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The Soto

The Soto

Between two canyons, Gaitanejo Gorge and Las Palomas Cliff, there is a hole known as El Lugar del Soto [the Place of El Soto (riverside thicket)], which is interesting for many reasons. It consists of different spots:


The Beginning of the Soto: This is, so called, Escalera de mantequilla [Butter Stairs] and the Neolithic Cave of the Soto (300 m away)

The first canyon can be exit down a steep winding slope that stretches along a cement walk and the 'Butter Stairs', called this way due to its wavy shape, which was conserved during the refurbishment works. This slope, which looks over the railway (1865), goes downwards up to the river, where a small rectangular square, used as a viewpoint, can be seen. This is the middle part of the Soto, a small lagoon between he first and the second canyon. At this point, close to the canal floodgate, if you turn back you will see a bit hidden triangular cave on the left. Nevertheless, the traces found here show it was inhabited in the Neolithic Age, 5000 BC. This shelter, as well as the others in this zone, was used by the mountain goat hunters, who would fish salmons, besides eating cereals and leguminous plants.

When you leave Gaitanejo Gorge, you will surely see vultures high above the open space. Remember that this spot had been closed for decades before its reopening, and it had been a real sanctuary for plants and animals.

Lugar del Soto. Cueva neolítica. Caminito del Rey


A small tunnel, or underpass, in the canal (350 m away)

The boardwalks, from which you can look at the railway wall, stretch along the exterior wall of the canal up to the chalky mountain, where a small tunnel called 'Paso Subterraneo' [the Underpass] was drilled in a way it also go through the canal. The boardwalk goes through this hillock as well over the canal, starting at the tunnel. It stretches along two levels and some upwards and downwards steps. The other possible way is round the hillock, along the old boardwalk. At the exit from the Underpass, and looking at the opposite wall, you will be able to see an interesting formation called tafoni, beneath chalky folds which are aligned from the top to the water level.

A large stretch of canal goes along the open space in the Soto, and then it goes inside the rocks, becoming an underpass. It is obvious that building a waterway must have been incredibly difficult for people with the means from that period, as it was dug in limestone. There are many interesting parts of the canal that can be seen here, such as the iron floodgate with a lock.

Paso subterráneo. Interior. Lugar del Soto. Caminito del Rey