Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 40.78937°N / 4.00625°W
Activities Activities: Hiking, Sport Climbing, Scrambling, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 7966 ft / 2428 m
Sign the Climber's Log

1 - Overview

La PedrizaLa Pedriza Towers
Sierra de Guadarrama is part of Sistema (also Cordillera) Central, the 500km long cluster of mountain ranges in Central Spain, which kind of divides the Iberian Peninsula in two. Thanks to its proximity to the capital it is considered the home mountain range of Madrid and also one of the most important ranges of Sistema Central. Its geography is a bit complicated, at least when derived from maps but once on premise you’ll easily spot the subranges.

Rather central to the range is the road pass / ski centre of Puerto de Navacerrada / Puerto de Cotos, where the main branches of the range join. The range stretches from Puerto de la Paradilla and Puerto de la Cruz Verde in the south all the way to Puerto de Somosierra in the north-east and Puerto de la Morcuera in the east. Its highest mountain is Peñalara (2428m), a popular and rather easy summit. The subranges can be summed up as follows:

  • Montes Carpetanos in the northeast between Puerto de Somosierra and Puerto de Reventon
  • Mazico de Peñalara between Puerto de Reventon and Puerto de Cotos
  • Cuerda Larga in the east between Puerto deMorcuera and Puerto de Navacerrada
  • South of Cuerda Larga there is the fantastic area of granite rocks and formations, La Pedriza de Manzanares
  • Siete Picos between Puerto de Navafria and Puerto de Fuenfria
  • Mujer Muerta and Sierra de Quintanar running west from Puerto de Fuenfria
  • The ridge south of Cerro Minguete between Puerto de Fuenfria and Puerto de Leon
  • The southern part of Sierra de Guadarrama between Puerto de Leon and Puerto de Paradilla / Puerto de la Cruz Verde

Sierra de Guardarrama forms a barrier between the plains of Madrid in the south-east and Segovia in the north-west. With Puerto de Leon it is home to the most importand road pass in the area, which has lost significance after the Guadarrama motorway tunnel has been built. Much of the range separates the province Castillia & Leon from Communidad de Madrid. The border was also one of the battle zones during the Spanish Civil War and along the border you can find occasional bunkers and positions dating back to the 1930s.

The range is made up from granite, most obvious among the domes, towers and spires of La Pedriza. Here the granite formations have broken the surface and offer some of the best climbing on the Iberian Peninsula. Elsewhere smooth slopes dominate, almost completely covered by Spanish Broom, with granite summits peeping out on top. Elsewhere still, mainly on Mazico de la Peñalara and Montes Carpetanos one side of the mountains has been nibbled away by erosion forming massive walls of several hundred metres height.

Except for La Pedriza and certain parts of Siete Picos most summits can be quite easily reached. There are lots of hiking routes, a veritable net of them, all across the range. The main attraction of Sierra de Guadarrama’s fauna is the gredos ibex (Capra pyrenaica victoriae), which has returned from the brink of extinction to form big flocks oblivious of any hikers and climbers. A frequent visitor is the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), one of the largest birds of prey in Europe. Even bigger but rather rare are the cinereous vultures (Aegypius monachus) with an imposing wingspan of nearly 3m. Experiencing one of these giants unfold its wings is a truly impressive experience.

2 - Sierra de Guadarrama on SP

Montes Carpetannos Mazico de Peñalara Cuerda Larga La Pedriza de Manzanares Siete Picos Mujer Muerta and Sierra de Quintanar South of Cerro Minguete Sierra de Guadarrama South Sierra de Guadarrama

  1. Montes Carpetanos
  2. Mazico de Peñalara
  3. Cuerda Larga
  4. La Pedriza
  5. Siete Picos
  6. Mujer Muerta and Sierra de Quintanar
  7. The ridge south of Cerro Minguete
  8. Sierra de Guadarrama southern range

3 - The Summits

3.1 - Montes Carpetanos

PeñacabraPeñacabra seen from Alto del Porrinoso

This subrange, located in the north-east of Sierra de Guadarrama and sometimes called La Somosierra, basically is a single ridge which stretches from Puerto de Somosierra in the north-east to Puerto del Reventon in the south-west, where it connects with Mazico de Peñalara, which stretches in the same direction. The highest summit, Nevero, is located to the west of Puerto de Navafria, a road pass in the centre of the range. The summits of Montes Carpetanos are mostly round topped, with some serious granite rock faces, mainly on the southern sides. There is a hiking trail, which connects both ends of the subrange, running close by or across all of the main summits.

