Cañón de Almadenes

Cañón de los Almadenes - Desfiladero de la Fuente Negra

Useful Information

Location: Almadenes.
From Cieza RM-532 towards Mula/Caravaca, after 3.2 km turn right signposted "Embalse del Quipar" or Central Eléctrica de Almadenes. After 6.8 km turn right to Almadenes, 3 km.
(38.236584, -1.558926)
Open: Visitor Center: All year Mon-Thu 9-16, Fri, Sat 9-18, Sun .
Fee: free.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided hikes.
various guided activities like rafting, kayaking, canyoning, via ferrata, toru through the visitor center
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Centro de Interpretación de Almadenes, Carretera de Almadenes S/N (Cieza, Murcia), Tel: +34-641-769-315, Tel: +34-610-110-718, Tel: +34-868-150-781. E-mail:
Cañón de Almadenes. Cañón de los Almadenes, Diseminado Losares, 19A, 30530 Almadenes
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Cañón de Almadenes (Almadenes Gorge) is located between Almadenes at the lower end and Macaneo at the upper end. It is formed by the Rio Segura. The mountains are karstified limestone and full of caves. There are numerous sights along the gorge which includes a Visitor Center named Centro de Interpretación de Almadenes, a hydroelectric power plant, a Via Ferrata, cave trekking, canyoning and kayaking. There is actually no trail through the canyon, and there is no trail into the narrow section except the Via Ferrata. To take this, you have to get a permit and you need an insurance.

There are numerous caves in the gorge, but they are difficult to reach and not developed. The normal cave trekking tours are made in the Cueva de Río-Niño (Cave of the Baby River). It is the most popular cave in the canyon, because it's easy to access. However, all caves are hard to find, gated, and accessible only with a permit from the Visitor Center. The easiest way to visit them is with a cave trekking operator who will organize the permit and the key. They also provide necessary material for caving like helmet, jumpsuit and headlamp, make a photo report of the trip, and have an insurance. If you are a group of cavers you may apply to the Federation of Speleology of the Region of Murcia and go on your own.

There are two cave in the canyon which are listed on the UNESCO WHL. The Cueva de la Serreta is in the middle of the canyon and only accessible by a long hike, or if you know the way, on a single lane road. The Abrigos del Pozo, also known as Cueva de los Monigotes (Monigotes Cave), is located on the upper end and accessible on a hike from this side. The entrance is only 4 m above the average water level and accessible on a wooden elevated trail. It is famous for paleolithic cave paintings, reddish schematic paintings with a total of 40 motives. The shelter is 30 m long, 9 m deep and 4 m high, with a total surface area of 283 m². During archaeological excavations so far 8% of the floor have been dug out. Access to the shelter is only allowed on tours organized by the town hall and during the Descent of Almadenes Canyon rubber boat trips, which stop at the cave.

The main sport at the park is obviously hiking. It is warm and dry most of the time, in summer sun protection and enough water is essential, otherwise the hikes are quite easy. There are numerous routes which generally have a length of around 10 kilometers and an ascent between 250 m and 500 m. So they are not for beginners, but if you are a hiker they are of low to medium difficulty. And there are other sportive activities around the park: canyoning, kayaking, paddle surf, and via ferrata. The side branch called Cañón del río Quípar is also used for canyoning. And all of them require a permit and an insurance, so you must check with the Visitor Center at least a week in advance or book an operator.

The river continues its course and then receives the waters of the Calasparra river. It then enters a narrow gorge, known as "el estrecho de la Fuente Negra" (the strait of the Black Spring). The gorge and the fountain are one of the wonders of the world. God created this gorge by splitting a mountain of red marble in two. The cleft is made up, on the right and left, of two walls, each fifty fathoms high. Its length is four parasangs. Its widest part measures one marya`, and its narrowest part, a quarter of a marya`. The sun does not penetrate there except when it is in the sign of Gemini [i.e. when the day is longest]. The wood that flows down this river to the city of Murcia and below passes through this gorge. At the end of the gorge is the Fuente Negra.
Ibn Abd Allah Muhammad d. Bark al-Zuhrî (1154): Kitab Al-Dja rafia