Located in the southern area of the Sierra de Guadarrama, northwest of the Community of Madrid and within the municipality of Manzanares el Real is La Pedriza, a large granite batholith that many Madrilenians come to every weekend to enjoy a day outdoors, hiking in the middle of nature.
Its name comes from the Latin "petra" which means stone and refers to the striking rock formations that extend here. As a whole, it covers an area of 3.200 hectares and rises from the 890 meters of altitude of the Santillana reservoir to the 2029 meters of the cliffs of Torres de la Pedriza. To the west it is limited by the Manzanares gorge, through which part of the popular Madrid river runs.
It is a Berroqueño scree of granite rocks formed 300 million years ago, which present erosions, ravines, faults and joints that give it such peculiar shapes.
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When to go?
For hiking and spending a day outdoors, any time of the year is good to visit La Pedriza. However, if what we are looking for is rock climbing, winter is not highly recommended as there can be a lot of snow or it can be very humid.
La Pedriza is located next to the municipality of Manzanares del Real. If you leave by car from Madrid, you have to take the Colmenar Viejo road and once in the town you cannot miss it because the road is very well signposted and there are also many people in the surroundings.
Taking public transport:
To go to La Pedriza by bus, you can take the Plaza de Castilla interchange, the line 724 Madrid- Manzanares el Real. From the stop in the town next to the church or the one at the entrance of La Pedriza (at the roundabout of the mountaineer) it takes about 15 minutes on foot. Another option is to take the bus line 720 Colmenar Viejo - Collado Villalba that makes the same stops as the previous one.
Routes in La Pedriza
Given the extension of this Madrid area, many routes can be done to get to know the different faces of La Pedriza.
Cancho de los Muertos Route
It is one of the most legendary settings in La Pedriza. It is located 1.292 meters high and receives that name because, according to legend, it was a lair for bandits who knocked their victims off the top of these rock formations. The Cancho de los Muertos is a granite formation of blocks and fractured slabs, characteristic of La Pedriza.
This route is an adventure because some sections are poorly defined. From Canto Cochino begins this circular route that leads us through a beautiful landscape. The road gains altitude rapidly until it reaches Collado Cabrón, about 3,5 kilometers from the beginning, which is a crossroads. From here you have to take the south path towards Cancho de los Muertos.
After 1 hour of walking and 4 kilometers traveled, we reached the Cancho de los Muertos. Then you take a path heading west through a natural corridor of large rocks and then descend to a highway. From this point, turn right to return to the starting point.
The Green Pond
This hiking route takes place between waterfalls and waterfalls next to the Manzanares riverbed at the foot of La Pedriza. La Charca Verde owes its name to the characteristic careful green color produced by the reflections of the water on the color of the rocks. Here you can also admire some very attractive natural pools for their chromatic beauty.
After enjoying this beautiful place, the path continues to the French bridge. Along this route through La Pedriza you can enjoy ash trees, poplars, willows, birches and pines among other trees as well as golden eagles, foxes, roe deer or storks.
This route is suitable for all levels of experience.
Birth of the Manzanares
It is a route that from La Pedriza goes up the course of the Manzanares river to the place where it is born. The first part is, in turn, a lesson in nature and geography in its purest form.
This route requires being in very good physical condition and having a certain knowledge of the environment because although the road is signposted it is easy to get lost in some sections due to the fact that the terrain is very ambushed.
Tips for hiking
Hiking is one of the sports most practiced by many for several reasons: there are levels of difficulty for all types of people, it allows you to enjoy nature and incredible landscapes as well as visit different places in each outing.
La Pedriza is one of them. That is why it is a very visited area in Madrid by hikers. However, to have an unforgettable experience, it is advisable to take a series of measures when hiking. Some of them are the following:
Prepare the route
Although it seems obvious, it is very important to find out about the conditions of the route: where it begins and ends, the time it takes, the kilometers that will be covered as well as the level of difficulty. It is not advisable to start a route without being clear about these factors.
Certain weather conditions prevent hiking: high temperatures, torrential rain, dense fog, etc. That is why it is advisable to find out beforehand so that the excursion is a success.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
Not just any footwear will do for hiking. The ideal is to wear mountain shoes that support the ankle, have a thick sole and are waterproof. The same thing happens with clothes. They should be garments that allow any movement and are not too tight.
Hydration and nutrition
Regardless of the duration or difficulty of the route, we must always carry at least a liter and a half of water and drink it in small doses continuously as we never have to wait to be thirsty.
Regarding food, it is recommended to eat something light during the walk such as nuts, cookies, fruit or small snacks to have enough energy.
Not being well hydrated or fed while hiking can lead to disorientation, fainting or fainting.