  1. Colgadizos (1833m)
  2. Cerro del Garganton (1786m)
  3. Peña del Avellano (1826m)
  4. Peña Quemada (1833m)
  5. La Peñota (1761m)
  6. Cerro del Jabinar (1858m)
  7. Peña Berrocosa (1960m)
  8. La Peñota (1915m)
  9. Lomo Gordo (2079m)
  10. Reajo Alto (2105m)
  11. Peña del Buitre (2106m)
  12. Reajo Capón (2090m)
  13. Pico del Reventon (1915m)
  14. Alto de la Pinarilla (1855m)
  15. Alto del Puerto (2164m)
  16. Pico del Nevero (2209m)
  17. Alto del Parrinoso (2174m),
  18. Peñacabra (2164m)
  19. Peñas Crecientes (2004m)
  20. Los Pelados (2138m)
  21. La Flecha (2078m)
  22. Reventón (2079m)

3.2 - Mazico de Peñalara

Risco de los Claveles and Risco de los PajarosRisco de los Claveles and Risco de los Pajaros above Laguna de los Pajaros

As Peñalara is the highest mountain of Sierra de Guadarrama, this subrange is one of the most frequently visited of the range. There are only few summits as the mazico is rather small. In character Mazico de Peñalara is similar to Montes Carpetannos but for the direct environment of Peñalara. Risco de los Pajaros, Risco de los Claveles and Peñalara form a frequently climbed rocky ridge. The scramble is often extended into a loop touching on the many alpine lakes beneath the south faces of the mountains. Mazico de Peñalara stretches between Puerto del Reventon in the north-east and Puerto de Cotos in the south-west, the common trailhead for most hikes in the range.

  1. Cerro Morrete (2133m)
  2. Altos de los Poyales (2081m)
  3. Los Neveros (2139m)
  4. Risco de los Pajaros (2266m)
  5. Risco de los Claveles (2387m)
  6. Peñalara (2428m)
  7. Hermana Mayor (2284m)
  8. Hermana Menor (2269m)
  9. Peña Citores (2181m)
  10. El Cancho (2079m)

3.3 - Cuerda Larga

Los BailanderosLos Bailanderos seen from Asomate de los Hoyos

This subrange is the counterpart of Mazico de Peñalara, stretching east to west along a ridgeline across Valle de Loyoza. Here you will find the highest summits beside Peñalara, with the two Cabezas del Hierro (2381m, 2376m) the highest among them. Again, this range is a single ridgeline with the exception of La Maliziosa, a promontory to the south. The west of Cuerda Larga is Madrid’s ski region with two areas at Puerto de Navacerrada and Valdesqui. One of the finest hikes of Sierra de Guadarrama is the traverse of Cuerda Larga from Puerto de Navacerrada or Puerto de Cotos to Puerto de la Morcuera in the east.

  1. Cuatro Calles (19012m)
  2. La Najarra (2120m)
  3. Riscos de Peña Arcon (2004m)
  4. Los Bailanderos (2133m)
  5. Asomate de Hoyos (2242m)
  6. Navahondilla (2234m)
  7. Peña de los Vaqueros (2231m)
  8. Cabeza de Hierro Mayor (2381m)
  9. Cabeza de Hierro Menor (2376m)
  10. Cerro de Valdemartin (2282m)
  11. Bola del Mundo (2258m)
  12. La Maliciosa (2227m)
  13. Risco de los Emburriaderos (1959m)
  14. Peña Horcon (1879m)
  15. Peña Pintada (1858m)

3.4 - La Pedriza del Manzanares

Heading down into Arroyo del VentosoHeading down into Arroyo del Ventoso

La Pedriza is one of the most impressive areas of Sierra de Guadarrama. Here you will foind hundreds of granite rock formations of all shapes and sizes. The area is an El Dorado for climbers and hikers alike. It stretches from Manzanares el Real and the reservoir Embalse de Santillana in the south all the way to the Cuerda Larga Main Ridge near Asomate de Hoyos. A listing of all summits is impossible, therefore be directed to the La Pedriza Page.

