GR 249.1. Stage Mollina - Humilladero - Fuente de Piedra
For practical reasons, there are three different sections along this trail, which are described on information boards. The three towns can be considered landmarks and embrace the most attractive parts of this trail, which takes hikers across fields and through forests.
An Extraordinary Landscape
The Sierra de la Camorra is a high rocky piece of land in the hollow of Antequera, with varied old roads and some currently used ways. Alameda is the closest town to the above reserve that is characterized by biodiversity, and Mollina and Humilladero are nearby, another mountain range – the Sierra de Humilladero. The landscape that surrounds the way to Mollina and past Humilladero, has changed little since old times. It is mainly composed of olive trees, cereal fields and vineyards. At certain points, the maze made of these crops makes incredible scenery decorated by farmland.
The line between the olive grove and the pine forest is probably the most attractive feature of this landscape. The coexistence of them probably brought difficulties in the past, but it is stable now. Reforested pine forests can be seen within several kilometre radius along the stage. Although the forest is rather dense, there is Mediterranean thicket on some clearings or at its borderlines. It consists of many different species, above all, the rosemary, esparto grass, rockrose and broom. Sometimes you can see dots of kermes oaks and parts of a primitive holm oak forest. Bellow Aleppo pines, some wild olive trees can be seen as they can adapt well to this kind of terrain.
From the Sierra de la Camorra to Mollina (up to km 3.5)
The first 3.5 km go to the most important part of Mollina, where the main sights, as old as this village, are placed - the church Nuestra Señora de la Oliva, Ascensión Convent or Cortijo de la Villa country house.
The itinerary starts at the first part of stage 17, where the main trail diverges at the Pegote Hill, which is separated from the rest of the mountain range, at the place called Perezón Colorado [Red Shallow Pond], which this path was named after and where we can see an olive grove today. At the beginning, there is to climb up a gentle slope, where a straight dirt way starts. A dense pine forest turns into a clearing covered in kerm oaks, esparto grass, rockroses and Albaida brooms (Anthyllis cytisoides). There are a lot of rabbits in this area, which is being supported by hunters' association by building artificial warrens for these animals, preyed on by the largest forest predators. The border of the pine forest (km 0.5) is much sunnier so it shelters the largest samples of Aleppo pines. They are like shutters which, once opened, provide us with a first view over the village of Mollina in the south, at the end of the Perezón Colorado way.
Then suddenly the landscape changes into the land mostly covered in olive groves, typical for the land at the bottom of the mountains. Some of the olive trees are old, and others younger with three or four trunks and they produce olives, which are used for eating or for olive oil. Some of this trees have been recently planted. What makes this journey extraordinary is the change of landscape between these and the famous Mollina vineyards that cover large stretches of the red soil. This is probably why the slope we leave behind in the west after we had gone over the first stream surrounded by an elm wood is called Cerro Colorado [Red Hill], and as well as Perezón [temporary shallow pond] Colorado [red], which this trail is named after.
Before getting to Mollina, the drainage system in the mountain is the same as along stage 17, although there are less of streams and rivers. You will go across few riverbeds that belong to the Aceiteros Stream, and are parallel to it. They go to Fuente de Piedra Lagoon. At the second ford, you can see well that the riverbed is embedded in red clay and that there are stone walls that support the shore. On the other side, Mollina reaches the top of a hillock, which is also where temporary streams starts flowing east. One of them is Zanjilla, which supplies the spring at the Cerro de la Fuente, called this way after the water source. Having walked past Casería de la Sierra, this small hill is on the left.
A gentle slope goes to a hillock were a famous religious youth engagement initiative, La Casa de Paz (The House of Peace), with a superb view of the forest on one and a village on the other side. On your way down a gentle slope, you will come across a small stream and you will go past the way from Mollina to Alameda on the left, and Camorra on the right. The long-distance path swerves gently at both of this points. There is a board which welcomes visitors to Mollina in La Camorra Street. You then follow Carreteros street that leads to the main square and Real Street. There is to continue walking up to the Fuente Avenue (la Avenida de la Fuente) and round Casería del Castaño industrial estate to the south and up to dirt paths again.
