This path goes uphill along a rather steep terrain, and extends through pine woods of Mijas up to Moro Hill, characterized by its ‘wood of antennas’. Behind it, there is your destination, Calamorro Peak. You can go down it on foot or by a cable car to Benalmadena.
The towns of Mijas and Benalmádena are very close to one another, roughly 6 kilometres on an east-west line. However, Stage 33 climbs up into the mountain range they share, runs along its crest and then descends in an arc, first to the north and finally to the south. Up to kilometre 8.7, it runs through the municipality of Mijas. The mountain ridge forms the boundary between this and the areas of Alhaurín el Grande and Alhaurín de la Torre. The route does not actually enter the former’s area, but does enter intermittently into the latter, up to kilometre 10.8. When the route reaches the tarmac track at kilometre 11.5, you move into that of Benalmádena.
The route has a significant elevation gain and loss however, the steep inclines are lessened by the excellent layout of the traditional footpaths. Together with a manageable distance, this makes it a highly recommendable route for the main objective of the day: to get to know this modest but interesting coastal mountain range on the Costa del Sol. It is unsurprisingly very popular with the residents of the surrounding villages. Hence, you are likely to come across other hikers and cyclists, each with their own route plan, thanks to the extensive network of tracks and paths that run through this forested area.
The tracks used are the same surface as the surrounding terrain and are not accessible to vehicles. Meanwhile, the footpaths are fairly well maintained, except in certain sectors where bicycle tracks have prevented the sand from settling, causing gullies and sandbanks that are difficult to walk on.
Having peaks between 900 and 1,150 metres above sea level and being set back some 10 kilometres at most, from the straight coastline, the mountain range offers excellent views over Malaga’s coastline. This is also thanks to the good chance of a clear day. The dolomitic rocks provide very white sands and have given rise to numerous aggregate quarries, which are being recovered on this side of the mountain range.
A mountain range whose peaks are between 900 and 1,150 meters in altitude, separated from the coast by 10 kilometres at most, in a straight line, has to offer excellent views of the coast of Málaga. In addition, the proportion of clear days and blue skies is very high, ensuring the spectacle. This is probably the main asset of this stage, the successive panoramic views over all aspects of the sierra.
The distinguishing features of the Sierra de Mijas are the dolomites that prevail, rocks that are derived from marble, white when fresh-cut but acquiring a beautiful grey exterior due to the weathering process. Erosion also yields red clay but more frequent than this is the bright white coarse-grained sand, forming deposits many centimetres deep. The extreme porosity of the terrain is due to the karstifi cation of the rock’s cracked and fractured surface, so that the storm-water drainage is almost instantaneous, percolating toward the numerous potholes.
Such a dry environment requires the incorporation of specialist vegetation, principally the three species of pine trees to be found during this stage: some Maritime pines, more Aleppo pines but mostly Stone pines. The thickets and undergrowth are dominated by the aromatic plants and thorny scrub, but in certain enclaves there are broadleaf shrubs and even Holm oak copses attempting to come back in favourable areas. One of the most complicated sectors to recover are the aggregate quarries, although small in the district of Mijas, those of Alhaurin de la Torre are extensive, this Stage allows you to visit both settings.
There are a few easily recognized endemic plants along the way, some quite striking and usually adapted to the dolomite mountain sands, while highlights of the fauna are an excellent population of Spanish Ibex, which are easy to see in some areas, the conspicuous Large Psammodromus lizards and the impressive Eagles.