This route connects old town of Villanueva del Rosario and Archidona, visiting environmentally important beauty spots, such as the fluvial gorge Hoz de Marín, an exceptionally beautiful natural creation inhabited by rare indigenous Allepo pine woods, and well preserved river bank forests.
Stage 12 runs along the upper reaches of the Guadalhorce river basin, close by some of its most important and well-known tributaries, such as the Arroyos del Cerezo and la Hoz de Marín streams. The route heads continually north but makes slight detours for several reasons, primarily to avoid the A-92M motorway. On other occasions, this is due to geographical features such as the limestone and marly limestone hills or the narrow valley of La Hoz de Marín. It also crosses over a municipal boundary at Cerro de la Cruz.
The villages at the start and end of the Stage are at the same height, and so the route climbs and descends practically equally during the route. Therefore, a sawtooth profile describes it very well. The highest points are the Cerro de la Cruz (810 metres) and the ridge with the firebreak at 830 metres running between La Saucedilla and La Hoz de Marín. Conversely, the lowest lying terrain is found along the River Guadalhorce and the smaller watercourses of La Hoz de Marín or El Ciervo. Unsurfaced tracks are the most common trail type used along the way, as well as treelined pathways and a stretch of footpath at the end.
The Dehesa landscape, the traditional agroforestry system found around the middle of the stage is extremely interesting. The rocky area with clays in which it is found, gives the chance to see a karstic sinkhole and seasonal ponds. Its Holm oak forests form island-like clumps, while some larger individual examples remain, which serve as evidence of a grander past.
The narrow valley or La Hoz of the Marín stream is a forested area of some 600 hectares, declared an Outstanding Natural Area with the relevant protection by the Diputación of Málaga. The aerial view of La Hoz (which means sickle) explains its name, a semicircular scar with a 250-metre drop between top and bottom.
To summarize, the twelfth stage has very varied landscapes; agricultural in the first third, then livestock farming or hunting land in the Dehesas in the second and purely forestry in the final third.
A main point of interest at the beginning of this Stage is that you will see the by Guadalhorce river while it is just a small stream close to the path. The areas of dehesas during the first third of this section are very interesting, situated as they are in a limestone area along with clays, which gives an opportunity to see a karst sumps and temporary ponds. The Holm oak forests also take the form of islands, with isolated specimens as witnesses of past splendours.
The views from the pine covered hills are very enlightening, with a complete panoramic view toward the south of the Central Limestone Arch, in the area where the previous Stage crossed it. On the other side is the Aleppo pine forest of the Hoz de Marin. This site leads the walker to an island of vegetation and nature, into an enclosed valley, carved through the layers of gypsum and clay, with little effort, the river flow.