The ultimate guide to hiking El Saltillo: Malaga’s rising star!

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El Saltillo trail first got its name on the map in October 2020 when it reopened after months of construction work on the trail. A new hanging bridge made El Saltillo, Malaga, one of Andalucia’s new highlights! Now, the earlier unknown trail has made the news as it boasts Spain’s third-longest suspension bridge of 54 meters which hangs a giddying 79 meters above the ground. On top of that, there are a couple of suspension bridges along the vertical cliff wall which definitely makes the hike worthwhile.

Unless you’ve got vertigo, the hike is fairly easy until you get to the hanging bridge. This is where you get a steep section, but other than that the trail doesn’t have much elevation. You can opt for turning around by the hanging bridge to make it shorter and easier – it’s a great day trip for the whole family and one of the best walks in Andalucia.

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El Saltillo Spain

Practical information

  • Province: Malaga
  • Mountain range: Sierra de Tejada
  • Length: 11 km
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Elevation: 476 m
  • Route: Linear return
  • Difficulty: Medium-Difficult
  • Hiking season: September to mid-June
  • Hiking with dogs: It’s allowed to hike with dogs, but avoid the months of January to May. There are pine trees along most of the trail and the processionary caterpillars are out and can be fatal for your dog. There are only natural water sources at the beginning of the trail, so you need to bring water for your dog for the rest of the hike.

Walking El Saltillo Malaga trail
Walking with the mesmerizing view of La Maroma peak

How to get to El Saltillo Canillas de Aceituno

Getting to Canillas de Aceituno is easiest by car. There are only a couple of buses stopping in the village which might be the reason this hiking route is still fairly off the beaten track.

You can take one bus service that commutes between Velez-Malaga and Canillas de Aceituno, find more information here.

The other option is a bus that commutes between Malaga and Salares with a stop in Canillas de Aceituno. You can find their timetable here.

Both buses only run a couple of times a day in the week days and there are hardly any in the weekends. So if that is the only time you have available to go, I suggest you get a rental car.

By entering Canillas de Aceituno in the GPS, it will get you there without problems. It is also easy to park along the street on either side of the village.

The closest airport is Malaga Airport, which has high numbers of flight connections with the rest of Europe.

Puente Colgante del Saltillo
El Saltillo’s famous hanging bridge

What to bring

The start of the hike is fairly easy and because there is not much elevation, there is usually not much change in weather conditions either. Yet, I recommend you bring at least one piece of clothing to cover up with just in case, especially if you hike during winter.

There is, though a steep descent to the hanging bridge and just after, you’ll ascend a steep path which is secured with ropes to hold onto on the steepest parts. This can be a good place to take out your hiking poles, though I found there was plenty to hold onto where it was steep.

Other than that, be aware that there is not much shade on this trail, so make sure you cover up for the sun and put on eco friendly sunscreen while following the Principles of Leave No Trace.

You can also read my top picks for day hiking backpacks here.

Here are the main things I recommend you bring on your hike:

  • Water
  • Hat/caps
  • Sunscreen
  • Good trainers or hiking shoes
  • Lunch
  • Snack (fruit/nuts/energy bar)
  • Camera
El Saltillo hike
View of the hanging bridge along the trail

Where to stay in Canillas de Aceituno

If you stay the night in this charming little white village, make sure you stay at Olive & Ivy Guesthouse. You will surely be taken good care of and it’s situated right by the Town Hall which means you’re at the start of the trail.

Book your stay at Olive and Ivy Guesthouse here.

El Saltillo Canillas de Aceituno
The trail starts steepening down on the way back from the viewpoint. You can see the suspension bridge pinned to the cliff on the other side of the gorge

Hiking El Saltillo

El Saltillo trail starts by walking from the main square, ascending to the left of the town hall, walk the zig-zag through the houses until you see the path to your right in the middle of a set of stairs. Don’t worry, it’s well marked with “Puente Colgante del Saltillo” all the way from the square.

Past the main square follow the signs to Puente Colgante del Saltillo to the left
Past the main square follow the signs to Puente Colgante del Saltillo to the left

At first, you’ll walk through olive groves, past a concrete aqueduct, and the trail continues along the water pipes on the side of the mountain. After a while, it will open up to views of La Maroma in front of you the highest peak in Malaga recognized by its whitish round top.

Following this trail a little past a suspension bridge pinned into the vertical wall, you’ll see the sign to the hanging bridge down a steep path to your right.

Suspension bridge at El Satillo trail
Suspension bridge before you turn right down to the hanging bridge

You can either walk straight down or walk a few meters ahead to get the view of the hanging bridge before returning and descending the trail. Passing the viewpoint is where the trail went before the hanging bridge was built, but now it’s closed after the suspension bridge.

The path takes you through a small forest and down to the hanging bridge. The third longest in Spain. As it was built in 2020, there is no need to worry, it feels sturdy and safe to cross. If you get dizzy from heights, you might not want to look down the 79 meters below you.

On the other side of the bridge, the trail winds steeply up past human-made stairs where you can hold on to metal ropes pinned into the rock. It’s quite steep down to the side a few places, so they come in handy, at least for me that isn’t too tough with heights. But this section is beautiful.

Hiking El Saltillo
The trail after the bridge with views of the path hanging on the cliff walk on the other side of the gorge

Once you’re past this section, the trail continues ascending through a small forested area into an open landscape. Once you get to a dirt track. You’ll see signs to the village of Sedella, which is part of the Gran Senda de Malaga towards the right. You have to turn left here.

You’ll soon see a small house on your left. Just keep walking straight past it and you’ll arrive to the viewpoint which is the end of the trail.

The view point boast amazing views of La Maroma and the gorge below and perfect for a lunch break with benches. Return the same way back.

Viewpoint at the end of El Saltillo trail
Viewpoint at the end of El Saltillo trail featuring La Maroma

Reflections

El Saltillo is truly a rising star and among Malaga’s, if not Andalucia’s best hikes! The views are breathtaking the whole way and the suspension bridges bring a good portion of adventure and excitement to the hike.

The climb after the hanging bridge is also incredibly beautiful and the fact that you walk to the view of La Maroma the whole way – do I have to ay anything more?

There is no doubt the village is proud of the newly renovated trail and with good reason! I hope you enjoy hiking El Saltillo just as much as I did!

Check out my favorite Malaga hikes here.

Hike El Saltillo
Sunset on the way down from the viewpoint

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