closer.

Finally we reach a height of 1,100m and we stop for a rest.

The views are fantastic: we can look down on the plains at Paneque and Fuente del Fresno at our feet, Archidona and the "Sierra de Gracia", opposite are way below us ....

How the world changes depending on where you see it from!

Now we turn towards the "Sierra de San Jorge", ahead of us.

We go down a marked incline, crossing grassland or stubble fields where we can, to reach the road that joins Villanueva del Trabuco, Zafarraya and Alfarnate, we cross it and take a track which goes round the edge of the mountain.

After about 1 kilometre on an easy track we come to a beautiful place, hidden by the side of the mountain: "Los Cien Caños" (the hundred fountains). Here the water flows directly from the rocks before going under the track and forming the river.

We tie the horses on the grassy bank under some trees where they can eat some juicy grass and have a good rest. We meet up here with the support vehicle which will bring the picnic, food for the horses and any other required items.

After lunch we set off again, going round the edge of the mountain in the shade of the pine trees. Further on we go down through an area known as Rajaestacas, and cutting accross country through olive groves we come out onto the road near the country guest house "Molino Jabonero" and we continue through olive groves until we get to "El Cortijuelo". From here we turn uphill again amongst olives heading towards "Fuente de la Lana" until we return to the place where the two options of this ride separate.

OPTION TWO: Low difficulty - For all levels of rider

El Cortijuelo: Bar/Restaurant, visit to "Los Cien Caños"

We follow the direction of the road towards Villanueva del Trabuco, riding through the shade of the olives for 2 or 3 kilometres at a relaxed pace, walk and trot, until we reach the hamlet of "El Cortijuelo". Here we meet up with the support vehicle, we tie the horses, untack and water and feed them. We cross the road to a small typically Andalusian village bar/restaurant where they serve the best tapas, make fabulous paella and specialise in typical dishes from the local gastronomy such as "Choto".

We start off again along the side of the road that goes to Zafarraya and Alfarnate, via olive groves and stretches of woodland until we reach the country guest house "Molino Jabonero" where we cross to an area known as Rajaestacas. Here we follow a track that takes us up the mountain.

We climb steeply and then border the edge of the mountain "Sierra de San Jorge" through beautiful pine forest until we reach "Los Cien Caños" (the hundred fountains) where the river Guadalhorce literally flows from the rock. We have a rest, and some water, and then continue on a track that takes us to the bridge over te stream "Arroyo Morales". We pass another country guest house "Cortijo Los Lobos" and cutting accross country through olive groves and going uphill we find ourselves on the road which joins "El Cortijuelo" and "Fuente de la Lana" where the two options of this ride rejoin. 

We ride back to the large farm of "La Rosa Alta" where once again we stop to let the horses drink some water.
From here we cut accross open farmland, galloping over stubble fields until we reach Paneque, where we stop for a break and refreshmens.

From Paneque on our way back to Cortijo Las Minas Equestrian Centre we will ride accross flat fields, along tracks, jumping a stream and crossing a couple of roads, we pass a couple of hamlets and we end our wonderful day's riding with some good gallops along  a drove road which takes us through an area of woodlands to arrive back at Cortijo Las Minas Equestrian Centre.

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