The stage is distinguished by the contrast of colours created by the Mountains of Arco Calizo (Limestone Arch), a patchwork of fields, Mediterranean scrubland and motionless water of Viñuela Reservoir. At the end of the trail, you will see the imposing rocky mountain tops of Tajo de Gomer and Tajo de Doña Ana.
The majority of the way is along unsurfaced tracks, including a section along the disused cogwheel railway line. It passes through the municipality of Periana for the first 11 kilometres, up to La Cueva country house. From there, it crosses the municipal boundaries multiple times between that and Alfarnatejo, with the path later forming the boundary between the two. From 16.5 kilometres onwards it runs through Riogordo.
Stage 9 is the start of the Great Malaga Path’s section through Malaga’s Central Limestone
Arc, lasting until Stage 12. Initially, it follows a wide upward curve through the municipality
of Periana and its districts, to the north-east. It then turns west (and slightly south) from the
village of Guaro on to Riogordo. In this second part, it runs along the southern slopes of the
Alhama and Guaro mountain ranges, alongside numerous farmhouses which exist thanks
to an abundance of springs. The third part runs through the valley of the River Sabar and the
mountain pass of the same name.
The stage’s highest point is near the turn-off to Marchamona (almost 900 metres above sea
level), where it coincides with the GR 7- Tarifa to Athens. From the village of Guaro onwards,
it adopts a very jagged profile, passing through an interesting area of dense Mediterranean
vegetation and olive groves until it drops down into the River Sabar valley. It then climbs
up to the Sabar mountain pass over clayey ground, to cross the A-7204 road and gradually
work its way down to the end of the stage.
The villages seen along the route are worth a leisurely visit, although Marchamona is a
way off the route. The waterfalls at the source of the river Guaro, near the town of the same
name, are particularly noteworthy and especially in the rainy season. The country houses of
Zapata and Las Monjas, perched between mountains and farmland, offer a very traditional
image of integration in the natural environment.
The wild olive groves near the Zapata country house and the Cerrajón de los Baños mountain
remind us of the Mediterranean forest with a multitude of creepers and evergreen bushes.
Of greatest interest in the second part, are the River Sabar, the Bujeo soils with hundred-year
old olive groves and the views towards the Tajos or rock faces.
The four villages which are in this stage deserve a peaceful visit, even if Marchamona is out-of-the-way. Guaro is noteworthy, especially in the rainy seasons as the waterfalls at the source of the river Guaro are then brash and deafening. The farmhouses Cortijo de Zapata and Cortijo la Cueva situated between the sierra and the fields make up a typical picture of integration into the environment. The wild olive trees in the vicinity of the Cortijo de Zapata and the Monte of the Cerrajon de los Baños recall the Mediterranean forest, with plenty of vines and evergreen thickets. And from this site the landscapes towards the surrounding mountains and low Axarquía are spectacular.
Finally, entering Pulgarin Bajo the walker is welcomed by olive groves which are hundreds of years old and without a doubt, photogenic, also there are views to the gorges of Caballo and Bermejo to the north and Tajo (gorge) de Doña Ana to north-west.