Start and Finish: El Burgo Distance: 19 kilometres Grade: Strenuous
Essential Equipment: Boots, food, water, waterproofs
How to get there: Take the A7 to Marbella leaving at the exit for Coin (the La Canada exit). At Coin follow the signs for Ronda and Yunquera. 9 kilometres past Yunquera you will enter the village of El Burgo over a river bridge. Park here.
Description: From the bridge, facing back down the road towards Coin, on the right, there is a good track that follows the river from the Coin side of the bridge. Take this track as it heads up the valley. You will soon leave the smallholdings behind and find yourself walking with pines on the left and deciduous trees on the right.
In the morning this section of the route is in shadow. On the 22nd January there was still ice on the puddles and frost on the grass, a rare treat here, scrunching ice under boots is great fun, by the time the walk finished the temperature was 22oC, a large temperature range that you have to be equipped to cope with on any walk in winter.
In the frosty grass there were very early flowering Spanish Iris (Iris xiphium) and some exquisite miniature daffodils (Narcissus bulbicodium).
The river meanwhile flows over a number of weirs. At the first there is a large rocky promontory overlooking the river. Below is a lagoon that would make a great swimming pool, in summer that is.
Continue on the track, ignore any smaller paths to the right. The valley narrows with cliffs on the left and the ridge to the right getting higher as the track starts to ascend until you emerge high above the river and, higher still on the ridge across the valley is a monument at a mirador on the El Burgo to Ronda road. Look back down the valley at this point for superb views back towards El Burgo.
The track continues, more or less level until you reach a casita and then starts to steepen. Ahead and to the right is a valley, surrounded by mountains with a narrow gorge and cliffs. The track now bends to the left and continues to ascend as you turn back on yourself and climb the ridge that was on your left hand. At the top, roughly half way into the walk and right on the crest of the ridge there is a helipad and the Puerto de la Mujer.
The track curls to the right and you now descend through open woods in a valley covered in shrubs and flowers. You will reach a junction with a stone cross. Turn left here and continue descending through deciduous woods and past a large finca, the Finca Rejertilla, after which you will reach an old mill with a recreation area.
On your left here you will see another stone cross. Take the path left past the cross and climb the ridge ahead. You will be in a gully and winding through pine trees. There are a number of routes that all take you to the top where you will meet another path on which you turn left. This path follows the contours and soon brings you out on a crest overlooking El Burgo. Go left here and descend the stony track until it meets the track up which you walked at the beginning. Turn right and return to your car.
© Nicholas Craig Nutter 2004 - 2012. Nick Nutter asserts his rights as the author of this article and all associated images. This article and images may not be copied or reproduced in any way without written permission of the author.