Mr Henderson’s Railway walk between Benaojan and Jimera de Libar is one of the most popular walks in the Serranía for visitors, particularly because it is long enough to be a challenge for some, but short enough to really enjoy the walk, see some lovely nature, and be located between two railway stops giving peace of mind if anything untoward were to happen help is close at hand.
The walk is just 7.5km from start to end, and the return walk is listed as a three and a half hour walk. The terrain is suitable for all bar those with serious health concerns, though there are two sections of the track that could be more difficult because the path has been cut into rock.
If you are already staying in the Guadiaro Valley, then simply make your way to the station at Benaojan, there is plenty of free parking nearby. On the other hand, if you are coming from Ronda, why not catch the train at 10:00, and then get the 13:49 service (confirm these times) back to Ronda from Jimera de Libar, arriving in Ronda in time for lunch.
We start the walk at the station in Benaojan, and cross the railway line where you’ll see a sign pointing to the Hotel Molino del Santo. Crossing the line takes us in the opposite direction and after 100m you arrive at a bridge over the Guadiaro river. This is an attractive area and gives a hint of how beautiful the rest of the walk will be.
We turn to the right, going in the direction of Jimera, immediately passing through a farm and some ruined sheds before we reach the path proper. From here we just need to keep following the footpath all the way to Jimera station.
The railway line enters two tunnels and crosses one rather nice looking arch bridge, whilst the river narrows to rapids in 3 or 4 places and widens in other places into a slow moving and meandering river, in between which you are highly likely to see Barbel (Catfish) coasting along in the stream.
Speaking of nature, in spring the mountains and valleys along this route suddenly come to life with the most incredibly diverse range of wildflowers, butterflies, and other small insects you could imagine ever seeing. This is hardly surprising though since the route is entirely within the Grazalema Natural Park, actually the path marks the southern boundary of the park.
Look out for goats and black pigs that frequent the area, they are quite safe and harmless but your presence will frighten them. As well, keep an eye on the other side of the railway line, where you may see Ibex clattering over the rocks on the mountains, or Griffon Vulture soaring on the air currents eagerly looking carrion.
Aside from the pure enjoyment of a great walk in peaceful countryside, the Benoajan-Jimera de Libar walk is also a truly fantastic opportunity to take some stunning photographs.
The only slightly confusing part of the walk is our arrival at Jimera. you’ll know you’ve arrived when you encounter a pedestrian crossing over the rails, however the path seems to continue on the left. To reach the station, and the bar attached to it, cross the tracks, and you’ll end the walk in a beautiful spot next to the river.
Map of the walk;
Gallery of photos from the Ronda Walk: Benaojan to Jimera de Libar