Great Sierra de las Nieves Path (GR 243). Stage 05: Guaro - Monda
1. Access to the starting point
Calle Camino de Sotornil, which leaves the crossroads in Guaro, on the A-7100.
2. Access to the finishing point
Guaro Avenue. Entrance to Monda from Guaro on the A-7100.
Connections with other routes
• PR-A 279: Up to the stage’s mid-point.
A Note of Caution
The route runs along farm tracks often used by vehicles, so it is necessary to pay attention. We must respect the farmland and refrain from picking fruit from the groves. Due to limited water sources, carrying a supply of water is strongly advised. As the stage has a leg-breaking profile, with constant ups and downs and few flat stretches, telescopic poles are recommended. Take a pair of binoculars with you to be able to see the birds in their different natural environments along the way.
We leave Guaro along the Sotornil or Hondo stream path, coinciding with the route of the PR-A 249 (Guaro-Chiribenítez), passing farmhouses, second homes and a mosaic of groves among which Olive trees, Almond trees and the recently added Avocado trees stand out.
Looking over to the west from here is a striking contrast between the hilly farmland, with dark green patches of scrubland, against the arid and lighter Tolox mountain range. Once we have forded one of Arroyo Seco’s tributaries, we gain enough height to see out over a wide area that includes the Tolox mountain range, where the highest peaks of the National Park are located, as well as the Canucha mountain range, also of sedimentary origin. The Parda de Tolox mountain range stands out for its ruggedness, with its reddish colouring and ample cover by forest of Maritime pine trees. Without a doubt, this stretch provides a marvellous synopsis of the geological richness of the Sierra de las Nieves Biosphere Reserve and the associated rock types and vegetation.
At the bottom of the valleys, some travertine platforms can be seen, created by water flowing over carbonate materials, forming small detritic platforms in the form of natural terraces. Farmers have used these to create irrigated vegetable plots. Halfway along the route, at the hamlet of La Erriza del Manchego, (km 3.2), the GR-243 route makes a sharp turn to the south and begins a long climb up El Retamal. This provides views to the west of the deep valley shaped by the Seco stream. We eventually reach the Chaparral pass, the highest point on the route, at 522m above sea level. This is an ideal natural viewpoint to appreciate one of the most significant mountains in the Sierra de las Nieves National Park: Sierra Real. Indeed, this large peak formed of peridotites is now part of the new protected area thanks to the great environmental treasures it holds. Among these are a good number of endemic serpentine botanical species, including the Pinsapo Spanish fir.
We now enter the river basin of the River Seco, not to be confused with the Seco stream, and come across the wide open Guadalhorce Valley and the mountain ranges of Alpujata and Mijas. In the centre of the patchwork of hills, mountains and fruit orchards lies Monda on a plain, at the foot of the ancient castle of La Villeta, converted into a country hotel. We descend steadily until we reach the road to Guaro, next to the sports facilities and municipal swimming pool. Continue walking on the right-hand side along the pavement and soon arrive at the centre of this pretty white village.
Discover more about the province of Malaga
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