Tha trail goes around the Huma Mountains, which are the main geographic symbol of this nature zone. This distinctive and eye-catching landscape consists of chalky slopes that rise at different points of the path.
The Nature Reserve of Los Gaitanes Gorge, also known as El Chorro, is a semi-mountainous area and whose boundary the Stage follows fairly closely. Formed of limestone mountain ridges and sandstone hills, it covers both sides of the Guadalhorce River. The route itself is long and steep and sets off in a north-easterly direction from the meeting point of the Guadalteba and Guadalhorce reservoirs. It then climbs up to the east, running parallel to the Guadalhorce and skirts round the peaks of the Sierra de Huma. It reaches its highest point at a mountain pass, at 845 metres above sea level.
During the resulting downhill section, it gradually turns south and then west, with the socalled Frontales climbing area on the right, where the track drops down steeply into replanted woodland of Aleppo pines. The stage’s finish, at the Tajo de la Encantada hydroelectric power plant and El Chorro railway station, is 150 metres lower than the start point.
Throughout the route you pass numerous cliff faces, some of which are very tall and at times right next to the path. The area is very popular with sport climbers and this is actually the most extensive climbing area in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Both at the start and end of the stage you approach sections of the famous Caminito del Rey. It was once a maintenance walkway for the hydroelectric power plant, and after being reconditioned for public use, it opened in 2015. Despite all this, the true importance of the location lies in its value to nature and particularly, in its enormously complex geology.
The first 4 kilometres of the route belong to Campillos, to just beyond the transformer and the pylons. The municipal area of Antequera then follows on until kilometre 15.7, bringing the Abdalajís Valley into view. The route never actually enters the municipal area of Abdalajís, due to a peculiar kink in the boundary between the two, with Antequera almost encircling a large section of its neighbour. Finally, the area around Las Pedreras country house and the replanted Pine forest, belongs to Álora.
The Sierra de Huma (place name perhaps deriving from Umar Ibn Haffsum, whose stronghold of Bobastro is very close to the protected Natural Area) is the western bastion of the Central Limestone Arch and stands out dramatically in the landscape, especially against the fl at Guadalhorce Valley.
This makes the walk, which fl anks this entire sierra, almost a full circle and rich in numerous viewpoints which have been assigned GPS points. You have spectacular views over the area of the three reservoirs, the fi rst gorge of the Desfi ladero de los Gaitanes, the Vega de Antequera, the slopes of the Sierra de Huma, the Guadalhorce Valley and the area of El Chorro.
An important focal point here is the protection of an area such as the Paraje Natural. The other is certainly geology, with the diversity of limestone, dolomites, sandstones, and a geological modelling so powerful that it has resulted in the name of Desfi ladero which means gorge. The abundance of gorges has made the area of El Chorro into the biggest climbing school in the South of Spain. In the north of the Paraje Natural note the exceptionally dense and extensive thickets of Savin juniper.
Very close to the maximum altitude of the route are the Roman ruins of Nescania, barely recognizable but of great strategic importance because of their location in the most obvious natural passage between the Guadalhorce Valley and the plains of Antequera.