From Mollina to Sierecilla through a Pine Forest (to km 10.8)
Casería de la Sierra is a large abandoned country house that can be seen close on the horizon. There is also Cerro de la Fuente hill, and between them a hill you must climb with limestone over red clay and warrens inside of it pierced by rabbits. On your way there, you need to go under the A-92 motorway, and turn east so you could start walking upwards and past the last of the olive groves.
Having gone past the sand and limestone quarry on the left (km 71), the dirt way turns into a path which is actually the easternmost point of the Sierra de Humilladero or the Humilladero Mountains. Very soon, the path becomes surrounded by forest, but fenced olive groves are very close, judging by the tanks for gravity-fed irrigation systems. The Aleppo pines that were replanted in the second half of the last century are close to each other, so it is not unusual to see dead fallen specimens. You will see some clusters of rosemary on clearings, and soon after you will reach the highest point of the route (550m) by following milestones of Monte Público [Public Mountain]. The trail is covered is thicket that consists of esparto, rockroses and some broad-leaved shrubs.
There are several gentle ascents and descents and some properly signposted changes of the trail which lead into the forest or above the olive groves with Molina village is in the background together with the mountains where the route starts. On the steep clearing, created by a firebreak, you can see some beehives that are away from the trail. For the first time, the trail reaches the olive groves, and stretches along them. There is to follow the signs in order to climb to a clearing in the pine forest. There is another firebreak thanks to which we can see the highest points of the Sierra de Humilladero, Pollo [Chicken] Peak. Having gone past a structure where the water inlet is, the landscape changes abruptly into a large plain hollow with pasture and thymes, which separates main mountain tops from a long stony area with varied thicket on Sierrecilla hill (km 9.9).
From Humilladero to Fuente de Piedra (up to the end of the route)
Humilladero village makes the most of the aquifer on Sierrecillla that collects water close to the recreation area. Irrigation tanks are also common. Some of them are rather large and used for watering olive groves by drip irrigation systems.
The path matches the trail recommended by the Town Hall which follows the shade of the pine trees row to the Sierecilla recreation area. There you can spend a great day in the countryside next to the village. The inlet which is used for supplying the village with water and a campsite precede the first houses in Avenida 8 de Marzo (March 8 Avenue), which goes westwards and meets Loro Street, where an olive-oil mill is, and ends at the church Sagrado Cristo de la Misericordia (Jesus' Compassion Church). The trail hrough the village of Humilladero finishes along the streets Pablo Picasso, Capitán Velasco and the MA-5406 motorway, which goes through the village. It is curious that the trail enters to the area that belongs to Fuente de la Piedra and leaves Humilladero at the the Civil Guard headquarters. These two towns are separated by one street.
After that you will follow Las Albinas way, which was named like this because of the pale colour of clay or because it is often muddy. The long-distance path reaches two sewage purifier stations which are really close to the nature reserve. Due to this, their proper functioning is rather important. The riverbed which is followed after Humilladero is the Charcón stream. It stretches westwards towards some endorheic salty lakes. Some of the pools used for water treatment are in this riverbed.
This area is not famous for irrigated farmland, but there are some traditional wells close to the trail, and some of them have interesting samples of amphibians.
The trail is surrounded by fields with fewer trees and some isolated houses up to a vaulted tunnel that goes under the high-speed railway. The trail mainly goes westwards close to some settling ponds. This is its direction at least until it reaches a railway (km 15.1) and it turns north. There are many lower waterways which are not to be followed, as the gravel track leads to an asphalt road which goes around the big lake and leads to Campillos in a south-eastward direction. However, the path goes along the hard shoulder to the first houses and the campsite in Campillos Street.
