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Hike: Olive Oil Greenway

An infinite carpet of olive trees and nine impressive viaducts from the 19th century are the hallmarks of the 55 Km Olive Oil Greenway, known in Spanish as the Via Verde del Aceite. The hike takes you through the province of Jaen. The importance of this crop was such that the railway that used to run on the old tracks was popularly known as the Olive Oil Train.

By:  Vías Verdes
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Vía Verde del Aceite
Cycling route
Location: between Jaen and River Guadajoz
Distance: 55 km
Time: 5 hours by bike
Difficulty: easy
Stands out for: historical wealth
Did you know? can be done on foot and continues through the province of Cordoba

1. Follow the active railway tracks towards Espeluy. After about 1,500 meters leave the Renfe tracks behind and start your ascent towards Martos tracing an arc that skirts the steep foothills of the Sierra de la Grana, crowned by the Jabalcuz mountains.

2. About two kilometres from the starting point, the former railway line has been swallowed up by the Jaen ring road, but a nearby underpass and some rural paths will take you as far as the first station, Torredelcampo. Before you get there, at Km 6.3, you’ll have a chance to get some of your strength back at a fountain located at the crossroads with the track from Jaen to Torredonjumeno.

3. Continue climbing the gradual slope until you reach Km 8.8 and the ruins of the Moralduro, loading platform and slidings that once served the railroads by carrying gypsum from the nearby quarry. Some 500m from Moralduro you’ll notice that the roads have once again eaten into the old railway route. This time the culprit is the A-316 motorway at Torredelcampo. To avoid the asphalt, the Greenway makes use of the right-hand side of the bypass service road until you reach the local road. Cross the overpass to the other site. Once there take a right turn that will rapidly take you back to the railway route and then onto the station.

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4. Torredelcampo Station (Km 11) has a water fountain and is the first large station en route. After the requisite stop at the village, leave the station via the Caballico Tunnel. This 333 metre curved tunnel is illuminated to ensure safe passage. Not long after you’ll reach the first metal bridge en route. Located at Km 12, the Piedra del Águila Bridge is 104-metres-long and passes over a stream of the same name. Resting on two stone columns, its rusted iron lattice stands proud over the surrounding sea of olive trees. About a kilometre further on, after taking in views of seemingly endless olive groves and crossing a less spectacular iron viaduct, you’ll reach your next resting place: Torredonjimeno. Before getting there you’ll need to negotiate another underground passage. This tunnel is approximately 120-metres-long and will take you to the outskirts of Torredonjimeno. After an overpass over the N-321 you’ll reach Torredonjimeno Station (Km 15.2).

5. After leaving Torredonjimeno the path winds upwards towards Martos. Shortly after setting out you’ll cross the new access road to Martos from the A-316 via a recently built cycle bridge. A little while later you need to cross the A-316 yet again (for the fourth time), although in this case the Greenway drops down to a local track and makes use of an underpass. After running parallel to the railway embankment you’ll join the railway line at a section that will take you south.

6. You should now be heading towards the centre of Martos, overshadowed by the Peñón that towers some 350 metres above the city. This is the highest point of the Greenway (650m). Take a rest in Martos in the shade of the station awning which, like all its adjoining buildings, is in fairly good condition (Km 23). So as not to break with tradition, you’ll leave Martos via yet another intersection with the A-316. This time it’s a tunnel that means you can avoid having to use the main road.
7. The rest of the route is characterized by a succession of tight bends. Only the terracing and irrigation ditches dare break the perfect geometry of the olive groves. Three kilometres further on you’ll come across the A-316 (no surprise here!). Once again a recently built cycle bridge will take you safely over the motorway. From here continue your winding descent towards the Salado River, skirting the edge of the Cerro de la Capellanía until you reach the valley carved by the Arroyo Salado. The railway spans this stream via a 208m metal bridge resting on two masonry columns (Km 34), one of the most majestic constructions on the entire route. Little by little the rolling hills give way to escarpments as you approach the foothills of the Subbética mountain range.
8. You’ll soon come to another spectacular viaduct spanning the Arroyo Higueral. Beyond this viaduct, slightly shorter than the last (133m), lies a gentler landscape, home to the isolated station of Vado-Jaén (km 37). It is more than 7 km from the nearest township and was built to serve as a junction station.
9. Leaving behind Vado Station climb the gentle slope leading up from the Higueral Ravine, the first upward stretch after leaving Martos. It soon gives way to another descent about two kilometres from Vado. It is all downhill from here. The crest of this little pass is at the intersection with the old N-321 road. Everything here has been left as it was years ago; the road crosses the railway tracks via a little bridge. After a short while you’ll leave the old road behind as the route continues along predominantly straight paths with great panoramic views of the nearby Víboras valley, on one side of the river, and the Ahillos heights on the other.

