This 4.5 kilometre walk is a delight in summer. It is at a high altitude so cooler than the coast and for the most part shaded by pine and fir trees.
Start at the car park at the Peñas Blancas pass. Follow the signs for Los Reales that take you up a single track road. In summer the aroma of the pines through which you are walking is almost overwhelming as are the views. The side of the road is precipitous and, between the trees, you have great views over the coast as far as Marbella.
After 3 kilometres, on a tight hairpin bend, you will see a Junta de Andalucia sign on your right. This is the start of the Paseo de los Pinsapos. The path is well defined and immediately takes you into the woods. Pine, fir, yew and the occasional oak surround you. In the more sheltered parts you will come across ferns and any number of flowering shrubs such as dog rose in season.
Above you stand a very good chance of seeing Griffon vultures sweeping round on the thermals and on the day I did the walk three red kites swooped down the valley – majestic creatures.
After less than a kilometre on this track you arrive at the cause of the excitement. Another Junta board proudly informs you of the habits of the very rare abes pinaspo boiss, a pine tree that now only grows in this one area on Los Reales and a second small area near Ronda. It used to be quite common but has suffered depredation at the hands, or axes, of humans. I can see why, it would make a perfect Christmas tree.
Having admired the tree continue down the path. You cross a (normally dry) stream on a rickety bridge and then bear right where another path goes off to your left. A gradual ascent through more pine forest takes you up to the Jubrique road where you turn right and soon arrive back at the Peñas Blancas.
From Avenida Andalucia in Estepona take the MA 8301 signposted Genalguacil. Stay on this road for 18 kilometres to arrive at the pass.
Start and Finish: Car park area at Peñas Blancas.
Distance: 4.5 kilometres
Essentials: Boots, water
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Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.
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