The rest of the route leads to the Avenida de Andalucía (avenue), which you need to cross westwards and follow until you get to the streets Juan Carlos I and Retamar. This is where this interesting stage ends.
1 The Beginning of the Stage: The Sierra de Camorra, at the crossroad of the Perezón Colorado Way and Cordel de Santillán in Loma del Pegote mountain. The best way to get there on foot is along the long-distance path (GR) 249, from Santillán Park or you can start at Alameda.
The Sierra de Camorra, at the crossroad of the Perezón Colorado Way and Cordel de Santillán in Loma del Pegote mountain. The best way to get there on foot is along the long-distance path (GR) 249, from Santillán Park or you can start at Alameda.
2 The End of the Stage:
Access to the end: From the motorway A-92 Seville-Granada, at the exit to Fuente de Piedra. Follow the signs that lead to the Visitor Centre. You can also access this point from the Sierra de Yeguas by the A-7279 motorway.
The finish line: Fuente de Piedra - eastern part of the city, at the crossroad of Avenida de Andalucía (avenue) and Carlos I Street.
3 Alternative Ways
Exits: All the villages on your way have services you might need in case of emergencies. Actually, they can be used as start points of a circular route.
The point of no return: You must follow the vertical signs, which give information about the distance between villages and decide if you want to continue of go back. In any case, this path tends to be close to some of the villages.
Enjoy the safe path: Several larger structures are walked over or under by flyovers or subways, so the risk is lower. There is to be very careful only along the roads and streets in the three towns. There is a part of the road before Fuente de Piedra, but there are few vehicles as it is in poor condition.
There is to be careful near the abandoned aggregate quarry, and stay away from the unstable cliff edges. Further on, there are beehives, which are properly signposted and separated from the path. As for the rest of the stage, it is neither long, rough nor isolated and, therefore, it is not difficult.
Connection with other paths and livestock tracks: There are no registered paths in this area except the Great Málaga Path. However, the chalky mountain ranges (the Camorra, Mollina and Humilladero) in the flat surrounding are an attraction which make this trail rather popular with hikers who venture to walk dozens of kilometres of paths. Some of these paths go around the above mountains and others lead to their highest points at 684 m, 798 m and 682 m respectively.
The Red Route (Ruta roja) is in the Sierra de Mollina. It starts at the Cortijo de la Capuchina country house, on the GR 249 (long-distance path) and ends at the triangulation pillar or the top of the mountain after a six-kilometre long trail. There are plenty of caves in this area. Some of the most important ones, like Abrigo and Porqueros, can be seen along this trail.
The Blue Route (Ruta azul) is important because it goes to Corralón, a circular depression with a very special vegetation, and beautiful hackberry trees as a primary attraction. Lastly, there is the Green Route (Ruta verde), which starts close to the beginning of the alternative trail Corde de Santillán, and goes up in search of some caves like Gotera [leak]. Other four paths are of historical interest and consist of dirt tracks: Berdún, Portichelo, Capiruzón (Roman ruins) and Capuchina.
The town hall of Humilladero recommends three registered routes, one of which goes to Ratosa Lagoon, at the furthest point of this long territory, one is the path of Fuente de Piedra Lagoon (actually this is the third part of the alternative trail 249.1) and the Sierra de Humilladero trail. The final one is circular and leads up to the highest tops. Its itinerary matches the one of the long-distance path, and gives hikers a chance to see Ángel [angel] and Zapatito [little shoe] caves. Anyhow, there are plenty of paths and tracks which are used of crossed, such as the one of Camorra, Casería, Sierra or Albinas.
In the Fuente de Piedra Lagoon Nature Reserve, which can be visited along the next stage, there are two public trails which allow us to see the lakes.
• You can come across the farming vehicles along the ways.
• Streets and roads in the towns.
• Beehives in the Sierra de Humilladero.