Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 32. Ojén - Mijas
1. Initiation Stage :
Access Starting point: The only road is the A-355, which leaves from Marbella towards the area of Alhaurín el Grande and Coin, to the north.
Starting point: Area west of Ojén, intersection of the A-7103 road.
Enjoy the walk safely: There is quite a long distance between the starting point and any inhabited areas, about 24 kilometres to Entrerríos, where there are bus lines. Sierra Alpujata is characterised by scarce population which means that the walker needs to address facing such a walking distance as far as time and provisions are concerned. Obviously, in summer you need to focus on water supply. There is only one water source along the way, Fuente del Cabañil, however it hasn´t been treated for human consumption and you must take a detour to get to it. A good way of doing this stage would be on a mountain bike. However, you would need to be an expert mountain biker to be able to follow most of the paths which make up the 10 km section from the fi rst ford across the Río de las Pasadas and along the streambed of the Arroyo de los Pilones.
It is recommended to adapt your walking to the available daylight hours depending on the season, and to the length of the walk, keeping in mind that you need to maintain an average speed of 4 km an hour including stops so that you can complete the whole stage in 10 hours.
The streams you cross in Sierra Alpujata carry little water and the fords along the tracks are adapted by the use of broad concrete platforms. You shouldn´t encounter any problems at the Río de las Pasadas either, although it may seem to the contrary looking at the wide riverbed. The same happens during the long kilometre you must walk following the steam bottom of Arroyo de los Pilones or along either stream bank. The stream rarely carries any water or it is reduced to a narrow ditch which is easily crossed. Anyway, you can use part of the PR A-170 to cross the stream over a bridge. There are many sections of road, in Entrerríos and then before Mijas.
Quite frequently there is a shoulder you can follow but not everywhere so you need to be careful. Pay attention at the bend of the road where you step off the asphalt to cross Río de las Pasadas (km 27.5), as there is little visibility.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: Above-mentioned road connects with the area of Alhaurín el Grande and Coin, while the best road to follow from the coast is the A-368 which comes from the AP-7S and the parallel N-340, already practically inserted in the coastal urban fabric.
Finish point: The A-387, in the northern part of the village of Mijas.
3. Alternatives :
Possible "escape routes": There are many tracks which descend towards the south and the coast, but all of them mean covering quite a distance. The best idea would be to follow the path or retrace your steps. Starting from the Centro de Rehabilitación de Drogadictos the reference area is Entrerríos.
No return point: Just past the helipad and the water reservoir for fi re fi ghting there is a junction which leads to Linarejos. Keep in mind that at this point there is the same distance to Ojén (returning) and walking ahead to Centro de Rehabilitación de Drogadictos. The latter is an ideal place for an “escape” since it is well connected to the Entrerríos area through a paved track and is well known in Mijas.
Connections to other footpaths and trails:
PR-A 167, Istan – Ojén, overlap until km 1.4, GR 243, Sierra de las Nieves, partial overlap until km 10, PR-A 275, PR-A 276, PR-A 277, Link-up or overlap in Monda, SL-A 145, La Alfaguara, partial overlap from km 17, PR-A 338, Albuquería - Barranco Blanco, posible link-up at Point 10, SL-A 59 & SL-A 60, Overlap and link-up in the area of El Nacimiento de Ojén, PR-A 171, Mijas – Benalmádena, link-up at end.
• Road traffic circulating in the urban areas
• Road crossings
• Farm and forestry vehicles on the tracks.
Towards the mountain pass and plains of Purla (Up to km 6.3)
Ojén’s old road became a secondary road when it was superseded by the current road, becoming the A-7103. At the western end of the village there is a car park by the bend in the Almadán stream, which is the Stage’s starting point. From the same pavement, take the narrow street going uphill to the west. It soon enters countryside, becoming a footpath as it passes a cave and turns sharply to the right. When you come to a concrete track, you are rewarded with good views of the white village of Ojén and El Nacimiento area, close to the town’s water storage unit. Follow this track through Pines and large Carob trees until you reach a gate leading onto the Camino del Cerezal (Cherry tree Way).
A trail called the Botanical Path has been created here with a route accessible for people with reduced mobility. Take the footpath on the other side of the stream to this, to El Cerezal house (km 1.4), belonging to the Public Uplands. The PR-A 167 and the GR 243 both branch off, passing through a gate and a tunnel under the road. The GR 249 leaves the Almadán stream and from here on, goes on alone along a footpath. Passing first through Cork oak woods, it crosses the A-355 through a different tunnel and gate, to reach a beautiful forest which El Castañar (Chestnut Forest) is named after. There is then a long climb through Pine forest and Mediterranean scrubland with many aromatic plants. These large Pine trees survived the fire that left these lands in its current state.
