This section is covered by pine trees, thyme, rosemary and palmetto. It goes across Calamorro Mountain, along the southern slope of the Mijas Mountains, and it leads to the northern side of the Mijas Mountains that faces the Guadalhorce River.
This Stage draws two large arcs in the Sierra de Mijas, climbing first to the north from the town of Benalmádena, through the gorge of El Tajo del Quejigal, following the same route as the previous stage. It then links a string of mountain passes together along the crest, which in turn separate the inland villages from those on the coast. It is a traditional pathway following a southwest-northeast direction. Finally, it heads towards Alhaurín de la Torre, down the ravine of the Zambrano stream, heading north again.
The first section is entirely through Benalmádena’s territory until kilometre 5.5 at the Puerto Viejo pass, where it meets the municipality of Alhaurín de la Torre. The watershed forms the border between this and Benalmádena for some 300 metres, followed on by Torremolinos. It does so up to the Canuto pass (km 9.5), from where it enters Alhaurín de la Torre definitively.
The route can be considered relatively easy despite being semi-mountainous. This is down its use of the ancient paths used by mule drivers, coal merchants and country folk, which were designed specially to smooth out the steep slopes and thus access to the upper reaches. The highest point of the entire route is close to the Costa del Sol’s rather unique fortress, on the Calamorro hill and is connected to Benalmádena by a cable car.
The pathway, on the other hand, passes through rocky areas, dolomitic sandbanks, Pine and Holm oak forests and plateaus of aromatic shrubs. Tracks are used on occasion, however it is mostly over very well-preserved footpaths.
The spectacular series of panoramic views over the slopes at the eastern end of Malaga’s symbolic mountain range are one of this Stage’s main attractions. The mountain passes indicate the border between municipalities, since the Sierra is an important part of each one’s forestry and tourist heritage. This is especially true in terms of water resources and mining activities, with their obvious ramifications.
In the flat region of the Guadalhorce valley and the corresponding area of the Costa del Sol where the capital of the province is located, the Sierra de Mijas, in a broad sense, represents the biggest elevations in the vicinity, the first real mountains. The eyes of the nearby settlers have perused its well-visible peaks from the beginning of time. It has been a refuge, but also a source for forest resources and miners, and sort of a sponge that measures out the natural spring water for human consumption.
Therefore it is only logical that each of the towns surrounding this calcareous mountain wanted to have their part in the distribution of its land. Alhaurin el Grande and Alhaurin de la Torre occupy the northern slopes, sharing their slopes up to the ridge, each town using it differently. Today it is the latter that maintains the mining activity with quarries for construction materials. There are huge open gashes (you will see them from above on this Stage) cut to remove aggregates whose destination is easy to see just by looking at the vast expanses of urban growth everywhere.
Mijas has a sun trap side at the south-western end while several villages distribute the eastern part, the richest in water upwellings, and which this stage will introduce you to.
Málaga, Torremolinos and Benalmadena also enter into the division, always reaching to the ridge and including watershed areas. Although there is controversy about the generic name of the mountain range between the district proprietors, the Sierra de Mijas maintains its own, very clear, identity, defi ning its limits more accurately than any other mountain area of Málaga. With this tour you can appreciate all these uses and how each town has seen different resources in the mountains, sometimes focusing on forest resources, others on hiking, rural tourist accommodation or, finally, on leisure infrastructures related to the sun and beach theme.
Stage 34 travels in this distal portion of the sierra, further away from the central core of high peaks, but no less wild. There is a great diversity of calcareous rocks characterized by numerous escarpments that bring variety to the landscape and to the plant species that live in it. These natural values, the excellent network of paths complementary to the GR-249 and the magnifi cent over the plains that surround the mountains are the main virtues of the proposed route.