The Alto Tajo Natural Park is famous for its canyons and gorges formed by the river Tagus and its tributaries

Alto Tajo Natural Park

  • Region: Castilla la Mancha
  • Province: Cuenca and Guadalajara
  • Declared a Natural Park: 2000 and now is inside the Molina-Alto Tajo global geopark limits
  • Park surface area: 174,545 hectares
Points of interest

The Alto Tajo Natural Park located between the southeast of the Guadalajara province and the northeast of Cuenca is famous for its canyons and gorges formed by the river Tagus and its tributaries. (The most extensive river gorge system in the region and one of the most important in Spain, with a great geological, botanical and fauna diversity.

Alto Tajo Natural Park

Pine forests and spectacular cliff formations make for a wonderful area to explore with over 40 villages and towns within the parks boundaries. There are several Special Protection Areas for Birds (ZEPA) and Special Conservation Zones (ZEC) established in accordance with the Natura 2000 Network.

Most of the species of birds of the Iberian Peninsula reside in or migrate through the Alto Tajo Natural Park which has led to the creation of a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA).

The concentration of mammals, (predators and herbivores), reptiles, amphibians and fish are abundant throughout the park due to its massive size and wealth of habitats.

Hotels in the Alto Tajo Natural Park
The Iberian highlands rewilding project

If this project is a success it will create an impressive backdrop and opportunity for sustainable wildlife tourism in Spain. Hides for bird photography in steppe environments, Iberian lynx, raptors and other birds of prey along with large mammals will certainly draw the attention of companies that offer this type of wildlife holiday. Hopefully (and perhaps most importantly) many local companies will also be able to take advantage of this extra protection given to this massive and impressive area in Eastern Iberia. Read more here:

Molina-Alto Tajo global geopark
Molina-Alto Tajo global geopark
Geo route 7 “Los caminos del agua” – stop number 10

The Geopark area covers 4,186.9 km2 and is populated by 10,370 inhabitants, of which a third live in Molina de Aragón. The population density is only 2 inhabitants per km2 in this extensive but very unpopulated area. It is considered to be a “demographic desert”.

In this area, the geo-routes project stands out which was launched in 2006 in order to provide the protected area with a set of geological interpretation resources. As a result, the Natural Park currently has 11 self-guided geological interpretation routes.

There is a collection of brochures to visit these routes, a geological guide to the natural park and plenty of information available in the four interpretation centers of the Natural Park. (See info centres below)

Find out more about each of the geo-routes here:

Guadalajara offers the traveller a host of culture, nature and history as this promo video shows.
Castles, towns, natural parks and stunning sceneries of Guadalajara in the province of Castilla la Mancha in Spain

Threats to the Alto Tajo Natural Park

This protected natural space is in an excellent degree of conservation however:

“The park has been threatened by Kaolinite mining, with the government finding it hard to regulate as it contributes to 13.5% of all the jobs in the area and because Kaolinite is considered an important mineral in the national economy as it is a raw material in many industries. Currently two mines are operational in Poveda de la Sierra which affects an area of around 100 hectares. There is also an open mine in Peñalén, where mining has been put on hold. Mining in the area began in the 1960s with an English multinational company called ECC being the sole miner for 20 years before they pulled out of the country.
The present mining companies hold a mining right for 90 years and have been reluctant to stop mining without proper compensation.

The runoffs from the mines are polluting the Tagus river, besides affecting the fauna in the river

The Alto Tajo Natural Park
The Alto Tajo Natural Park is famous for its canyons and gorges formed by the river Tagus and its tributaries
The Alto Tajo Natural Park is famous for its canyons and gorges formed by the river Tagus and its tributaries
Information/Visitors Centers

This is a large protected area and as such has quite a few information centres dedicated to the natural park of Tajo Alto and the Molina-Alto Tajo global geopark.

Centro de interpretación Dehesa de Corduente

Located in the northern sector of the Natural Park, 2 km from Corduente, at KM 85 of the CM-2015 road that connects this town with Zaorejas, about 10 km from the town of Molina de Aragón.

Plenty of information and excellent exhibitions covering woodlands, lagoon ecosystems, ethnography, flora, fauna, mountains and rivers.

Centro de interpretación Sequero de Orea

Located in the village of Orea, Calle Camino del Río, number 2.

The Interpretation center in Orea is dedicated to the inhabitants of the Alto Tajo, it was built by reforming the building of the old “Orea Sequero“, a forest house located in the town that had an oven to dry pinecones and extract pine nuts that later were used in the forest nurseries for reforestation of the mountains. The museum is mainly oriented to the interpretation of the ethnographic heritage and traditional uses of the Tajo Alto but there is also general information available.

Centro de interpretación del Río Tajo

Km 56 of the CM-2015 road close to ​​Zaorejas

This interpretation center focuses on the details of the Tagus River from its source and the 1000 km journey to its estuary in Portugal studying the most relevant aspects of its passage through the Natural Park including the lagoon and river ecosystems, fauna and flora.

Centro de interpretación Museo de la ganadería tradicional en el Alto Tajo

located in the town of Checa. Plaza Lorenzo Arrazola nº 1. (Next to the Town Hall).

This museum focuses on the traditional livestock farming that has been carried out in the Alto Tajo since ancient times. Also the timber extraction that has shaped the landscape that we see today.

The interpretive exhibition covers the following topics:

  • Traditional methods of cattle management: Methods that have been used to adapt livestock exploitation to the climatic, ecological and social conditions that shaped traditional livestock farming in the area.
  • Livestock and landscape: The influence that the activity has had on the natural environment, the evolution of pastures and the relationship of traditional livestock with wild animal populations.
  • Livestock infrastructures: The different constructions and traditional equipments such as farm buildings, holding pens, drinking troughs etc

Official website in Spanish

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