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Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 22. Ardales - El Burgo

Diputación de Málaga
GR 249. Stage 22. Ardales - El Burgo.

Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 22. Ardales - El Burgo

Routes On foot On a bicycle
Difficulty - Blue -Easy
Access -

1. Initiation Stage:

Access Starting point: Ardales is accessed by the A-357 Málaga- Campillos. The area is also reached by the MA-5402, which can be linked with Casarabonela (by the A-7275) and El Burgo (the MA-5401) which is also linked to the previous points).

Starting point: Junction of the street Calle Mancerilla with the Calle Huelva, in the northwest area of Ardales.

Enjoy the walk safely:  The trail does not pass through any permanently inhabited places, although it is common to see people passing by at the beginning and at the end of the stage, coinciding with the work areas. Since there are no water supply points, it is necessary to plan this long and physically demanding route very well. Although this stage follows tarmac surfaces, it’s not roads we are talking about rather than paved lanes on the steepest slopes. The circulation of vehicles is very scarce in the area.

2. Completion of Stage:

Access to finish point:  MA-5401 or Ardales road. El Burgo is connected to the Serranía de Ronda and the Guadalhorce Valley via the A-366 (Ronda-Alozaina).

Finish point: Calle Fuente Nueva Street, in the northern part of the town of El Burgo, right on the road to Ardales.

3. Alternatives:

Possible "escape  routes":  MA-5400 motorway links the towns of Serrato and El Burgo. Although it is not visible from the walk, it is very close, always to the right, starting from the highest point of the stage at Los Márquez.

No return point: From Los Márquez, it is best to follow the GR and go down to El Burgo. It is an easily found point in the field: the highest part of the walk as you are leaving pine forest before entering another one.

Connections to other footpaths and trails:

PR-A 90, El Calvario Capellán Hill – Turón, overlap at start, PR-A 91, Los Jiménez – Garzón spring , GR-7 E-4, Links up at the start of the stage.


• Traffic circulating on tarmacked roads

Duration - 5:35 horas
Length - 22600 Km

Los Jiménez and El Turón castle (Up to km 4.3) 

From Ardales, look for the Roman bridge  named La Molina, with three of its five original  arches still in good condition. Ardales  is well positioned strategically, on the old  roads between Málaga and the plains in  the north of the province. The road’s main  obstacle to overcome was this river, the  Turón. You climb up a little alongside it,  before the GR-7 E-4 pathway goes off to the  right, which connects Ardales with Serrato.  You then come to the Aguar stream, where  you start a climb along a tarmac track that  passes some warehouses to one side. Ardales  comes into view to the east and there is a  solar farm to the north on the Cortijo de la  Aguada country estate. Before you reach  the 2-kilometre mark, the PR-A 90 turns  off to the left, which runs along the valley  and returns to the town. 

When you reach the lookout point, on your  left is the shaded area of Fuente Techada and  the ridge of Loma del Castillo, crowned by the  Arab fortress. Its main defensive structures  are visible from the path: the walls, the  fortified gate and several towers, including  the Alcázar for the military commanders  which faces the Rock of Ardales. Now at  kilometre 4, you pass a track going down  to La Laja country house and the river, then  it turns sharply north and climbs up to Los  Jiménez country house. This property which  is away to the left, was so important in its  day that the whole area which you have  travelled through up to now was named  after it. The land is a clear mixture of both  arable and livestock farming. 

The Montes Públicos (Public Uplands) of La Laja, Los Romerales and El Rey hill (Up to km 11) 

The entire area of Pine forest on the climb  up to Los Márquez and the subsequent  descent is specified as forestry land and  managed as such. The trees help to anchor  the earth to the marly limestone slopes,  which is highly prone to soil erosion. This  is primarily to slow down the silting up of  the reservoirs, since the high ground forms  the divide between the Guadalteba basin  to the north and the Turón basin to the  south. The names for this public upland  come from three areas to the left of the  pathway. La Laja is the rocky western end  of the El Castillo ridge, the Cerro del Rey  is to the west of the country house of Los  Jiménez, while Los Romerales are those  further up. The 400 hectares are privately  owned but their use for forestry is under a  partnership agreement. 

Just past the country house of Los Jiménez  is the day’s steepest climb, with rewarding  views to the east over the Nature Reserve  of Los Gaitanes Gorge and the Guadalhorce  reservoirs. To the south, are the highlands of  the Sierra de Alcaparaín and the river valley.  Then to the north-west is the flat and greyish  profile of the Ortegícar range, towards which the  Great Path heads. It then crosses another upland  area, the Sierra de El Burgo, which belongs to  the Andalusian Autonomous Community and  covers more than 2,000 hectares. 

There is a sign for Monte Público (Public  Uplands) at an important crossroads of paths,  where the PR-A 91 goes off to the right and  where the Path reaches Cerro Redondo (Round  Hill) and El Mirador pass (km 7.7). Keeping to  the crest of the ridges, you continue along a  firebreak until you turn left at km 10 at another  crossroads on La Ermitica hill. Up to this point,  the Aleppo pine forest has had a very sparse  covering of shrub vegetation, mainly Esparto  grass. But now, in the shaded areas there are  Junipers, Savin junipers and Turpentine trees.  Groves of Holm oaks with Kermes oaks, Mastic  trees and the odd Mediterranean fan palm  can also be seen. 

Los Marquez and La Herradura Country House (To the end of the stage) 

The landscape changes radically at the  highest point along the route. There is a  wide band covered in Olive and Almond  trees and arable  land that separates  the previous  Pine forest, from a  second extensive  area of forest, called  Los Rompedizos y El Madroño. Its thousand  hectares belong to the Andalusian Water  Agency. 

A sign indicates that this land, on the  slopes of the Almorchón hill is also an official  hunting reserve (Reserva Andaluza de Caza)  for mountain goats. The hill stands out to the  west in the middle of the forest like a rocky  tower and it is towards this that the path  now heads. At the foot of it is the road from  Serrato to El Burgo (with the nearest access at  kilometre 15), which the path initially heads  towards, but gradually curves southwards  while forest gives way to agricultural land. 

You will see signs for the Espinazo del  Perro mountain bike route, which the Great  Path shares its route with, all the way to the  end. After the pass of La Herradura, you come  close to the country estate of the same name  on your left (km 17.6) as well as the turnoff  to the Espinazo del Perro. You continue  southwards down a steep slope that brings  you to the Prado del Águila (Eagle’s Plain)  (km 18.6) and the path follows the small  stream of Los Niños to the Eucalyptus trees  of the Cepero spring. In doing so, you pass  the Farol and Viña Calderón country houses  and then reach the area of El Tejar. Here, you  turn south-west at the Molino Polo mill, set  among beautiful farmland on the left-hand  bank of the river Turón. Finally, you pass by  the Fuente Nueva (New Spring) and arrive at  the village of El Burgo, the Stage’s destination.

How to get there

Discover more about the province of Malaga

Discover more about the province of Malaga