Great Malaga Path (GR 249). Stage 34. Benalmádena - Alhaurín de la Torre
1. Initiation Stage :
Access Starting point: The A-368 road, accessed from the AP-7S motorway, the main road which crosses Benalmadena. Where it changes name to the Avenida Juan Luís Peralta is where this stage begins.
Starting point: Calle Luís Cernuda de Benalmádena street, in the higher area close to the Autovía del Mediterráneo motorway.
Enjoy the walk safely: There are two cores of human activity during this stage should you need assistance. One of them is the Cerro Calamorro, wait here until a cable car arrives from Benalmadena, the exception being it does not run in very bad weather. Climb to the peak following the directions provided by the signs of Ruta 1 (red path) from Benalmadena.
The other point is the refuge or the lodgings at Cańada del Lobo, which are often occupied during the holidays and have a municipal guard. Otherwise, it is a solitary mountain very close to the shore but it receives countless visits from walkers and mountain bikers. There is no drinking water during the entire walk despite the fact that there are a few sources within walking distance. You would need to know of these in advance and remember that the water has not been treated for human consumption.
The network of paths is extensive and you would have to be sure of what you are doing if using any of the connections, especially in adverse weather conditions. Although it is an unlikely event, be careful with telescopic walking poles in the event of a storm or if the relative humidity is very high as you skirt the Cerro Calamorro, where you pass beneath a power cable that, due to the terrain, seems to be lower than usual.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: The network of roads that lead to Alhaurin de la Torre has its reference in the autovía del Mediterráneo motorway when it bypasses Málaga in the South. The most logical access is the A-404 road, which also communicates with Alhaurín el Grande. From the Carretera de Cartama (A-357), the access road is known as Carretera de Churriana A-7052 which is linked to the fi rst.
Finish point: The housing developments to the south of the old town of Alhaurin de la Torre are the highest in the village, situated in the folds of the mountains. One of them, Los Manantiales, is based on both sides of the Camino de las Vińas, which is the road that leads to the fi nal destination of the stage.
3. Alternatives :
Possible "escape routes": The escape areas are located between the Puerto de las Ovejas pass and the tourist facilities of Cańada del Lobo. You have to look out for the forest track that goes down in a south-east direction from the crossroads at the Puerto del Viento.
No return point: Prior to the point described above, once you have seen the view of the Calamorro summit (km 4.8) the best thing to do is to continue forward. On the other hand, near the end of the stage, reaching the Corralones del Tío Caliche, there is an option to continue down into Alhaurin de la Torre, which is the closest village.
Connections to other footpaths and trails:
PR-A 171, Mijas Benalmádena, from the Tajo de la Sabia to Las Ovejas Pass, PR-A 172, Los Puertos de Torremolinos passes, overlapping for 2.5km in the middle section, SL-A 50, Jabalcuza hill, overlaps at the end.
• Road traffic circulating at the start and end
• Cyclists sharing the same pathway.
The Garganta del Quejigal Gorge (Up to km 3.5)
Setting off from the northern part of Benalmádena, you take the path through a tunnel under the Mediterranean motorway, a drainage channel of the Hondo stream. Turn immediately right after exiting for a kilometre of gentle ascent alongside the AP-7S. A series of disused huts for the water network come up, while a link to the first municipal hiking route goes off to the left. After the fifth hut is the second junction with the pink route, which you also disregard, before the path takes a slightly more north-westerly course from the previous northerly. Under the Aleppo pines, the thin undergrowth of Esparto grasses, Carnations and Thistles gives way to a denser and taller undergrowth of Scorpion broom, Turpentine, Mastic, Mediterranean buckthorn and Juniper.
You pass an abandoned and shaded quarry and from there on the valley sides become steeper, while the path flattens out through the narrow valley. Just before the ford over El Quejigal stream is a rise with the best panoramic view of the rocky amphitheatre-like scenery below. El Quejigal gorge stands out with its tangled trees, contrasting with the Oleanders and the stream’s Rushes.
The route then passes along the confluence of the two streams at the head of the valley, where some Myrtles, Rosemary and Dwarf fan palms are to be found among the Pines. The sandy areas begin (km 2.7) and you cross a stream, to then negotiate a steep slope, eroded due to the lack of vegetation. This brings you to a high point with the junction of paths near La Sabia gorge, which is just a few metres behind the watershed. Take a right turn through Stone pines, leaving the route of Stage 33 behind.
The mountain passes (Up to km 9.5)
The incline gradually levels off and you leave the hill of El Moro behind you to the west, hedgehog-like thanks to its many antennae. The first of the passes is that of La Cruz (km 4.3), where the Great Path keeps to a height of 650 metres. There are decent panoramic views, firstly of Benalmádena and then the Calamorro hill beyond, while passing by Kermes oaks perched on the highest point of the day.
You reach El Puerto Viejo, (the Old Pass) where several routes up to El Calamorro from Benalmádena converge. The selected route goes along the northern slope, following a power line and has views over the quarry of Sierra Llana, between the Blanquillo and El Pinar streams, with some terracing replanted with trees.
The next viewpoint is Las Ovejas pass (km 6.0), up to which a track climbs from La Miel stream. The branch off to the right leads up to the cable car station. This area of white sand is home to the upper courses of the Los Muertos and El Saltillo streams, where you take a country track overlooking the coastline, instead of the footpaths. At the crossroads of the Puerto del Viento mountain pass, continue along the same track that goes up and over the hill.
Torremolinos town hall’s tourist and environmental complex in the Cańada del Lobo ravine is the Great Path’s next stop. Soon after this, you abandon the forest tracks in favour of a footpath that zigzags along a shallow limestone lapies, passing beside an old steel and concrete tower. This leads on to the Blanquillo pass (km 8.3), recognisable for its new fork that heads towards the Blanquillo stream and the quarries.
The terrain changes on the Ridge or Plains of Los Pajaritos, cleared of trees and with thicket of mostly aromatic and thorny plants. The descent starts while in a copse of tall Maritime and Aleppo pines, going past the livestock shelters of Tío Caliche (km 9.1) with panoramic views over the Guadalhorce valley. Near the rustic old farmhouse is another of the Public Upland’s cairns, the next one being at El Canuto pass. This is undoubtedly a symbolic spot, and an obligatory stopping-off point on the traditional paths between Alhaurín de la Torre and Torremolinos. It is little surprise therefore that three types of certified footpaths converge here: the SL-A 50, the PR-A 172 and our GR 249.
The Zambrano stream (To the end of the stage)
The peaks of Las Palomas, to the east, and the Jabalcuza to the north are also accessed from here. The Great Malaga Path nevertheless, heads north-west and downhill where it enters the Zambrano ravine. The vegetation here becomes almost rainforest-like in appearance thanks to the very well-developed Mastic, Turpentine, Mediterranean buckthorn and Carob trees and the tangle of rough Bindweed (also known as Smilax) and other climbers. This dense vegetation contrasts heavily with the two rocky valley sides, of El Jabalcuza on the right and El Coto Alarcón on the left.
With the cables of a power line overhead, the valley gradually opens up as you cross the stony bottomed stream several times until you reach a plain covered with tall Pines. Among the fallen leaves and bushes, you can still see the terraced walls of the vineyards, abandoned more than a century ago, along with the occasional rustic property.
Crossing over the Zambrano stream just before it becomes a small gully, leads to an Olive grove and to a tarmac track further on, called the Camino de las Vińas (the Vineyards Way). This descends steadily towards Alhaurín de la Torre through plantations of subtropical plants and farmhouses that are gradually being replaced by the modern housing developments at the end of the Stage.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
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