Located in the eastern part of the province of Malaga between the municipalities of Competa and Nerja in the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park, the Chillar River is the perfect place to escape the hot summer sun. The source of the Rio Chillar is in the heart of the park 1,200 metres above sea level where it flows 17 kilometres through a deep gorge before joining the Río Higuerón and eventually emptying into the Mediterranean Sea.
The 8-kilometre hike follows the winding path of the river through limestone canyons and is littered with pools and waterfalls that are ideal for cooling off or even taking a swim. Being situated in a national park the hike is available to the public year round; however, caution must be used during periods of rain as the river is susceptible to flash flooding. The ideal time of year to hike the river is between March and October bearing in mind that it can be busy with hikers during July and August.
What to Wear
As far as clothing and footwear are concerned put away your traditional hiking boots as you are going to spend most of the time walking in water that comes up to your ankles. Don’t be silly though, and think you can do the hike wearing flip-flops as you need shoes with a hard sole to combat the rocky river bed. Non-leather tennis shoes work well, as do lightweight trekking shoes that you can purchase at Decathlon, Sprinter or Carrefour. Clothing wise, wear your swimsuit with a pair of shorts and a loose fitting shirt. A hat to shade you from the sun is a must as is a towel for drying off after a swim or standing under a waterfall.
Food and Drink
There are no bars or places to buy something to eat and drink along the hike, so be sure to pack plenty of drinking water and something to snack on. Many people chose to pack a lunch, stopping for a picnic along the way.
To get to the start of the hike, drive through the centre of Nerja in the direction of Burriana beach where you will come upon a roundabout with a sign for Verano Azul. Go around the roundabout making a right turn into an urbanization on Calle de Julio Romero.
Continue upwards along the road as it becomes the Avenida la Constitución before turning left onto Calle Mirto where you will find public parking. It is possible to park closer to the river but you run the risk of being towed.
Once here walk towards the river passing a water treatment facility and a former cement plant until you come across the river.
Children will especially love trekking through the water in the narrow canyons and able to play under the waterfalls but be vigilant as it is easy to slip on a rock and get hurt.
All in all a hike along the Rio Chillar is a great day out that the whole family can enjoy. Also, don’t forget your camera as there are some great pictures to be had and even better photos if you have a waterproof camera such as a GoPro.