After a downhill walk to the bottom of the Ronda New Bridge over the Tajo de Ronda (the Cliff of Ronda), a long part of this trail goes along the Guadalevín-Guadiaro River. Overthere, close to Benaoján Station you will be able to contemplate underground waters that come out of Gato Cave.
This next Stage of the Great Malaga Path makes use of the Los Molinos and the Old Ronda roads that connect the settlements at its startand end.The former road runs through the Hoya del Tajo, the depression at the foot of Ronda’s gorge, through which the river Guadalevín flows. The path departs from the rocky cliff face, then heads mainly north until kilometre 2. It then turns west to climb the rocky slope on the other side of the valley, up to the passage of La Muela. During this intense start to the stage, you will see the old walls, the water mills, and the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), one of Andalucia’s most recognizable sights.
From this point on, it follows the traditional ‘Caminos’ or routes to Benaoján and to Montejaque, which both go down to the two rivers’confluence. However, this latter route diverts at the railway level crossing with no barriers (km 5), from where the GR-249 continues in a south-westerly direction.
The Great Path accompanies the recently improved stretch of the Guadiaro River, but to reach Benaoján it climbs up an attractive pathway with cobbled sections to the Puerto de Ronda pass. Underneath this greyish slab of rock is the Hundidero - Gato Cave System. Before reaching the destination in the hamlet of La Estación (the Station) you pass through the village of Benaoján. From here, you take the footpath down to the River Guadiaro’s edge once again.
The stage uses a variety of surfaces: tarmacked roads, country tracks, footpaths and paved footpaths. Overall, it is a very easy distance and has a saw-tooth profile with a couple of longer downhill and uphill sections.
The route stays within the municipal area of Ronda until kilometre 8, where it en- ters the Gibraltar Ford. The surface type changes here from track to footpath and this signals the beginning of the municipality of Benaoján, where it remains until the end. Finally, at the level crossing of the Algeciras to Bobadilla railway line, you enter the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park.
The GR-249 allows the walker explore the Hoya del Tajo, a valley carved out by Río Guadalevín, and its imposing Tajo with the famous Puente Nuevo across the riverbed; this is one of most recognisable image of Andalucía. Los Molinos del Tajo, the traditional gardens and Parque Periurbano de la Dehesa del Mercadillo are gradually left behind on the side of the path.
The itinerary follows Río Guadalevín through the Hoya and then it gets close to water again when Río Guadalcobacín and Guadalevín join to become Guadiaro. Both the fluvial plains and the landscapes are outstanding.
You will pass by very close to the famous Cueva del Gato, however there is no direct approved access from the walk to it, though you can reach it at the end using a PR walk. The mountain section is included in the area of the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema.
The travertine Tajos de Ronda house two equipped vías ferrata and there are two more in the limestone of Benaoján, plus a climbing school, all this thanks to a very rugged landscape as it should be in las Sierras Béticas.
The area of Estación de Benaoján is characterised by the abundance of flower and olive mills, by its fertile gardens and by the train line Algeciras Bobadilla which passes on the side of Río Guadiaro.