Sierra de Guadarrama most emblematic vegetation are the Scots pine groves, Albar pines or Valsaín pines (Pinus sylvestris Iberian variety), mountain broom and common junipers bushes, and hippocrepis carpetana grass living in the Sierra summits.
But in sites such as shady streams or slopes, these woods are enriched by a multitude of species which are infrequent in the Central Mountain Range. For example, specimens of some very rare species in this area grow in sites named El Sestil de Maillo and the Mojonavalle slope.
We suggest a beautiful hike, which is particularly inviting for those interested in botanics.
Should you want to get more information on other hikes in the Community of Madrid, please look at www.sendasdemadrid.es. You can also refer to the website of National Parks Agency (Organismo Autónomo Parques Nacionales) or the one from National Centre for Environmental Education (Centro Nacional de Educación Ambiental), to get information on Mounts of Valsaín hikes.
El Sestil de Maillo and the Mojonavalle slope
Hike starts at Canencia Pass recreation area; you can park your vehicle there and spend a nice day after travelling the trail.
First section runs along a forest track flanked by a dense wild pine grove; then it reaches El Hornillo former center of environmental education. Shortly before El Hornillo, to the right side, you can see several trees out of place. They belong to an introduced specy, the Douglas fir. At the height of El Hornillo, leave the forest track and take the gauge at the right.
Down below is la Chorrera de Mojonavalle viewpoint (Mirador de la Chorrera de Mojonavalle), a site of unusual beauty, dominated by an aspen which invites you to contemplation and to relax. There the trail turns sharply to the right and descends gently the same slope.
On arrival at beacon 4, you can take two branches for the roundtrip. By the one at left side, you will travel along old pine trees. The one at right passes next to holly trees and yews, and by the end you will reach the birch grove, a vegetal formation of great interest because of its scarcity in the Madrid area, since it is proper of cooler and more humid areas.
Then the traveller must get back to beacon 4, and come to the Mirador del Norte viewpoint, to reach the forest track.
Time of year: All
Home: Parking lot at Canencia Pass recreation area.
End: Parking lot at Canencia Pass recreation area.
Waymarking: directional beacons
Time to walk: 1 h 45 min (without travelling branches)
Distance: 4,5 Km (without travelling branches)
Summit: 1,626 m
Lower altitude: 1375 m
Recommendations: Look at weather forecast, the trail is in a mountain area and climatic conditions are suddenly changing, especially in winter. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes for mountain areas.