Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 35. Alhaurín de la Torre - Málaga
1. Initiation Stage :
Access Starting point: Utovía del Mediterráneo (A-7S) ring road from Málaga passes by very close to Churriana, where there is an exit to Alhaurín (A-404), turn off immediately and take the Carretera de Churriana, A-7052. It passes right through the starting point in the district of Alhaurin called El Peñón. The A-7052 also constitutes another recommended direct connection with Carretera de Cártama (A-357).
Starting point: In the area called Peñón de Zapata, in Alhaurín de la Torre, at the beginning of Calle del Quinto.
Enjoy the walk safely: There are very few stretches of road and what´s more you can walk on the hard shoulder and pavements adapted for walking. However, these are high-speed roads with plenty of traffi c which means you can´t be too careful. There is some traffi c on the dirt tracks; fi rst it is farm vehicles and then traffi c related to the industrial estates and the airport. Normally, country roads which are often used by vehicles are also wide enough so that you can walk safely. During the design process of this stage the rising water levels of the Río Guadalhorce were taken into account as they can seasonally flood normally passable areas.Should this happen, you should not cross the potentially problematic point which is the pass underneath MA-21 road.
In order to continue safely you must cross the road using one of the road bridges (sign-posted as “cambio de sentido”) which you will find direction south-west. There is no source of drinking water anywhere along this stage
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: In order to avoid crossing all of Málaga you need to walk around its southernmost tip. The exits, sign-posted as Palacio de Deportes Martín Carpena, are a good landmark or, as well, Paseo Marítimo Antonio Banderas in the area of La Térmica. This is the area where the MA-20 and MA-21 roads lead to, following the old surface of the N-340.
Finish point: Kilometre Zero of the Gran Senda de Málaga in el Paseo Marítimo Antonio Banderas, in front of Diputación Provincial de Málaga.
3. Alternatives :
Possible "escape routes": At the beginning of this stage the best escape plan is retracing your steps. Obviously, in the metropolitan area of Málaga it should be quite easy to find alternatives, however there are two obstacles blocking your way: the International Airport and the very Río Guadalhorce, especially when the water level is high. It is recommended to follow the walk until you fi nd a road taking you to an industrial estate or a motorway which are abundant around the GR..
No return point: Having passed the airport (km 7) it is more reasonable to continue ahead rather than trying to go back.
Connections to other footpaths and trails:
GR 248, The Guadalhorce, overlap towards the end, adn GR-92 E-12, Coastal Path, link-up at the end.
• Road traffic circulating on tarmac roads
• Lighter vehicles circulating on the tracks.
The Aquaduct and the King’s Bridge (Up to km 3.5)
You depart south-west El Peñón de Zapata from the roundabout at the intersection of the A-7052 and Las Américas Avenue, heading north through the park by the Gran Canaria Avenue. After a few gentle bends along Los Mellizos Street, you come to the first fields of crops. You then cross a deep canal near the Zambrana stream, with the occasional bed of Reeds or solitary Eucalyptus tree. Meanwhile, the terraces are occupied by citrus trees, vegetables and seasonal fruit. The tracks follow the right-angled layout of the roads and farmland, and therefore zigzag alongside the irrigation ditches, maintaining a north-easterly direction overall.
About a kilometre from the start, the track turns to the east and south, forming a curve that links up again with the irrigation ditch. Cross over to the other side and continue alongside until you reach the River Guadalhorce, where you leave its side and pass under the A-7 dual carriageway. Continuing along the track and keeping the river bank on your left, you loop round to the south before arriving at the historic highlight of the day, the aqueduct. Known as Puente del Rey (the King’s Bridge; km 3.5), it dates back to 1726 and was replaced by the San Telmo aqueduct, to the east of the city of Malaga.
There is a group of houses built into its base, which even used to make use of the arcades too. The Path nevertheless, turns through the fields and returns to the north for a short way.
The River Guadalhorce and its mouth (Up to km 8.7)
The Guadalhorce valley is blessed with an ideal climate, in addition to the extremely fertile soils due to the river deposits building up to produce the flood plains. Water was the only element required to complete the triangle of agricultural production. Since the Guadalhorce has a significant volume of water, any improvised channelling or temporary irrigation ditches proved useless. It was not until the 1970s that, following the control over the flow through the Chorro reservoirs, two large canals were built under the so-called Guadalhorce Plan. Of greatest interest here is the Right Bank Canal. This carries water through the final part of the valley as far as Alhaurín de la Torre, using both pipes and open and concrete-sided channels.
A drainage ditch flowing into the Guadalhorce brings an end to the detour around this network of tributaries. From this point onwards, you head south-east along a wide track between the river and the international airport on your right. The watercourse stays on your left, generally very close, before a large pipeline and then a railway line cross overhead near to the Guadalhorce Industrial Estate. The Path is separated from the airport runways and the freight and passenger terminals by high security fences and a perimeter track.
The River Guadalhorce has accompanied the Great Path from its source near Stage 12 (Villanueva del Rosario to Archidona) and then again, from Stage 19 to 22 around the area of the reservoirs. Almost as if it were a metaphor, they both now come to an end together. Although much further upstream and far from here, the river maintains some spectacular riverside clumps of tall trees, it is quite the opposite here. This area is filled with Bulrushes, Reeds and Giant reeds with a scattering of Tamarisk and Poplar trees.
The Path keeps a certain distance from the river, however an intricate network of paths goes down to the riverside. When you approach the MA-21 motorway, the path bends slightly to pass under the bridge (km 8.7). This is just where the river divides into two branches, the main channel and a secondary branch to minimise occasional flooding. Together with the beach, they make up the Nature Reserve of the river mouth, covering 67 hectares.
The beaches of Sacaba and La Misericordia (To the end of the stage)
With the river channel on the left and an industrial estate on the right, it passes under the MA-20 motorway and then turns left, leaving the Nature Reserve behind and on the other side. A pathway of Albero sand leads to the spectacular footbridge over the Guadalhorce, with its wavey appearance. Once you have crossed over, turn right towards another bridge that crosses the other branch of the river.
One of the chimneys of La Térmica is a sign of the industrial past and welcomes you to the seaside boulevard called Paseo de Antonio Banderas. Málaga´s most south-westerly beach, called Sacaba has landscaped promenades, the famous beach bars and various tourism and sports amenities.
La Misericordia beach is the setting for the Great Malaga Path’s Kilometre Zero. Over 35 Stages, the route as a whole has managed to guide the visitor through the real Malaga, created by all Malagueños (Malaga’s inhabitants) over millennia and is found in a privileged natural setting, which the Great Path has made it possible to get to know better.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
- Discover more about the province of Malaga