Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 18. Fuente de Piedra - Campillos
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: Point: from the A-92 Seville-Granada, at the Fuente de Piedra exit and following the signs to the visitor´s centre.
Starting point: José Antonio Valverde Visitor´s Centre to the Laguna de Fuente de Piedra Nature Reserve.
Enjoy the walk safely: Epending on the season, sometimes very frequently. Take care when farm vehicles pass
by, and, on the stretch of asphalt, passenger cars. They never do so at very high speed though, given the state of the tarmac.
Be careful when crossing the road from Sierra de Yeguas and, starting from there, there are stretches of track built without ditches and this can make the surface very muddy.
There is no possibility of stocking up on water during this stage.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: From Malaga on the road which crosses the reservoir of the Guadalteba, the A-357. From Antequera or Jerez, the A-384. From Sierra de Yeguas via the A-7279.
Finish point: Campillos, in the northeast, entering via Calle Alamo.
Possible "escape routes": He only road you will cross is at kilometre 8.3, the A-6213, which comes from Sierra de Yeguas (on the right following the direction you will be walking) and connects with the A-384.
No return point: point: At farmhouse of la Rábita you will have reached half-way point of the walk, but from that point onwards you are in little-travelled territory, inaccessible to vehicles. When get to the Laguna the Lobón (km 12) you get the fi rst glimpse of Campillos. If you come across serious problems and do not reach Lobón lagoon, perhaps it is worthwhile returning to fi nd the road.
Connections to other footpaths and trails:
GR-249.1, Alameda – Mollina – Humilladero - Fuente de Piedra (Variant).
• Road traffic circulating
• Crossing seasonal streams
The Fuente de Piedra Lake (up to km 1.6)
The route begins at the entrance to the highly recommended José Antonio Valverde Visitors Centre, located on the Palo hill. To the south, there is another short trail called Laguneto, with three bird observation spots and a botanical garden.
The Fuente de Piedra saltwater lake, enclosed and endorheic by nature, lying 400m above sea level, has an elongated shape running north-east to south-west. The water surface is roughly 16 km², very shallow and 6.5km long by 2.5km wide, making it the largest in Andalucia. Salt extraction has shaped the area, with an ancient drainage perimeter to prevent water from entering, in which Tamarisk, Bulrushes and Reeds grow, while in the more saline areas Turkey berry and Shrubby seablite thrive. The lake’s mining dams are usually above the water level and are used by flamingos for nesting, making up the largest breeding colony in the Iberian Peninsula.
The first part of the stage, heading east, coincides with the Las Albinas pathway, with white clayey soils that tend to become waterlogged, hence the name Los Juncares. The route first crosses some wooden walkways and, once on the other side, joins a country track raised above the surrounding terrain, winding its way until you reach the A-7279 road. It follows a path with railings that crosses the Santillán stream. At the 1.6km mark, it leaves this path (which leads to the observation decks of Las Albinas and La Vicaría in less than a 1km) and crosses the road at the 11km mark, in search of a wide gravel track.
Andalusian farms & traditional roads (up to km 9)
The area is known as the Soldado plain, and is in short, a cereal-growing wilderness. The route leads away from the village and further on, leaves the saltwater lake off to your left. Soon, olive groves begin to appear, varying from hundred-year-old trees to new plantations. There is a large gully along the wayside with many rabbit warrens as you pass a borehole, a row of Holm oaks, some smaller crossroads of paths and the access road to El Madroño country house. Rabbits, hares and partridges are easily seen in these fields.
Going straight over a crossroads in the path, you come to the first rise, near La Paloma, passing the fruit groves and the dry-stone walls of the Buena Vista country estate on your right. In the dis¬tance to the north-west, the whiteness of the aggregate quarry of the Sierra de la Cruz stands out. With views of the lake to the south and the Sierra de los Caballos mountains and wind turbines to the west, it makes a right and a left bend. Then it comes to a crossroads of first-rate livestock tracks, and the route twists and turns through an area of red clay ground with several clumps of Holm oaks.
Navahermosa (Up to km 16)
A slight descent leads to a well-kept track, leading away from the fertile Nava to the west with the backdrop of the Sierra de los Caballos mountain range. It is here that you make the sharp turn from north-west to south-west. Although there are cereals and olive groves on both sides, there are some vineyards, and after passing a ford with two huts, you pass a large solitary Elm tree and come to a give way sign for a different lane, which connects La Peñuela country estate (top left) with Navahermosa.
On the right is a solar energy plant, just before two more signs stating agricultural vehicles do not have priority during this section of the route. Another concrete surface leads up to some hydraulic drilling huts, before a slight climb up to the first houses of Sierra de Yeguas.
The hills of clay(To the end of the Stage)
The route takes a turn south in the village; passes through the hamlet and, in Las Cruces, sets off up the steepest climb of the stage, for some 100 metres in total along country tracks. On the flattened summit of Los Lagares hill, there is a small group of wind turbines. Then the gravelless track winds its way through ancient olive trees and the Fuente de Piedra Lake comes into view to the left, far away in the distance.
Between El Chaparral and La Garachuela there is a left turn and over a little more than a kilometre it gradually turns south-east, zig-zagging between rows of olive trees. Almond and Kermes oak trees can be found along with some dry-stone walls. The ground of the olive grove changes colour from white to red as you take another turn-off, this time to the right. If you were to continue straight on at this easterly to southerly change of direction, 2km further on is the famous Cortijo de las Mezquitas country estate.
The terrain now opens out and the path drops down slightly. It then fords the Boyero stream, normally without any difficulty, and comes to an important crossroads next to an olive oil mill. It then turns onto a minor track off the left, between the mill and its small cluster of solar panels and some alpechín (olive mill waste water) ponds nearby. The final stretch runs between country houses and a cement factory on the right, until it reaches the northern part of Campillos. The stage ends next to the San Benito agricultural society, a reminder of the principal activity of the land through which the route has passed, and of the region as a whole.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
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