Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 19. Campillos - Embalses del Guadalhorce
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: The roads A-384, from the A-92 up to the level of Antequera, and the A-357 which leads to Málaga via Carratraca.
Starting point:Tthe southeast area of Campillos, where Dr. Óscar Fernández and Baltasar Peña streets meet.
Enjoy the walk safely: There are a couple of fords across Arroyos del Boquerón and Capitán, which do not pose a serious obstacle, given their meagre fl ow. Another story is the level crossing lacking automated barriers across the Málaga-Seville train line. The section of the railroad tracks is completely straight, but in case of low visibility, it is advisable to look for an overpass towards the west which means a detour of about two kilometres.
Follow the A-7286 as it passes over the railroad line and then follow the track which will take you back to the other side of the level crossing. On the other hand, you will cross the A-7286 road just after the level crossing and, paradoxically, it is the same road you will be walking along for about two kilometres and a half until reaching the track to Pinares de Rebolo. In all these above-mentioned cases you should take extra precautions. There is not a single drinking water supply point during the whole stage, which, as you know, is quite long.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: from Málaga the MA - 5403 road connecting Ardales with Estación del Chorro. Then follow the directions for the reservoirs (Pantanos) along a service road. There is an access from Campillos off the A-357 along another reservoirs service road, the A-7286.
Finish point: Guadalhorce and Guadalteba reservoirs just before the shared dam.
Possible "escape routes":The A-7286 road that you cross at km 7.5 takes you to Campillos in a few kilometres to the right. Another easily identified point is the junction of the A-357 with the road mentioned earlier (as it makes a semi-circle which ends here). This point is reached when you cross the Arroyo del Capitán, near a farmhouse. Then, as you wander through the pine wood, there is always a tarmac road you can reach by walking westwards.
No return point: From the pine forest of the hill Cerro de La Laguna de Panza onwards, turning back is not a good idea. It is best to continue even though there is a hard ascent followed by a long descent.
• Road traffic circulating on the Gobantes road and the roads around the reservoirs
• Crossing the A-357 road.
The Lakes of Campillos (Up to km 8.5)
The route advances along the long street named Calle Doctor Óscar Fernández in a south-easterly direction, between some relatively new housing estates on the right and industrial units on the left. Just as it turns into a track, it veers east, crosses the A-357 road and turns again slightly to take the Camino de Antequera, close to Velasco. Halfway between the Dulce and Salada Lakes, you pass the Cortijo de la Rondana country house on your right (km 2.2). The first lake, El Cerero is small, just on your right below the Romeroso hill and takes its name from the nearby country house, where there is a crossroads.
There is a sharp turn here, onto the southern branch of the Realenga (a word translated as belonging to the crown) de Carratraca. The dry and reddish land is home to young Olive groves, which have drip irrigation for the first few years. You will notice all around you many herrizas, the unfertile ground on top of rocky outcrops. Larger Holm oaks are less common here, but instead the younger trees are found in clumps of trees of a similar age. Equally, they are found in patches of shrubland, where Esparto grasses are also very common. These islands of autochthonous vegetation on rocky outcrops give the area a greater diversity and provide excellent refuge for wildlife, most notably the numerous species of game. Further on, you pass the Camuñas Lake on your left, which has a much smaller capacity than previous lakes. You soon come to an overpass to cross the railway line and the A-7286 road, one after the other.
Just next to and west of the crossroads by the country estate of Cortijo de Capacete (km 8.5), is the lake of the same name. Holding a larger volume of runoff water, it can last until the end of the summer. From here, you continue along the lefthand verge of the minor road.
The Gobantes Route (Up to km 18)
The first recognisable landmark among the Olive groves, rainfed land and clusters of Holm oaks is the country estate of El Toro on the left. To the right of the road is the generally dry lake, the Laguna del Toro. A very long and straight road to the south-east passes the century-old country house of El Montero (km 12.4) and its extensive gardens. It is precisely here where the livestock track of the Camino de Antequera, crosses at right angles.
A little further on, the road begins to drop down and at the first bend, there is a momentary detour. The upper courses of the two streams that take their names from the two adjacent hills, run through this area. On the right, is the first hill, called Juan Vacas and its stream runs south, while the rockier and steeper hill up ahead is called Rodahuevos. This second stream, seen to the north, is very steep and its bed is laden with autochthonous plants.
The Almond groves in these wilder parts are very productive, being located in the deepest soils and mixed in among the Aleppo pines. It is here that the Path makes another change of course, this time to the south, where it descends steeply and passes a small wooded valley on the right. After a large field of Almond trees and others of cereals, with the reservoirs now in view, you cross the Juan Vacas stream (km 16), and reach the Gobantes road once again.
The Pine Forests of the Reservoirs (To the end of the stage)
Continuing south-west along the A-7286 road, which has little traffic, there is a sharp turn-off onto a country track. You pass two country houses on this stretch, the first is the Rebolo on the right, just before entering a Pine forest. As you progress through this woodland, it becomes denser and lusher, just as the undergrowth gradually becomes more apparent. However, the best area to observe the diversity of plants that once existed here, is on a sandstone rocky crag which has escaped any reforestation. On the zigzagging climb up to the threshing floor and the ruins of the El Chopo country house (km 21.2), under the shelter of the crags, there is some very interesting thicket with Savin Juniper, Thyme, Black Hawthorn, Mediterranean fan palms and Esparto grasses.
Along the way, there are a few good spots with panoramic views of the Guadalhorce reservoir. One of these is the threshing floor of the second country house. Going downhill from here, you pass below a cave dwelling and come to a crossroads where you leave the track to join a footpath. Just before the next lookout spot, there is a very different building in ruins at a bend in the path. This one took advantage of the hollows in the soft sandstone, both natural and excavated, to save on wall construction in the small house. The numerous layers of lime and bluish azulina rock can still be seen.
Once again, the views towards the Guadalhorce reservoir are spectacular, with an abundance of fauna due to very little human activity. The footpath follows an ideal and well-planned out route, following the contours of the forest and getting closer to the water’s edge. It remains some ten metres above the water, until it reaches the road again, where the stage comes to an end.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
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