Hello everyone, and welcome to the first edition of Segovia Outdoors. Today, I’ll take y’all on a trek to La Chorra Grande (yes, I know what that means to our Mexican readers), one of the biggest waterfalls in the Madrid/Segovia area. Even better, it’s just 30 minutes away from Segovia!
First, we’ve gotta pack our hiking bag! Any medium sized backpack should do fine, but I’d recommend one with shoulder and back padding. It may not look fashionable, but during the hike it’ll save your back and shoulders loads of pain. I use a 26L, .5kg Osprey backpack, but Decathlon has good hiking bags for pretty cheap. I’d definitely invest – it’ll pay off!
Next, we’ll pack food and water. For this hike, I’d recommend about 1L of water. For lunch, I’d recommend a baguette and a pack of salami (total: €1.37). That’ll give you carbs for temporary energy and protein to help your muscles recover. I’d also recommend bringing a couple apples, as those natural sugars and vitamins will keep you 100% through the hike. Clementines (mandarinas) are especially refreshing as well!
You’ll also want to bring some gear along. I always throw in an extra sweatshirt for when you’re resting and a pair of extra socks for if your feet get wet (this trick has saved me and my friends multiple times). If you bring all this, you’ll be more than set for your hike!
We’ll start our journey at the Segovia bus station, taking the LINECAR M8 route to San Ildefonso. This route connects Segovia, San Ildefonso, and Valsaín, and we’ll use the M8 for most of our hikes in this column. Make sure to bring €3 in cash for the bus – you pay as you enter the bus but they only take cash.
Get off the M8 at the Fábrica Cristal stop (the first in San Ildefonso). From here, go to the trailhead at this address:
Camino del Chorro, 47, 40100 Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, Segovia, Spain
A brief side note – When I’m planning hikes in Spain, I always look on the app Wikiloc. Wikiloc is a crowdsourced outdoors app developed in Spain, which allows anyone to upload their biking, hiking, and running routes for everyone to see. All of the hikes I’ll feature on this column appear on the app under my account here!
Anyways, this hike is quite simple. We simply follow this trail for about 2km (1.2 miles) until we reach the waterfall. The trail follows the river, crossing once about halfway through, before reaching a short steep ascent to the waterfall.
To descend, just turn back and retrace your steps. In no time you should arrive back in San Ildefonso!
This hike serves as a good introduction to those wanting to experience more outdoor activities around Segovia. If you’d like to make this journey longer, I’d recommend hiking up to the top of the waterfall and either peeling right to the dirt access road or continuing up and around the waterfall.
After you return to San Ildefonso, you should check out the town before heading back to Segovia. For a post hike snack, check out Churrería La Fama! They serve excellent churros at incredibly low prices (€5 for 3 people), but they only take cash. Almost every time I hike around this area, I treat myself to some churros y chocolate as a little reward for the day’s effort.
Funnily enough, I ate these churros for free my first time here. I had just completed a 20km hike with a friend and we were desperate for some warmth. As we walked into La Fama, the only open store in San Ildefonso, we saw the Cash Only sign, with only enough change in our pockets for the bus ride home. Luckily, some generous Canadians overheard us and picked up our tab, providing us some of the best churros of our lives.
If you’re looking for some history around the area, visit the Royal Palace. Real Sitio de San Ildefonso originally served as the king’s summer home, so his palace and all of its incredible art and furniture sits right in the middle of town! The admission is only €5, so it’s definitely worth it. The Royal Gardens sit right beside the palace and do not charge an entrance fee. They’re a must see in San Ildefonso.
Hopefully this issue of Segovia Outdoors can help you throw together plans for a cheap, fun weekend! Until next time, keep on exploring!
- Justin Morgan