GR 243. Sierra de las Nieves. Stage 1: Ronda - El Burgo
Our route starts from Ronda. In its initial stages this section follows the old path to Yunquera. The first stretch covers a little more than five kilometres, taking us through an agricultural zone dominated by wheat fields and passing various farmhouses and farm buildings.
Once past this zone we find ourselves at the gateway to the farm of the ‘Cortijo de Los Peñoncillos’, through which the footpath runs for about 4 km. It is important to remember that this farm is private property and a private hunting reserve. We must keep to the path and remember that it is forbidden to cross this land in motor vehicles.
We reach another gateway where a sign indicates that we are leaving ‘Los Peñoncillos’ and entering the ‘Cortijo de Lifa’. We now find ourselves inside the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park. This farm is also private property and we should respect the same conditions here as in the land we have just crossed. These lands have been used traditionally for raising livestock. Pastureland and flocks of sheep dominate the landscape.
When we are near to the farm buildings we have to pass through three gates which separate distinct zones of pasture. We must remember to close them behind us.
From here the pylons serve as a point of reference as our path more or less follows the line of the electric cables.
In this zone we can see the important historical remains of the Tower of Lifa, an ancient watchtower which dates back to the time of Arabic occupation. The ruined tower sits impressively on the cliff top, with a view over most of the Valley of Lifa and the Rio Turon.
At the foot of the cliffs a vast terebinth wood covers a great part of the northern flank of the valley. Our path descends towards the valley bottom.
As we descend we have to pass through a small gateway that takes us from one side of the wire fencing to the other. We close this behind us and leave the power cables behind us. Our path now takes us towards the stream of ‘la Higuera’, passing close by the ruins of the Cortijo de La Troncha.
Once we have crossed the stream we are faced with a steep ascent that takes us to the forest track of the Rio Turon. This track runs more or less parallel to the river, and takes us to the village of El Burgo after 8 km of continuous smooth descent.
In this last stretch of track we can enjoy the sight of the impressive limestone formations on both sides of the valley, plus the vast and dense pine woods and the riverside vegetation of one of the best conserved areas in the province of Malaga.
Our approach to El Burgo is announced by the change from the wild, native landscape of the sierra to that of the small olive groves and vegetable gardens flanking the riverside.
Access Starting point: Southern end of the car park at the shopping centre found where the A-366 road to El Burgo crosses the A-397 to San Pedro de Alcantara.
Access to finish point: El Burgo: The pathway that starts near to the bridge over the Rio Turon on the A-366 road.