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The Pinsapo de las Escaleretas and its spectacular surroundings in the Sierra de Las Nieves

Pinsapo de Las Escaleretas en otoño

There is a very special natural monument in the heart of the Sierra de las Nieves in the province of Málaga. It is called the Pinsapo de las Escaleretas and consists of a Spanish fir tree that is unique because of its dimensions, age and the surrounding environment.

It not only has great ecological diversity, the Sierra de las Nieves in the province of Malaga was also recently classified as a National Park because it is home to the largest and best preserved forests of Spanish firs in southern Europe.

This unusual tree belongs to the fir family and it is a real botanical gem. In fact, it is a biological relic that spread across the Spanish mainland 20 million years ago when the climate was much colder and wetter than it is today.

The abundant rainfall and the presence of extensive shady areas in the Sierra de las Nieves in Málaga and Grazalema in Cádiz have enabled Spanish fir trees to resist in this part of Andalusia.

However, it is estimated that 60% of the world's Spanish fir forest area can be found in the Sierra de las Nieves.

But beyond the area's biological and ecological importance, the landscapes in this National Park in the province of Málaga are a real delight for travellers and nature lovers.

The Pinsapo de las Escaleretas

The jewel in the crown of these forests and one of the reasons why I travel to this part of the province of Málaga is a very special tree called the Pinsapo de las Escaleretas.

What makes this species unique is its dimensions, since they grow up to 30 metres high and the trunk can have a circumference of up to 5 metres.

This tree has been declared a Natural Monument and it really is a sight to behold, both because its size and its serene, ancient appearance.

Its age is not known exactly, but it is estimated to be between 350 and 550 years old. The huge trunk and the hundreds of branches are an overwhelming sight.

Experts consider that it is already in its last years of life, so this is an excuse to see it before it disappears and while you are there you can discover the beautiful landscapes of the Sierra de las Nieves.

The Pinsapo de las Escaleretas is located in a Spanish fir forest in the foothills of El Cerro Alcojona, next to the road to Las Lajas, near the municipality of Parauta. This town is about 20 minutes by car from Ronda and just over an hour and a half from the city of Malaga.

To this time you should add another 20 minutes by car along a forest track until you reach a small car park where you take a simple path of just over a kilometre that after a few minutes walk leads to the Pinsapo de las Escaleretas.

If you prefer to take a longer walk more and enjoy the spectacular surroundings of the Sierra de las Nieves, there are other interesting routes where you can also see the Pinsapo de las Escaleretas and which usually consist of beautiful mixed forest composed mainly of Spanish firs and holm oaks.

Mirador del Río Verde lookout point with views of El Pico Torrecilla

After enjoying the views of the Pinsapo de las Escaleretas, you can walk back along the so-called Path of the Escaleretas to the car park where you left your vehicle.

The path runs through a really beautiful Spanish fir forest which has a number of points of interest where we recommend you make a short stop.

The first is another old Spanish fir named Puntal de la Mesa. Although it is not signposted as is its "older brother", it will attract your attention because of its spectacular dimensions. This tree is estimated to be 300 years, although it looks much more alive than the Pinsapo de las Escaleretas.

Following the path, you will soon reach the magnificent Mirador del Rio Verde lookout point. From there you can see the most inaccessible part of the valley through which the largest river in the Western Costa del Sol runs.

There are beautiful views of an almost completely unspoiled natural landscape where in addition to Spanish firs you will also find other botanical species such as rockrose, juniper, marjoram, purple sage, peonies, ferns, lichens and mosses.

On a clear day you can see the sea and I was astonished by the great contrast of landscapes that you can see from this lookout point in the Sierra de las Nieves.

This area is also home to mountain goats, wild boars, foxes. It may well be very difficult to see them, but it is easy to find their footprints and excrement. If you look up into the sky, with a bit of luck you may get to see birds of prey like eagles, hawks and goshawks.

From the Mirador del Río Verde lookout point you will also see the majestic Pico Torrecilla, which at 1,919 metres is the highest point in the Sierra de las Nieves and the second highest in the province of Málaga, after the peak of La Maroma in the Sierra de Tejeda.

You can take a number of routes to climb up to La Torrecilla, although the most common route starts in the Recreational Area of Los Quejigales. To make this climb you will need to be in good physical condition, because a return trip up and down involves over 15 kilometres with quite a steep gradient.

The excursion takes an estimated 7 hours, although you are advised to start out very early (even at night) so you can see the incredible sunrise from one of the highest points in Málaga.

Get your strength back in the Los Quejigales Recreational Area

There is no need to climb up to El Pico Torrecilla to enjoy a picnic in the surroundings of the Sierra de las Nieves. After visiting the Pinsapo de las Escaleretas and the Mirador del Río Verde lookout point you can make a stop at the Los Quejigales Recreational Area.

There is plenty of shade, as well as wooden tables and benches and covered barbecue areas (except when there is risk of fire), water available and extensive pine forests where you can relax with your family and friends.

You will also find a car park and toilets next to the old Los Quejigales farmhouse. There is also a concrete ramp to provide access to one of the tables for people with reduced mobility.

Without a doubt, this is a very pleasant place to spend a day after walking along one of the most beautiful trails in the Sierra de las Nieves in the province of Málaga.

Pau Garcia Solbes - 'El Pachinko' travel blog


rutas sendero sierra de las nieves monumento natural
The Pinsapo de las Escaleretas and its spectacular surroundings in the Sierra de Las Nieves