The Canchos (crags) del Vadillo (orthoquartzite outcrops) are located on the left bank of river Guadalija deep valley, by the “Armorican quartzites” in the Syncline of Guadarranque-Guadalija.
It is highly recommended to reach the viewpoint located opposite these Canchos and at a higher level. The visitor needs to take into account that these Canchos nest a great number of vultures. Therefore this area ensures, as a whole, geological, ornithological and landscape interest. So we must care about our presence will not disturb the normal course of the birds’ life in this area.
Accesses: We set off from Peraleda de San Román through the path of the Dehesilla leading to Guadalija and, at around 800m from the town, we take the left diversion to the nearby area of river Risco Sabino. From its mountain pass we descend along the forest path, already in the valley of Guadalija, and we continue straight until the path ends. From this point, the visitor will need to walk down in order to get a good overview of the Canchos del Vadillo, but not too much as there is an area of highly fractured quartzites that leave, among their layers, vertical drops of several meters, and therefore full attention will be needed.
The whole area is located in the contact metamorphism aureole of the granite batholith of the Berrocal de Peraleda de San Román, therefore all materials there have a degree of metamorphism, which affects the Armorican quartzites, the rocks that form this immense outcrop (over 100m high) and which extend to the shores of Guadalija for over 800m.
This land combines deposits of conglomerates and sandstones, which were deposited in the shallow waters of a sea during the Ordovician period, around 485 million years ago. Later, in the Carboniferous period (~330 m.y.) an intrusion of magma, whose consequences are visible in the spheroidal weathering granite boulders of Peraleda, provided pressure and enough temperature to alter both chemical and structural compositions of all these rocks coming from marine Ordovician deposits. This phenomenon of contact metamorphism has already been explained in geosite 34, “Metamorphic Contact”. On the geological map there is a white arrow indicating the direction to find the Canchos del Vadillo from the viewpoint.
The surroundings of the Canchos del Vadillo provide other highlights to complete this tour. We can, first, visit the San Román and Mina Marialina geosite as well as the Berrocal de Peraleda, located in the same environment. The granite boulders we find before climbing to the hill of Risco Sabino are remarkable and worth a stop for pictures. From this hill we can enjoy good views of La Jara to the North-East (Anticline of Vadelacasa) and of the Syncline of Guadarranque-Gualija to the Southwest, partially covered by tertiary deposits of the Rañas del Planchón and La Laguna areas.
Finally, one of the main attractions of the Canchos del Vadillo is their ornithological potential, a colony grouping the most representative birds of the quartzite outcrops, including royal and Bonelli´s eagles, griffon vultures, Egyptian vultures, peregrines falcons and other of a smaller wingspan.