With excellent views of Ojén and the Costa del Sol, the climb finishes at the Purla Pass after 3 kilometres, reaching the highest point of the day at 890 metres above sea level. Here you must leave the Miguel Márquez footpath that continues north-west, and turn north-east to go downhill. You take a forestry track and then a footpath that zigzags through the Brambles and undergrowth of the Public Uplands. Continue on until it runs parallel to the smaller Juanar road, the MA-5300, which goes off to the left to the well-known site. You now enter dense Pine forest visible from the pathway, and after crossing the road, you once again join the way with the GR 243 Sierra de las Nieves Path. An attractive track in the middle of the forest leads to the Llanos de Purla Recreation Area and its numerous facilities, close to the road.
Along the valley of the River Seco near Monda (Up to km 13.4)
After a couple of bends over the sandy ground, the path approaches the gully of the Arroyo Seco stream, with reasonably high bluffs and some much-visited caves. It continues along the edge of the gully until going down to the riverside. After following this for a while, you cross over the A-355 road. For the next few kilometres, you continue along either the old road heading north, or at times pathways close to the hard shoulder.
You then cross a country lane and several of the streams originating in Los Llanos de Purla. When you reach the tarmac once again, you merge with the Great Path of the Sierra de las Nieves on the other side of the road. Close by is a meeting of pathways, where straight on would lead to the white blotch of the quarry up ahead in the forest. Meanwhile, the track to follow turns, keeping the Arroyo Seco stream on your right, walking the same direction as the direction of flow. Further on you pass under a graceful metal road bridge, which again you keep on your right and which heads towards Monda. You continue along with the watercourse below you and soon come to an important point after 10 kilometres from the start.
The GR 249 leaves one of the branches of the GR 243, which goes back the direction it came and then turns south-westwards, following the foothills of the Sierra Canucha until it reaches Istán. At this point, there is also a turn-off to the Cueva Santa (Holy Cave), about three and a half kilometres away.
However, you must turn right here, go down to cross the Arroyo Seco stream. Then look for a traditional cobbled path which meanders, soon going uphill to the east through a rocky field of Thyme. The terrain changes abruptly at a rise with a solitary Carob tree and you reach a small pass where there is a pen for livestock, next to the first Olive groves.
Once on a concrete track, you wind your way between country houses, plots of land and a poultry farm before arriving in Monda. Go down the streets named: Ronda, Villeta and Marbella to get to the Plaza de la Constitución and one of the town’s main landmarks, the church of Santiago Apóstol (km 13.4). The GR-243 then makes its own way north, towards Guaro, from the centre of Monda.
Take Enmedio Street to visit La Jaula fountain and its adjoining washhouse, a much-recommended stop-off. A carved inscription (in bas-relief) dates it to 1788 and there are explanatory panels, like all of Monda’s historically important sites. You leave Monda to the east, along the A-7101 road that crosses the village (Calle Málaga). At the first sharp bend to the right is a very straight road ahead, which shortly becomes the Roman Road. It was used again during the Middle Ages and is undoubtedly one of the Stage’s highlights.
The Algarrobo Ridge & La Albuquería (Up to km 24.2)
The numerous steps are a defining feature of this ancient road. Rather suddenly, it is interrupted in order to cross the normally dry bed of the Alcazarín stream, which has its source in the nearby Sierra Alpujata. Briefly following the A-7101 road back towards Monda, keep an eye out for a sharp turn to the south, where you cross this road. The route shares its way with the PR-A 275 from here.
You then cross the A-355 road for the third time, through an underpass using an uphill country track, which is concreted at times. Since this is a traditional path, it soon turns into a narrow footpath near a small Pine forest with Holm oaks, lined by dry stone retaining walls terracing. The Olive groves are on your left and there are some warehouses of an industrial estate, which signal the start of a steep climb to the south up a gravel track.
Passing through arable farmland, it heads directly towards the dense Pine forest that crowns Cerro Gordo, which is in fact the name of the Short Route (PR) that shares the route. The forest is divided by a firebreak that is perpendicular to the path, and which we must now follow in an easterly direction. The PR-A 275 breaks off to the west here.
The track makes a sharp bend alongside a stream with the peculiar name of Salsipuedes (meaning ‘Get out if you can’). After 16.9 kilometres from the start of the route, you reach a height of 435 metres above sea level. This is also a base for the Infoca helicopters when fighting forest fires and the starting point of the SL-A 145, which from now on overlaps with its big brother.
