Pine forest on the track way to the Platforma de Yunquera.
La Platforma de Yunquera is a view point a short way into the boundary of the Natural Park. It is accessible from the village of Yunquera by a track way in good condition. There is parking at the park's boundary and at the platform itself. On my first visit a loosely chained gate blocked further access by car so be prepared for an extra climb.
This is a route through the very heart of the Sierra de las Nieves and is a walk through changing scenery. The Platform is at the edge of an extensive pine forest. Take the left hand path going into the forest (small crags will appear on the left, confirming the route) and follow the path which will climb down into the valley. In less than a kilometre a wide stone well will appear to your left, partially obscured by the trees. with a path leading to and past it.
At this point there are two possible variants (to break up this other wise linear walk). The first option is to ignore the new path and to continue along the main route, which will soon begin to climb up the valley- eventually emerging at a point where a ridge joins it from the North East.
The second option is to take the path leading past the well, which is less well used. It will lead through the trees and after bending back on itself a couple of times onto the ridge above and into a clearing. Turn right along the ridge and the path leads right and upwards into the trees once more. Follow this upwards and it will again top out onto a higher ridge, at 1400m. Follow this ridge along and down until the point where a new path comes out of the forest at the head of the valley. This is where the first variant joins the second..
The joined path now begins to climb up to the sky line above. It will soon pass through the last of the trees and onto mountain glades, the air rich with the smell of herbs (in October at least). This path is well used and will lead further up onto the range. The early stages of reforestation are evident across these slopes and the path will lead through them. A 1780m rock plug will come into view shortly before the path reaches a ridge.
[This makes for an interesting 20min diversion. Follow the ridge towards the plug and enjoy a short but satisfying scramble up the eastern side. An easier route is to scramble up the southern side. Excellent views for miles around are the reward.]
The path will now descend roughly west, leading below the rocky plug and will lead to a col between the highest point visible to the west of the rock plug and a point to its south west. The path leads through interesting glades and past a deap sink hole before climbing upwards once more.
After walking past a sparse corpse of old trees the path climbs up to a col and reaches a flat plateau. Cross over to find a path running north to south and follow it south path heading towards Torrecilla. The path runs well and will lead to a small cliffs directly before Torrecilla. the path leads right of these and will soon give views down the descent to the Pillar de Tolox (an interesting limestone formation) directly before the final climb to the peak.
The path, obscure at times, leads diagonally up towards the peak but crests the ridge shortly before the summit, giving excellent views across to the hills directly before the sea. A last short walk leads to the peak itself.
Sun Cream, a hat and drinking water for the whole day!
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