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50 kilometres to the north of Madrid, you will find the Sierra Guadarrama, a range of granite hills with several small dormitory towns, some great walking, and two ski resorts.

There are walks for everybody, from very easy to very strenuous.

The range extends roughly from the town of El Escorial in the west to the village of La Cabrera in the east. Access is easy by car and public transport. The motorways M6, M607 and M1 all take you within less than an hour from Madrid to interesting parts of the sierra. There are train services to the north-western part of the region, and bus services to all parts. Public transport is cheap.


There are several decent maps for this area, including the "Sierra de Guadarrama National Park Map/Guide", at 25000:1, available from Stanfords. ISBN 9788441630734. The book (in Spanish) "La Pedriza" published by Editorial Alpina, ISBN 8480900555 includes a useful 25000:1 map.


There are many hotels in Madrid itself, and the northern parts of the city provide easy access to the hills and also to the city centre. A web search will reveal many. For access directly to the walking areas, the optimum places to stay are small towns such as El Escorial, Becerril de la Sierra, Navacerrada, Manzanares el Real and Miraflores. There are small hotels in each of these places. Closer to Madrid, the modern dormitory town of Tres Cantos is a good base for access to the hills, which are only 20 minutes drive away, and has a station for getting into Madrid by train.


My walks in the Guadarrama range include:

* A circuit of the Sierra of La Cabrera, including the optional ascent of the summit of Cancho Gordo.

* A circuit of the granite national park of La Pedriza, including the peak of El Yelmo.

* A walk in the lower region of La Pedriza including a visit to the strange rock formation "El Elefantito" (the Little Elephant)

* A difficult ridge walk to La Pedriza Posterior

* The ascent of the 2,223 metres summit of La Maliciosa from Becerril de la Sierra.

* An easier walk to La Maliciosa, via Bola del Mundo, from the Puerto de Navacerrada.

* The Schmidt Trail and the Siete Picos (Seven Peaks) from Puerto de Navacerrada.

* A circuit of the Funefria valley from Cercedilla, via several viewpoints and the pass of Collado Ventoso.

* A spectacular high level traverse of the Cuerda Larga at about 2,200 metres.

* Easier low level walks near the small towns of Navcerrada and Becerril.

* Walks around El Escorial, including the Silla de Felipe II (the Seat of King Philip II of Spain), and the summits of La Machota Alta and La Machota Baja.

Descriptions, sketch maps of these walks, and some gps tracks are available. Ask if you are interested. I will send you the whole collection for the contribution of £7.50 towards my costs. Send me an email via the contact tab above for details.


Summit of El Yelmo


Spanish Trails
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