10. At Km 42 the railway line crosses the river via another spectacular metal viaduct. The 224-metre-long lattice bridge serves as a perfect viewing point overlooking the valley. At the foot of the viaduct there is a medieval bridge whose single round arch spans the Víboras River and provides access to an almost forgotten pathway.

11. Continue your descent, passing an abandoned railway ballast quarry, known as the La Muela quarry. You’ll be moving through broken terrain and the railway line often has to rise between the olive groves on high embankments.
12. On the way to the next station, Alcaudete, the Greenway makes use of two metal railway bridges over the Chaparral and Esponela rivers. These are both 70-metres-long single span constructions, located at km 45 and km 46 respectively, forming part of a section of straight paths leading to Alcaudete, the last station on the route. The town of Alcaudete is about 4 Km from the station, now converted into a private home. On the other side of the station you’ll reach the A-316. This time you won’t be able to go either over or under it, so take care when crossing the road.

13. After Alcaudete Station, leave the monotony of olive trees behind to find yourself travelling through a more natural landscape filled with Mediterranean vegetation. A little further along you’ll reach the Laguna Honda Nature Reserve (Km 50) on your left. Enjoy the incredible views of this protected natural area from the Greenway.

14. Now for the last stretch of the journey: three kilometres featuring two pronounced curves around the Loma de Desgarradero hill. At Km 52 cross the Desgarradero Ravine by a new 83-metre-long metal bridge. This incredible Meccano-like structure sits on two iron trestles supporting a 200-metre-long lattice truss. The waters of the Guadajoz River have caused a great area of saltcedar to form upstream of the bridge, home to a thriving colony of birds. The Guadajoz River does not flow downstream of the viaduct. Why? In times of rain the level of the Vadomojón Reservoir reaches the very trestles of the viaduct. On the other side of the viaduct the route continues into the province of Córdoba to Navas del Selpillar, on a similarly prepared 58 km long greenway through the rural district of the Subbética Cordobesa.


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Must see

Casa Rural Cortijo Chircales
Ctra. Las Casillas
Alcaudete, Jaén
610 94 34 29

Hotel Torrezaf
C/ San Bartolome
Torredelcampo, Jaén

Casa Rural Casería Fuensomera
Carretera de Villardompardo, km 2,6
Torredonjimeno, Jaén

Getting there?

Olive Oil Greenway The Greenway sets out from the city of Jaen. The actual starting point is to the west of the city at the Fuentezuelas Sports Centre situated at the end of the road known as Ronda Juez Juan Ruiz.

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El 23 December 2009 a las 7:22 PM, Rachel dijo...

Great article. It is superb walking, do it bit by bit or the whole lot at once!

Casa Rural El Reguelo
Fuensanta de Martos

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El 26 December 2009 a las 11:51 AM, Juan Carlos dijo...

Muchas gracias por vuestra informacion.

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El 30 September 2010 a las 11:15 PM, JOSE dijo...


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El 9 February 2011 a las 3:35 PM, luigi dijo...

Realmente es una pena utilizar esta ruta- si llueve es imposible pasar- sólo habria que despejar una franja de 50 cm de paso que tampoco se hace, vergonzoso-
y para rematar han dejado barras de hierro en forma de lanza sin proteccion para que alguien se las atraviese si sufre una caida -se publicaran sus fotos por si hay que acudir por Delito Penal.

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El 14 May 2011 a las 1:24 PM, luigi dijo...

No sólo no han quitado el peligro de los hierros en punta de lanza, sino que en el km. 4.5 han puesto una señal de via verde cortada- Todo un ejemplo de buenhacer y de absoluto respeto para los usuarios de la Via Verde.

Tercermundista, tenemos lo que nos merecemos-

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El 18 June 2011 a las 9:46 AM, jesus dijo...

quiero resaltar que la vias verdes se deben cumplir a rajatabla las normas, las vias verdes no son el cagadero de los perros ya que estos hacen sus necesidades donde les llevan pero los amos son los que tienen que limpiar y recoger sus heces y por supuesto bien sujetos y con su bozal si estos son peligrosos porque pueden ocasionar accidentes y molestias a los usuarios, todos tenemos derechos pero no olvidemos que tambien tenemos obligaciones cumplamos las normas gracias.

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El 5 April 2012 a las 8:06 PM, Françoise DELOUME dijo...


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