Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 22. Ardales - El Burgo
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.
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
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.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
- Discover more about the province of Malaga