Hike from Marbella to Ronda
(San Pedro de Alcantara)
Castaño Santo - century old chestnut tree
A few days ago I decided to investigate how to hike from San Pedro to Ronda. I started climbing the forest track next to la Quinta which leads to the Castaño Santo, a century old chestnut tree some 15 km away from La Quinta.
The first part perhaps is the most difficult one as you climb to some 900 metres of altitude at the Puerto de la Refriega. The total distance to Ronda is around 45 km on well marked trails, denominated Puerta Verde de Marbella, (Marbella’s Green Gate), greatly improved by the Junta de Andalucía this summer. The constant changes in the landscape are tremendous as the trail leads from hill to hill inside this unique natural park. I enjoyed total silence; I saw about 5 cars, at two thirds of the way, from Las Conejeras to Ronda, the trail is closed to cars.
This is a route which has communicated the coast and Ronda for centuries, and when you cross the Puerto del Robledal you start your descent to Fuenfria, a lovely spot where the trail crosses a river. Here the Guardia Civil (local police) maintained their post for hundreds of years protecting merchants from the bandoleros (bandits) haunting the route.
It took me 13 hours to get to Ronda so I would recommend splitting the excursion into two, the first half from San Pedro to Las Conejeras or Quejigales, and the second half from there to Ronda. Please remember that there are no restaurants or bars along the trail so you should take your own food & water. The Junta de Andalucía has opened several other trails in Andalucía called Green Gates which I would like to recommend based on my experience on my hike to Ronda.
Learn more about Ronda