The proposed itinerary follows an N-shape on the map. Firstly it rises toward the north from the town of Benalmadena, through the mouth of the Tajo del Quejigal gorge, sharing a path with the previous Stage. Then it connects the successive passes along the ridge line of peaks that separate the inland towns from those on the coast, a traditional path of communication along a southwest – northeast direction. Finally it descends toward Alhaurin de la Torre using another ravine, the Arroyo de Zambrano and turns to the north again.
Despite being a mountain path, the walk is within anyone´s abilities, not because it lacks uphill and downhill sections which actually are quite significant, but by using traditional paths which are well suited to access the upper areas easily and have been selected for pack-mules, charcoal makers and people from the countryside. The highest elevations of the entire Stage are in the vicinity of a bastion landmark on the Costa del Sol, the Cerro Calamorro, reached by the well known Cable Car of Benalmadena. In fact, this infrastructure can be used by walkers on the Great Málaga Path as an alternative, or to complement the itinerary.
The walk, on the other hand, passes through rocky areas, dolomite sand banks, pine and Holm oak woodland and plateaus of aromatic scrub. There are constant spectacular view points over all the eastern slopes of this emblematic mountain range of Málaga.
In the flat region of the Guadalhorce valley and the corresponding area of the Costa del Sol where the capital of the province is located, the Sierra de Mijas, in a broad sense, represents the biggest elevations in the vicinity, the first real mountains. The eyes of the nearby settlers have perused its well-visible peaks from the beginning of time. It has been a refuge, but also a source for forest resources and miners, and sort of a sponge that measures out the natural spring water for human consumption.
Therefore it is only logical that each of the towns surrounding this calcareous mountain wanted to have their part in the distribution of its land. Alhaurin el Grande and Alhaurin de la Torre occupy the northern slopes, sharing their slopes up to the ridge, each town using it differently. Today it is the latter that maintains the mining activity with quarries for construction materials. There are huge open gashes (you will see them from above on this Stage) cut to remove aggregates whose destination is easy to see just by looking at the vast expanses of urban growth everywhere.
Mijas has a sun trap side at the south-western end while several villages distribute the eastern part, the richest in water upwellings, and which this stage will introduce you to.
Málaga, Torremolinos and Benalmadena also enter into the division, always reaching to the ridge and including watershed areas. Although there is controversy about the generic name of the mountain range between the district proprietors, the Sierra de Mijas maintains its own, very clear, identity, defi ning its limits more accurately than any other mountain area of Málaga. With this tour you can appreciate all these uses and how each town has seen different resources in the mountains, sometimes focusing on forest resources, others on hiking, rural tourist accommodation or, finally, on leisure infrastructures related to the sun and beach theme.
Stage 34 travels in this distal portion of the sierra, further away from the central core of high peaks, but no less wild. There is a great diversity of calcareous rocks characterized by numerous escarpments that bring variety to the landscape and to the plant species that live in it. These natural values, the excellent network of paths complementary to the GR-249 and the magnifi cent over the plains that surround the mountains are the main virtues of the proposed route.