Next to the Pine forest, quite unexpectedly is an extensive avocado plantation, hence displaying two very different uses of the land side by side. The track begins a gentle descent along the woodland boundary, and a little further on, this changes to the absolute dominance of the new subtropical tree plantations. When Thyme covers the surrounding fields of white sands, the track turns into an extremely stony footpath. This weaves its way on until it crosses the Pereilas stream, at kilometre 19.2, which flows down from the Castillejos peak, between Sierra Alpujata and Sierra Negra.
This valley is the area known as La Albuquería, where a number of hiking trails begin and where educational and environmental facilities are found. It now turns north, passing several large-scale mining operations for the extraction of gravel and sand. Some are no longer in use and it is common to see mountain goats on the rockfaces.
The A-355 road soon reappears, which you follow for a stretch towards the east. It then turns north soon after crossing it for the fourth time, through an underpass at km 22. The landscape changes gradually but significantly, as farmhouses crop up surrounded by multiple small plots. This land is irrigated thanks to the River Nacimiento and you come to cross this at kilometre 22.4. Going continually downhill, you come into Coin along its south western access road to the A-355. Cross over this road to use a pavement, which in a few hundred metres brings you to the unexpected triangular shape of Los Trinitarios Tower and Coín’s Town Centre.
The farmland of El Nacimiento River (Up to km 27.9)
Leaving the centre of Coín, turn off level with San Juan church, taking the Albaicín street uphill. This leads to an embankment of tuff, surrounded by the arable fields in the southern part of the municipality. To the right of the river is a highly developed area and a favourite place of locals for taking a stroll. However, the Great Path prefers more rural tracks and so shares its way with the irrigation ditches. Passing the convent of Santa María de la Encarnación on your left, you continue through farmland covering both sides. The direction is mainly south here, along a tarmacked lane that becomes Hernán Cortés Street as it passes by some housing developments.
After going around a site related to the production of agricultural plants, the route continues parallel to the MA-3303 road until it reaches the junction with the well-known A-355. A a paved public walk has been created here, going by the name of Paseo Madre Teresa de Calcuta (Mother Teresa of Calcutta Promenade).
Shortly after this, you pass under the ring-road, go past an abandoned Olive grove and take a narrow road that leads first to a large pond. Further on, you reach a little park called El Nacimiento de Coín (meaning Coín’s Spring) (km 27.9). It boasts a botanical garden, a water catchment system and a road linking it with Mijas. The springs cover a larger area which includes the surroundings of the nearby Cortijo de la Calerita country estate. This an excellent start point for several of Coín’s recommended footpaths, all of which head off in a south-westerly direction, just like the Great Path itself.
The plains of Los Llanos del Nacimiento and Alaminos Hill (Up to km 33)
There is now a very gentle climb among Aleppo pines and some Shrub oak trees, passing close to the stream and next to a large water storage unit and a beekeeping farm. For the time being, the route overlaps with the SL-A 60, until you reach the wide-open expanse known as the Llanos del Nacimiento in less than a kilometre. From here this Local Path (SL in Spanish) turns off to the left along the boundary between the forest and a meadow of aromatic plants. From here, it runs side by side with the SL-A 59, which joins from the right. A recreational area has been set up in this flatter area alongside the town’s sports facilities.
A long gravel track winds its way through the trees and reaches the entrance to the Ciudad del Cine (km 29.6) and its tarmac lane. Then it heads directly south in a straight line, passing the exit and entrance to the Route of the Blue Quarries (not yet fully certified). These tracks are closed to road traffic during the fire risk season and pass by a firebreak and area of Esparto grasses. When you see an interesting information panel on birds, it turns sharply east. Meandering along the foothills of Coín’s Sierra Blanca and past Maritime pines, you come to a tarmac track, which forms a pass on the right, onto the Camino de la Fuente (the Fountain Way). You now share the way with the SL-A 60, which comes along the footpath from the north and essentially ends at this point.
The track to choose here is closed to road traffic and follows the contour lines, going down the third large firebreak. The mountain ranges in northern Málaga come into view and you opt immediately for the track going downhill at the next junction.
On to Los Pescadores Mountain Pass (Up to km 37.4)
Arriving at the track signals the end of the SL-A 59, as it climbs up to the Cerro Alaminos viewpoint, at almost 500 metres above sea level. The route turns sharply north, close to an open mine (km 33.4), once used for extracting metallic minerals. Then going downhill along a footpath, it enters a very dense Pine forest before reaching a perimeter wire fence to encourage the regeneration of vegetation in the more open area. It turns to the right here and then instantly left next to the wires. This area, known as the Matagallar (meaning Jerusalem sage grove), has thick undergrowth of Esparto grass and aromatic plants, Rosemary in particular. Coincidentally, this is not the only place named after vegetation, because as you reach the Mijas to Coín road, the area is called Los Nebrales. The name refers to the Prickly junipers that now dominate the landscape, whose appearance is down to the intrusion of magmatic rocks, the famous Malaga Peridotites. To continue progressing through this section, a variety of path types and surfaces have been used from the start.
