This Stage has a very comfortable length and it stretches from south-west to north-east. It is marked by an initial uphill section of over 375 metres of elevation along 3 kilometres of a somewhat stony path that leads to the Mesas de Villaverde, the highest point of the Stage. Then the walk takes you downhill along the road to the area of Las Viñas which is hilly with hardly any vegetation, peppered with agricultural and livestock buildings and some holiday homes; it is solely altered by the conical calcareous hill where the Ardales Cave is placed.
These hills constitute the right bank of the river Guadalhorce, which runs 350 metres below, while the track keeps leading away from it at an altitude oscillating around 500 metres.
Half of the stage is composed of dirt tracks in good walking condition; there are three sections of asphalt and concrete road. You will walk along a footpath to climb Mesas de Villaverde and the part of the route which goes through the Sierra Blanquilla before you get to Carratraca. The stage ends in Calvario Street, next to Peña de Ardales Cliff, in the Town of Ardales.
The diversity of landscape during the walk is astounding, as the path takes you to various vantage points overlooking the Paraje Natural Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Gaitanes Natural Beauty Spot, El Chorro, el Valle del Guadalhorce, La Sierra del Agua and Ardales plus the Turón River valley.
The hydroelectric power station of Contraembalse del Tajo de la Encantada and the Presa de Villaverde dam are worth the effort you will need to make, walking along a reinforced pipe, from the former to the latter one.
Very few walks present a similar opportunity to approach two historical and archaeological sites of such importance as the Mozarabic Ruins of Bobastro, founded by the ineffable Umar Ibn Hafsún, and Ardales Cave (also called Doña Trinidad Grund´s Cave, after the person responsible for preparing the cave for visitors as an addition to the thermal baths of Carratraca).
The cave had been occupied from the upper Palaeolithic, and it was subsequently blocked off and then rediscovered in 1821 as a result of an earthquake which uncovered the entrance again. It contains more than 50 cave paintings and engravings, such as animal figures, abstract motifs and symbols, and even a silhouette of human hands depicted using airbrush technique. You need to book beforehand to visit the cave.