3.5 - Siete Picos

The crest of Siete PicosThe crest of Siete Picos

Siete Picos, not unlike La Pedriza, is an area of granite rock formations. As the name implies there are seven rocky summits, six of which are located on a level ridge with the first one, Cerro de Malajasna located separately in the east of the bulk of the subrange. There are several other additional summits on the outskirts of Siete Picos which are added to the listing here. The eastern summits are part of the Puerto de Navacerrada ski area.

  1. Piedra Ventolera (1969m)
  2. Alto del Telegrafo (1976m)
  3. Peña Hueca (1946m)
  4. Pico Septimo (2138m)
  5. Pico Sexto (2119m)
  6. Pico Quinto (2109m)
  7. Pico Quarto (2097m)
  8. Pico Tercero (2097m)
  9. Pico Segundo (2093m)
  10. Pico de Majalasna (1934m, also Pico Primiero)
  11. Cerro Ventoso (1964m)

3.6 - Mujer Muerta and Sierra de Quintanar

La Mujer MuertaLa Mujer Muerta seen from Monton de Trigo

Beyond Puerto de Fuenfria, the single ridge of Siete Picos splits in two, one headin south (see below) and one heading towards the west. In fact, this ridge has some minor summits to the north as well, thus forming the quarter of a circle from north to west. The northern part is known as Mujer Muerta, as it looks like a lying woman, when seen from Segovia. The western part is named by its outlying summit, Sierra de Quintanar. The most popular summits are Monton de Trigo, La Piñareja and Peña del Oso, all of which can be climbed together in a single day.

  1. Monton de Trigo (2181m)
  2. Cerro de la Muela (2153m)
  3. La Piñareja (2197m)
  4. Peña del Oso (2196m)
  5. Pico de Pasapán (2003m)
  6. Peñas de la Majada (2001m)
  7. Cerro Carmocho (1928m)
  8. Quintanar (1932m)

3.7 - South of Cerro Minguete

Peña el Aguila, La PeñotaPeña el Aguila, La Peñota

I’m not aware of any separate name for this subrange / ridgeline. It starts at Cerro Minguete and heads south-southwestward towards its end at the road pass Puerto del Leon. The mountains on this ridge are rather unspectacular with the exception of La Peñota, a three peaked granite mountain with a wonderful south-west ridge route. There is a hiking trail across all summits starting at Puerto de Fuenfria and ending at Puerto del Leon.

  1. Cerro Minguete (2026m)
  2. Peña Bercial (1999m)
  3. Peña del Aguila (2012m)
  4. La Peñota (1945m)
  5. Cerro del Mostajo (1717m)
  6. Peña del Cuervo (1706m)
  7. Cerro de Matalafuente (1673m)
  8. Peña del Arcipreste del Hita (1511m)
  9. Cerro de la Sevillana (1556m)

3.8 - Sierra de Guadarrama South Range

Cabeza LijarCabeza Lijar seen from Cerro de la Salamanca

Beyond Puerto del Leon, strretching southward, there is a long ridge of mountains which ends at the road passes Puerto de la Paradilla and Puerto de la Cruz Verde. Again, a hiking trail connects the passes across the whole range with the border between the province Castilla & Leon and Communidad de Madrid accompanies it. A wall separates the two provinces for much of the subrange. The most important mountains are Cabeza Lijjar and Cueva Valiente in the north as well as Abantos in the south. From the latter you have a fine view of El Escorial Palace in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

