GR 249. Stage 17. Alameda - Fuente de Piedra
Las Sierras de la Camorra and Mollina
The first meters are walked on the road (which goes to Mollina) from the Ventorrillo (small Inn) whose name brings back the times when there was a business opportunity created by the new junction and village boundaries). Alameda is passed on the right the asphalt leads you south-west until you have travelled a mile and a half. Then the track turns south through the area of Buenavista, among olive trees and working fi elds, and the ground begins to be steep. Near a Buenavista farmhouse, José María, the bandit nicknamed El Tempranillo found his death at the hands of another José María, el Barberillo de Estepa. The tracks are in good condition right up to the pass (550 metres of altitude, km 4) where a grove of Holm oaks and pine woods take over the landscape. The density of the wood allows little undergrowth, and there is only some scrub on the edges of the forest.
The road descends and the track becomes increasingly worse starting at the Cortijo de la Camorra. It passes then an almond grove, slightly abandoned (5 km), and a kilometre further the path enters between pine trees, bushes of Purple Phlomis, gorse, rockrose and some mastic. The little hills on the left are those of Vergara and the Loma de Pegote. Between them and the sierra, in the area with highest plant density of the area, la Colada de Santillan brook fl ows along the Great Path of Málaga. The rest of the sierra has suffered the consequences of forest fi res to greater or lesser extent.
From Nacimiento del Santillan to Laguna de Fuente de Piedra
As you walk by the Recreational Area at km 9, you are walking exactly westwards and the terrain becomes level. Although there are patches of olives, the dry fi elds take over. Now the track will pass by many infrastructures, some quite large and known at an international level, such as the AVE speed train tracks (km10) level. At km 12.3 cross carefully the MA-701 road. Now look for the south direction again along the train line and follow the motorway south to fi nd the safe pedestrian crossing (km 15.5).
Fuente de Piedra is quite close, and you need to walk its streets and come out of the village again to fi nd the overpass that leads to the parking lot Cerro del Palo at the superb Visitor´s Centre José Antonio Valverde and one of the symbols of Malaga, a star natural reserve Laguna de la Fuente de Piedra.
1. Initiation Stage:
Access Starting point: Alameda can be reached from La Roda de Andalucía (SE-775), Fuente de Piedra (MA-701), Mollina (MA 703) or from the Autovía A-45 on the MA-708.
Starting point: The Ventorrillo junction, to the west of the village of Alameda.
Enjoy the walk safely: Three large infrastructures are passed on flyovers, so the danger is minimal. The only crossing on the road level is the road MA-701. Other than that, this stage poses no problems, neither because of its length, diffi culty level or isolation.
2. Completion of Stage:
Access to finish point: from the A-92 Seville-Granada, at the exit form Fuente de Piedra village and following the signs to the visitor´s centre.
Finish point: José Antonio Valverde Visitor´s Centre of the Laguna de la Fuente de Piedra natural reserve.
Possible "escape routes": there is a moment, when you go through the pine forest of the Sierra de Mollina, where that town is closer than the point of origin or the destination, follow any of the tracks that go directly to the south. Later on, the road leads to the Recreational Area or the one.
No return point: Having limed the pass the best option is to follow to the Recreational Area, i.e., go ahead.
Connections to other footpaths and trails: The inhabitants of the villages that surround the Sierra de Mollina (798 m) and the Camorra (684 m) feel a strong attraction to the hills. In the middle of fl at environment there are two hills making for excellent landscapes. It is very common to do the circular route of the Sierra de la Camorra, hiking or cycling. However, the walk it is not marked as offi cially adapted for leisure.
There are several options close to the track. The so-called red route begins at the farmhouse Cortijo de la Capuchina, at the mountain pass of this stage, and ends at the trig point on top of the hill after 6 kilometres of walking. The abundance of caves in the area is almost proverbial and during the walk you can see some of the major ones, including the Abrigo de los Porqueros. The green route leaves from Cordel de Santillan, the area between pine forests south of the sierra, and climbs in search of a cave La Cueva de la Gotera plus a few others. The blue route is very interesting because it takes you, for example, to the Corralón limestone formation where special vegetation grows, with the outstanding beautiful European Nettle Tree. There are four more walks, along tracks, to Caperuzón (Roman ruins), the Verdun, Portiichelo and Capuchina, almost all of archaeological interest.
In the Natural Reserve of the Laguna de la Fuente de Piedra there are two paths prepared for visitors to the lagoon complex and they will be described in the next Stage.