Around Madrid: La Pedriza – Wilderness Close at Hand

Beyond Madrid

by Katie Goldstein

La Pedriza, MadridPossibly one of the best things about Madrid is the ease with which you can get away from it all.

The lovely Sierra de Guadarrama lies to the north and northwest of the city, offering great train-accessible hiking. But the closest bit of mountainous wilderness to Madrid is in the southern foothills of the Sierra—in La Pedriza. Just a 45-minute bus ride from Plaza Castilla, La Pedriza is a granite paradise for hikers and climbers, complete with a river (the famed Río Manzanares, or the river-that-runs-through-Madrid-though-you-might-not-know-it because the local government has been busy messing with it to build an underground highway).

Regardless of the condition in which the river reaches the city, it’s still pristine in La Pedriza. There are some lovely swimming holes (I can proudly attest to have bathed there twice in warmer months) and many kilometers of hiking trails through the rocky wilderness. Armed with a good map or one of the handy route descriptions available at the visitor’s center, you can spend a day walking and breathing clean mountain air far from the madding crowd.

The green interurban bus 724 travels from Plaza Castilla to Manzanares el Real at least once every hour and costs 3.10 euros one way. The bus leaves you in the center of town, meaning you have to hoof it several kilometers to reach the park, via either Avda. de la Pedriza (which follows the river north) or the (very helpful) visitor’s center at the western edge of town.

Visitor’s center: 91 853 99 78. La Pedriza is about 50 km north west of Madrid, see map below:

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Comment from graeme
Date: December 5, 2007, 1:52 pm

The really great thing about La Pedriza is that it offers routes of all types ranging from the very easy to the tough. Most people coming from the Manzanares side are only seeing the front part of La Pedriza, but there is a rear part that ascends up to the rest of the Sierra and which can be truly spectacular. For the excessively energetic (and fit) there is a route which does the full Pedriza circuit, but you need a whole (summer) day to be able to do it.

A word of caution – it is a very bad idea to stray from the marked paths in the rockier parts of La Pedriza. You might think that you can scramble over a big boulder, but there is no guarantee either that you will be able to do the same with the bigger one behind it, or that you will find it easy to return the way you came. The paths themselves sometimes involve some scrambling, but they pass where they do for good reasons. Also, in wet or icy conditions those rocks are a very easy place to have an accident. Go suitably equipped for the route you plan to do, sports shoes and a sweatshirt might be fine for the lower routes in the woods or by the river, but the higher part of La Pedriza can experience the same severe weather conditions you can get elsewhere in the mountains.

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Date: June 25, 2008, 12:47 pm

[...] Summer must in Madrid Published Wednesday, 25 June, 2008 Madrid , hiking Tags: city, La Pedriza, river, summer, swim [Swim in the Río Manzanares in La Pedriza.] [...]