Now you will walk through a dense pine wood along the River Turón until you see a steep path to Lifa Valley,
which encircles the ruins of a watchtower over a chalky promontory, where its plant life turns into holm oaks and turpentine trees.
Stage 23 links the towns of El Burgo and Ronda. It passes through the landscape of Lifa, found between the Hidalga and Blanquilla mountain ranges. The valley of the River Turón (or El Burgo) is its starting point and it finishes on the Aguaya Plains. As you cross the river at the ford at kilometre 9, (which at times can be dangerous) you also cross over into the municipal area of Ronda. In addition, up to the pass of Lifa, the route runs within the bounds of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park and, for a short section, with Spain’s most recent National Park of the same name.
The route varies between a westerly or slightly south-westerly direction in the first few sections, reaching 1,160 metres above sea level at El Puerto de Lifa, where it heads directly west. It mostly takes advantage of good forestry tracks, except in the Lifa valley where there is a section of footpath of about 3.5 km, which climbs continuously. For this reason, only hiking is recommended for this stage. The Stage finishes with just over 3km of tarmac or concrete track.
The track that runs parallel to Los Diques is fairly new, but for the rest of the way, the stage uses the same route as the Ronda to Yunquera Way. We know that this has been used since ancient times due to the centuries-old quarries, the medieval tower and the country houses that line it.
The River Turón and the small dams create an important and much-visited river landscape. Especially so, since some of the pools above or below them are used for bathing. The river’s spring can be seen from the route, while Los Fraguarones is an alternative one higher up during the rainy season. In addition, the woodland of Turpentine trees at Lifa is one of the Natural Park’s treasures. It is at its very best in autumn, when the leaves turn shades of red and yellow. At higher Height above SLes, it is interspersed with crops and open pastures, set in natural depressions that are typical of limestone scenery. The Cortijo de Lifa country house lies precisely on the edge of one of these. There is then a series of rocky areas with repopulated Holm oak forest up to the stream of Los Lanceros, where the rainfed fields provide a change of scenery and a home to native bird species.
The river Turón itself and the dams and dykes built along the watercourse make the views worthwhile, not only because of the landscapes created by water but also the interesting green belt of vegetation of river forests which blanket the area. There are several sign-posted footpaths which can be used additionally to the GR.
The Gran Senda enters the mountains of the Parque Natural de la Sierra de las Nieves via the valley and mountain pass of Lifa, which harbours one of the most extensive cornicabrales forests of Mastic Tree (or Turpentine Tree) in the province, looked over by an old abandoned watchtower and the Cortijo de Lifa, a place which is special as it was the witness to the death of the last bandolero (bandit) of the Serranía de Ronda, the unparalleled Pasos Largos. You arrive in Ronda from the well-known Puerto de Lifa skirting the Sierra Hidalga with its Holm Oak woods and single Pinsapos.