Hike: Refugio de Juanar to the Cruz de Juanar
It’s hard to believe a place like this exists so near the coast. Juanar is the perfect spot to walk on the weekends with your family and relax. But if you are looking for solitude, its probably best to go during the week. You can do the entire hike up to the Mirador del Macho Montés (popularly known as the Cross of Juanar) in a morning or afternoon.
This is not a difficult walk. The only things you need are the desire to breath deeply and enjoy some of the best views on the Costa del Sol. News of corruption and urban planning disasters are left far behind, and they give way to a vision of the Mediterranean illuminated by the sun and surrounded by pine and olive trees. All of a sudden you’ll remember why so many people want to live here.
1. Start out from the Hotel Refugio de Juanar (952881000, juanar.com). You can also drive up a little further to a gate at the entrance of the hike, but often there is no space to park.
2. Once you’ve passed the gate, you’ll find yourself in a lush pine forest. The smell of the pine trees, along with that of the rosemary, will accompany you until you reach the summit. After a few hundred metres, you’ll see a crossroad which is clearly signposted. Head for Istan rather than Monda. A few metres further along you’ll see a sign for the Mirador del Macho Montés (1.3 Km). That’s where you’re heading.
4. When you get to a second intersection, take the path on your right towards La Concha – Istán. You’ll pass an abandoned farmhouse. Now you should be very aware of the signage, as it gets a little sketchy. You’ll even see a little hand painted wooden sign pointing towards la Concha (which blends with the olive tree it’s hanging from). After the abandoned farmhouse take the path on the right, and at the next intersection take the path on your left.
5. The path leads down into a forest of pine trees. During the winter you’ll have to navigate a few puddles and some muddy stretches. Keep your eyes pealed. There are little wooden birdhouses hanging from the pine trees. The sound of the birds is spectacular if you pause and pay attention. When you reach a crossroad, follow the sign for La Concha on your left. As you move out of the trees the path starts to climb a steep rocky hill with prickly bushes on either side, and rosemary and sage growing all around.
6. At the top of the hill there is a little clearing. Follow the path to the left. From this point on the journey gets a little more difficult. Watch out where you step. The path gets a little more rocky, and during the winter it is a little overgrown. The ground is a quite sandy, and the rocks are harder to navigate.
7. As you continue to the top you’ll need to do a some climbing as the path gives way to steep rock faces. When you reach the top, the panorama is spectaular. The summit to your right is known as the Cross of Juanar, because of the cross which looks out over Marbella. You’ll also see a small statue of the Virgin. Some sailors brought it up there after catching sight of the mountain one foggy night, or so the story goes. These days, there is a yearly procession to visit it.
8. If you’re organized this is an ideal place to have a picnic, especially if there isn’t any wind. The alternative is to wait until you have make the return trip down retracing your steps, and have a meal at the Hotel Refugio de Juanar.
Bar - Restaurante El Refugio del Juanar
Ruta: Cruz de Juanar at EveryTrail
- • Official website for the Hotel Refugio del Juanar
- • Official website for Sierra de las nieves
- • Ethnographic Atlas for Sierra de las Nieves (Spanish only)