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Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 32. Ojén - Mijas

Diputación de Málaga
GR 249. Stage 32. Ojén - Mijas.

Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 32. Ojén - Mijas

Route On foot
Difficulty - Red - Difficult
Access -

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.

Hazards:

• Road traffic circulating in the urban areas
• Road crossings
• Farm and forestry vehicles on the tracks.

Duration - 14:45 horas
Length - 50400 Km
Routes

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.

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Discover more about the province of Malaga

Discover more about the province of Malaga