  1. Cabeza Líjar (1823m)
  2. Cueva Valiente (1903m)
  3. Cerro de la Salamanca (1789m)
  4. Riscos del Palanco (1690m)
  5. Cerro Carrasqueta (1640m)
  6. Riscos de la Cueva (1620m)
  7. San Juan (1734m)
  8. Los Tientos (1742m)
  9. Abantos (1753m)
  10. Solana del Ventisquero (1622m)
  11. Barranco de la Cabeza (1678m)
  12. Cerro la Cancha (1501m)
  13. Cerro Calamocho (1436m)
  14. Cerro Cabezuelo (1481m)
  15. Machota Alta (1461m)
  16. Machota Baja (1404m)
  17. San Benito (1626m)

4 - Getting There

Sierra de Guadarrama is very close to Spain’s capital, Madrid. Motorway A6 / AP6 will lead you to the western parts of the range, motorway A1 / E5 heads north towards Puerto de Somosierra (east of Montes Carpetannos) and highway M-607 also heads north towards Manzanares el Real and Miraflores de la Sierra (for La Pedriza or Cuerda Larga). The central parts of the range (Puerto de Navacerrada, Puerto de Cotos can be reached via motorway A6 /AP6 to Collado Villalba, then north along highway M-601.

5 - Accommodation

El EscorialReal Monasterio de San Lorenzo - El Escorial, seen from Abantos.

There’s lots of accommodation around Sierra de Guadarrama, especially close to the ski centers. Finding it online is a bit more difficult and you might have to visit commercial sites especially if you don’t speak Spanish. On the other hand – Madrid is just 50km away so you’ll be able to get all kinds of accommodation within an hour of the trailheads.

6 - When To Climb

Sierra de Guadarrama is an all year destination. Proximity to Madrid ensures that you'll find company at all times of the year. Avalanche resik is low so the range is a perfect place to do ski tours in winter. Summers can be blazingly hot so this is the least recommendable season. Obviously spring is the best time for mountain flowers but also, little ibexes are born in late winter / early spring.

7 - Red Tape

Apollo (Parnassius apollo)Parnassius apollo
Cinereous vultureCinereous vulture
Iberian Ibex LadyIberian ibex

Mazico de Peñalara, Siete Picos, Cuerda Larga and La Pedriza de Manzanares have been protected by national and natural parks. The remainder of the range is used for extensive cattle sheep and goat grazing and some of the mountain ridges have been closed off by fences. In general, however, regulations are rather lax, especially near the ski areas of Puerto de Navacerrada and Valdesqui. Even though Sierra de Guadarrama is so close to the huge city of Madrid you still can encounter very rare animals like the Apollo, Cinerous Vultures or Iberian Ibexes.

8 - Weather Conditions

9 - Maps & Books


  • Sierra de Guadarrama
    Mapa excursionista y turistico
    Editorial Calecha
    ISBN: 978-84-943474-2-9
  • Guadarrama Parc Natural de Peñalara
    Mapa Y Guia Excursionista
    Editorial Alpina
    ISBN: 978-8480901598
  • La Pedriza de Manzanares
    Mapas de Situacion
    Editorial Calecha
    ISBN: 978-84-940951-8-4
  • Guadarrama / La Pedriza
    Editorial Alpina
    ISBN: 978-8480-9056-64


My recommendation is a guidebook by Rother Verlag, available only in German. The book is an excellent hiking guide covering all the interesting areas of the range. Since it comes with small maps for each excursion it might even be used without a map to support them. I don’t know the Spanish publications in the list so cannot comment on them
  • Sierra de Guadarrama
    Jürgen Bogner
    Rother Verlag
    ISBN: 978-3-76334362-1
  • Guadarrama : 50 excursiones que no te puedes perder
    Marta Viladot Santaló
    Lectio Ediciones
    ISBN: 978-8416012817
  • Guadarrama Parque Nacional: 50 excursiones fáciles
    Domingo Pliego
    Ediciones Desnivel
    ISBN: 978-8498292817
  • Guadarrama con esquís : 20 itinerarios de esquí de montaña por las sierras de Guadarrama y Ayllón
    Enrique Ribas Lasso
    Ediciones Desnivel
    ISBN: 978-8495760180



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Sistema CentralAreas & Ranges