There are panoramic views from the summit of this rocky rise, indicated by a triangulation point, including the jagged profile of Cerro Alaminos hill to the west, and the Sierra Alpujata behind. Up ahead, the imposing limestone hills of Alhaurín el Grande stand out against the ‘anthropized’, semi-urban surroundings. Initially going alongside a gas pipeline, you must pass under the MA-3303 using a rounded drainage channel. On the other side, there is a path parallel to the road that has a disused telecommunications pipeline alongside.
From here, it is impossible to miss the imposing presence of a castle-like structure on the crest of La Mota hill. This unique building, to say the least, indicates the direction to take until you reach the intersection of roads at Los Pescadores pass, the safest place to cross the A-387 road. Alhaurín is to the left, while Mijas or Fuengirola are to the right. From this point, the Great Malaga Path changes course once again, to the south-east and sets off into the mountains.
The Sierra of Alhaurín el Grande and Mijas (Up to km 40)
Now comes the time to climb. Just as you start, you join a forest track for a short way, which is closed off to traffic, at the same point where the 249.2 Alternative Route veers off. This is also the access point to the Sierra’s highest mountain, the Pico Mijas and its striking weather station, by way of its north-western slopes. At the beginning, just after passing some beehives, the route runs alongside a small gully carved into the limestone, but soon abandon it at a bend to the right, to continue snaking your way up the hillside. The more open areas of Pine forest offer views of the route covered so far, with the backdrop of the Alpujata and Las Nieves mountain ranges.
A path goes off to the left and when you reach a wide firebreak (km 39.4) after a short flat stretch, you have reached 590 metres above sea level, already having climbed 200 metres in elevation from the Puerto de los Pescadores. The panoramic views from this point look over the hills of the Sierras Prieta, Cabrilla and Alcaparaín and the whitewashed walls of their villages. In the next firebreak, without Stone or Aleppo pines, Esparto grasses thrive along with some interesting plants.
There is then a section of footpath with gentle slopes and charming bends with walls at El Pecho de los Lobos. This leads to a steep descent down to a forest track that then climbs up from the Mijas road, which is really very close. Follow the track to the left, as it climbs gently, soon entering the municipal area of Mijas after the first long bend. This track indicates the beginning of the hunting reserve area, mainly for the local mountain goats.
Some small caves have formed in the breccia sedimentary rock, on the banks of the track in the area known as Pecho de los Carboneros. This brings you to an area devastated by fires but with magnificent views of the coast. The path through the Cañada del Romeral is flat, but you climb once again towards the end, leaving the fork to the right towards the Alta Verde housing development. You then come to two tremendous ravines, named the La Cueva de Tres Puertas (the Cave of Three Gates) and El Pedregal. The latter is easy to recognise because of the famous ball of the Pico Mijas weather station at the top.
The network of municipal trails around Mijas (To the end of the Stage)
You cross the first of these paths that goes to the mountain’s triangulation station, but continue along the track up to this section’s highest point (695 metres), in the ravine of La Fuente de la Adelfa. After a 4.5-kilometre walk along the track, which also leads to the summit of Pico Mijas, you must go downhill on a footpath. The path is very well maintained and makes numerous bends to reduce the gradient of the descent towards the bottom of the valley. It then joins several municipal routes at a multiple junction very close to the road and the Valtocado residential development with its own bus stop.
Stage 32 now nears its conclusion and begins by climbing a path supported by logs, up to the Puerto Ronco mountain pass. Eucalyptus trees stand at the top, around a natural lookout point, next to a limekiln with an information panel (km 47.2). The next ascent leads to the Morena Ravine, with a large scree slope of loose stones and a spectacular bend. At the mountain pass of Las Perdices, the climb ceases for now and you find a panel all about the mountain goats. These animals are easy to spot in these rocky areas or in the nearby quarry of El Barrio, a now abandoned, thousand-year-old marble quarry. Another short climb, once again through Pine woods, leads you to pass under the Cruz de la Misión and a radio antenna.
The last descent, which is a little steep, passes by a route going up to the Puerto de Málaga mountain pass and arrives at the Chapel of El Calvario. This small but attractive temple is the end point of a Vía Crucis (Way of the Cross), dotted with benches, and which coincides with this Stage of the Great Malaga Path going downhill, and the 33rd Stage going uphill, which joins up with the PR-A 171. This section also cuts across the yellow municipal route towards the Cañada de Gertrudis, before the route comes to an end at the viewpoints, in the upper part of Mijas.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
- Discover more about the province of Malaga