GR 249. Stage 08. Canillas de Aceituno - Periana
From Canillas de Aceituno to Alcaucín
The exit from Canillas de Aceituno leads straight to a footpath between pine trees, it cuts through several small dry gullies to the start of a steep, downwards slope towards the west and fi nishes at the bottom of the ravine.
Towards the north you can see the large entrance of Cueva de las Cabras, adapted as a corral for cattle and enclosed by a dry stone wall. The Cueva de la Fájara cave is a little below the spring of the Bermuzas river which falls in a short cascade through a narrow channel to just beneath a large rock where the main river begins.
The track gains height rapidly, passing through one of the many gates which cross the border of the Natural Park, which from here, remains on your right behind the fence. The pathway sometimes has a stone surface, it climbs continually, occasionally between pines, but mostly at the outer edge of the woods.
There is a lime kiln to your left, between the esparto grasses and rosemary and a little further on you will arrive at a group of houses, which also remain to your left. Here the cultivated area of olives and almonds is more cared for, and includes some grapevines.
You continue with the same destination as before, with another lime kiln on the way, until culminating in the Loma de Canillas pass, where the natural line of the walk is altered to the northwest because of the conspicuous scar of the quarry at Alcaucín, whose excavations force you to turn sharply toward the southwest. Now the walk runs along a dirt track with vineyards on both sides, in a moment it will be concreted, near an area of antennas. There is a long descent that passes by the base of the quarry, the houses become more frequent and from here you will arrive at Alcaucín.
From Alcaucín to Periana
The tone changes entirely in this second part. The walk is now unequivocally to the east, between fields of non-irrigated crops, mostly well maintained olive groves. These roads are going to Pilarejo and los Cortijillos, the second nucleus of houses remain on your right having dismissed the concrete track as nothing more than an exit to Alcaucín.
After fording the river and leaving behind the Molino Barco mill, you will connect with it again. The views towards Alcaucín from the Pilarejo hill are spectacular, especially in the evening. There is a contrast between the wooded limestone slopes and the settlements, marked by the line of the water sources that have always fed the springs, such as the well known Cinco Caños de Alcaucín. A little further on the leading role is taken by the Boquete de Zafarraya, the most direct and easy route to reach the province of Granada from the western Costa del Sol. In fact, it crosses the motorway A-402 and you aim for that. The railway used to go through the Boquete, from the east, to reach train stops at Ventas de Zafarraya.
But do not forget the views to the south,with the reservoir of La Viñuela lording over the landscape and Comares village watching from the hill top. You will notice the large number of dispersed buildings, something that has caused more than one problem for the urban development plans in the area. After fording the Río Seco the GR passes by the road signs to Veredas Blancas and El Hoyo del Toro and a slight incline takes you up to the Estación de Periana station.
The next train platform is that of Matanza which also has information of possible destination points. Periana can boast to being a great vantage point to see Axarquía, as from its viewpoints you can appreciate the views and landscapes of the region: the corridor Colmenar to Periana with the Montes de Málaga towards the west, the reservoir of La Viñuela and the Hoya de Vélez Málaga to the south and the Boquete de Zafarraya and the Sierras Tejeda y Almijara to the east.
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: Exit 272 of the A-7 E-15 direction Zafarraya and then A-356, A-7205 and lastly the MA-4106.
Starting point: Extreme north-west of Canillas de Aceituno, at the road entrance, close to the football pitch.
Enjoy the walk safely: The only part of the walk which is a bit wild is the descent to Cueva de la Fájara. As it is a narrow pass where the two ravines unite to form the Río Bermuza river, you must be extremely cautious wading through during rain and in flooding season.
Fording the Alcaucín river would not normally present any problems; however there is a bridge close by which you can use for this crossing.
On the asphalted tracks and the stretches of main road, as always, it is necessary to be aware of the vehicles, which here could include motocross bikes and mountain bikes.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: Main road A-7204.
Finish point: Entrance to Periana to the east, at kilometre 7 of the A-7204.
Possible "escape routes": Alcaucín at km marker 6 would be your best option. After this, there are many junctions with main roads or asphalted tracks; you will also be passing many inhabited houses, and farmhouses.
No return point: n the first section, at the Cueva de la Fájara. In the second section, after the Alcaucín River, it is unnecessary to retrace your steps, it is better to use the asphalted tracks to return to the village.
Connections to other footpaths and trails: This eighth stage is the mirror image of the first stage of the GR-242 Periana- Nerja, which starts in Periana.
The first part of this stage follows the pedestrian way which always used to connect Canillas de Aceituno with Alcaucín in a straight line. However nowadays the walk does not follow a straight line; it actually leads in a wide curve at Loma de Canillas.
This has been caused by the Cantera de Alcaucín quarry, as it interferes with a large section of the limestone mountain, to the point that the original walk has been permanently cut off.
In the second part the GR coincides with the Camino Periana to Alcaucín up until it crosses the cog railway line of the Tren Cremallera de La Viñuela a Periana and then the walk follows that line.