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Refugio de Juanar

HIKING & TREKKING TRIPS: Spain, Andalucia, Costa del Sol / Marbella - Ojen - La Concha

Location : Marbella / Ojen, Costa del Sol Malaga Province
Starting Point: Refugio Juanar, Ojen
Destination: La Concha – (1215) meters high
Total length in Kilometres: 7.3 km
Total time of hike: Min. 5 hours (round trip)
GPS Co-ordinates: Starting Point (Where car is parked): - Destination (Refugio Juanar):
Difficulty: Med, (Long walk)
Add. Comment: Pleasant Route that goes through different kinds of landscape and reaches Marbella's most famous landmark

Unusual snowed picture of Sierra de Las Nieves

Getting there: Getting to El Refugio de Juanar (your starting point) is relative easily affair. If you reside along the coast just head towards Marbella. Once in Marbella head for the upper party of town and to the Cañada Shopping mall. From here keep going strait towards the town of Ojen. Leave the town of Ojen without actually going through the town. While close to the town, there should be some "miradores" or scenery stops that is well worth stopping for a quick photo of the white town of Ojen. Keep going for some more minutes and soon there is a detour on the left side signalled Refugio de Juanar (more or less 18 km from Marbella). Follow this mountain winding road for around 10 minutes. Just before the "Refugio" there is a dirt road in great condition. Follow this for 100 meters and park the car here. This area can get pretty crowded on weekends, so get there soon!

The Hike: El Refugio de Juanar is a popular destination among Spaniards on weekends and festivals. Once you have reached the area you will quickly understand why. Anyways, lets get started. From where you have parked the car head upwards towards "El Mirador," you will soon pass a gate and a bit further an area with tall pine trees (pino negro) that in summer gives some well deserved shade. Soon afterwards, the wide path will lead through an olive field from were one can device a small house in ruins and some signs indicating the different routs and time taken. Just as a note, do not pay too much attention to the signs stipulated walking times. I remember that it almost took me double as much time to reach the Istan route than the time suggested (I was not a happy man, and I am still looking forward for the day that I might meet the cretin who made the sign). There are actually three different routs that lead to La Concha. In one, you will probably get lost, so I want even bother making a point of mentioning it further. Route number "2" is a steep zigzag path that takes you first up the Juanar mountain top and then joins trail number "3." Route number 2 has a rewarding outcome when the top of the mountain is reached. An iron cross and spectacular views of Marbella's and Africa's coast will great you. Nevertheless, if its hot and your out of shape, I would suggest heading for the third route. For this simply follow the sign and heads towards the forest. The forest is composed of tall coniferous tress (the shade is well appreciated) and ferns at ground level. Leaving the forest is were the trek suddenly starts heading up a steep hill were bushes and pine trees company you to the top of the hill were you will meet paths with Route number "2."

From here, it’s a steady slightly slanted walk up the hills that make this part of the range of the Sierra Blanca Mountains. The path follows the hilltops until suddenly, it turns to the northern face of the mountain. Be careful here because the path is not that clear (follow the small piles of stones every so many meters). If you missed the "right" path, you might end up walking 15-20 more minuets until you reach "el Salto del Lobo" or translated into the language of this narration, the wolfs jump. The origins of the name are unknown to this author, nevertheless, it can be imagined- the path ends suddenly with a step cliff which itself ends with a small river of small rocks- a real challenge even for the best of wolfs.

The northern face part of the trail is my favourite. The path turns very narrow at points and meanders some cliffs along the steep hill. In other words, not the best place to lose your cap as you might find yourself on a long tedious walk all the way down the hill. Also from here, you can have a glance of the white village of Istán at the lower part of the mountain.
As one reaches the hilltops again, it becomes an easy but tiring walk towards La Concha. At a certain point, its going to be a endless row of hill tops, and you will not be the first to ask yourself when will I get their. Don’t worry; you are probably going to ask your self the same question once again once you have passed the 35 min. to la Concha sign. After you pass the sign, the walk changes and you can both contemplate the Mediterranean Sea and the Istan Lake. The path here dilutes itself into the mountain top rock, but the route is evident as the La Concha mountaintop is well close.
Snowed path, sea and Marbella Town

Precautions: Carry plenty of water and do not hike the path in the middle of the day in Summer. On the mountain tops beware of strong gusts of wind as its a long way down!

Additional Note: If you decide going hiking on the 3rd of May you might find that parking your car will be a complicated task. This is the day that a procession of pilgrims head for the top of the Juanar Mountain.

Personal Info: Hiked very often. My father, Ana, Julian, Thomas and Bo are among the people that have done this route with us.

Above: Path to La Concha (starts at "El Mirador") Bellow: Assorted Photos during a spring walk


Torrecilla Mountain Hiking Main Page Penon de los Enamorados El Quejigal Useful Info on the Pine Worm

Senderismo / Treking www. : Malaga- España, 2005