Calar Alto (Aulago)
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This approach to Calar Alto is not very difficult, despite its length. The gradients are mostly gentle and very steady, so it is just a case of settling into a nice rhythm.
Be careful to take enough water with you as once you have passed Aulago, there is nowhere to fill your bottles on the climb.
Roads & TrafficThe road is in very good condition throughout and is enjoyable to both climb and descend on a road bike.
There is very little traffic on the road. Once you have crossed the motorway, and certainly once you have passed the village of Aulago, you are unlikely to see more than a handful of cars during the entire climb.
Although the Vuelta a España generally chooses to climb from Gergal, we believe that this is the most interesting approach to Calar Alto.
The scenery here is sparse and wild. You begin from the edge of a desert and end up at one of the largest observatories in Europe - chosen because of the perfectly clear skies that are common in an area with so little human settlement.
Despite climbing to over 2,000m, don't expect views of snowy peaks and green mountainsides like you would find in the Alps or the Pyrenees. Almeria is the driest region in Europe and the landscape is largely rocky on Calar Alto.
Nevertheless, this is a great climb to do when other monutains of a similar altitude are inaccessible, and the scenery, although something of an acquired taste, is beautiful in its remoteness.
Calar Alto is usually open throughout the year. However, snow is possible in the winter and it can be bitterly cold at the top in January and February. The heat can also be a problem in July and August, with temperatures in excess of 35°C and very little shade to be found.
Alternative RoutesThere are two other common routes to reach Calar Alto. The most popular is to climb from Gergal - this is the route mostly chosen by the Vuelta a España. Another option is to climb from Tijola, to the north of Calar Alto.
Nearby ClimbsPuerto de Velefique
Tetica de Bacares