Easily accessible from Málaga, this hike just outside the city limits rambles along the shoreline of the man-made Limonero Reservoir, across the dam, and back down into the city.
This is a difficult hike to get lost on as you mainly follow the trails lining the reservoir. Take the bus to the northern edge of town, and walk through the small village to the recreation area. While there’s no official starting point, you should start to see yellow and black trail markers. Also, if you go too far, you’ll fall into a lake.
On the Trail
We start off at the recreation area, a massive open space that in a pandemic free world would be filled with barbecues and revelry. It’s a bit unnerving on a perfect Saturday afternoon that I’m completely alone. There’s a promontory where you get some views of the lake, which depending on the angle is either blue, green, or a mix of both.
I did find water access here and dove into freshwater for the first time in what feels like years. According to my rudimentary Spanish and the signage, it’s okay to swim in here as long as you remain more than 50 meters from any dam buildings. The rocks are a bit sharp on the shore, so I would recommend water shoes. You can see the trail I took to happiness in the photo below.
The main trail on the ridgeline follows the lake to the dam. It’s surprisingly shady at spots and quite high above the reservoir. You also have the option of a more traditional trail instead of a road, but in the middle of July in the middle of the afternoon, it’s hot sunshine the whole way.
There are trails branching off here with more opportunities to access swimming spots down below. This was my favorite.
Eventually, you’ll reach this cool building, and from here you can actually walk across the dam. Again, it’s eerie that there’s no traffic or any other people around. You also get excellent views of the city and nearly the whole expanse of the lake.
On the far side, it’s just a short walk through a desert environment back down into the city limits. Alternatively, you can also walk down and spend a few hours exploring the tranquil Jardín Botánico, a historical garden. aOn Swimming Alone
The first thing here is that I grew up swimming in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. I learned how to swim at the age of five in a pond so I feel far more comfortable in these environments than in the sea where I tend to stay close to shore.
Having said that, I rarely “swim” alone. I will dip into the water, take a few strokes, and duck my head under, but when I’m alone, I stick very close to the shore. I almost always wear water shoes so I don’t stab myself and under no circumstances am I diving or jumping off rocks (if someone else is there, then that’s another story).
Details, Details, Details
How to Get There: Both ends of the hike are accessible with Malaga public transportation. To get to the beginning of the hike, I took the M-151 from the main bus station, and to get back into the city, I caught the #2 city bus.
Supplies: I only saw one open restaurant at the village at the beginning of the hike, so pick up water and snacks back in the city proper. There isn’t anything along the way. And even though the end of the hike ends in Malaga, there’s not much happening at the north end of town.
This is a super easy and super accessible hike that you can either knock out in a couple hours or turn it into an all day ramble. And look at the color of that water! It’s worth the trip alone.