La Pedriza, Spain– One amazing thing about Madrid and the city life, is that when you need a nature escape you can find one and fast! In under an hour you can be amongst mountain goats, hawks, wild flowers and smelling that astoundingly fresh earth from a forest floor.
Nestled 45 minutes outside of Madrid is La Pedriza. Located on the Guadarrama Mountain Range in the Parque Regional de la Cuenca Alta del Manzanares, La Pedriza is named after the enormous and extraordinary rock formations scattered throughout the park. Mostly known amongst locals for rock climbing, La Pedriza also offers perfect day hikes to the Yelmo (The Helmet named after it’s medieval helmet shape). The Yelmo is one of the highest peaks within La Pedriza standing at 1.717 meters high.
The trek to La Pedriza begins in Manzanares El Real, a small village closest to the park. From here you must walk 45 minutes to start the hike to the Yelmo, which begins at the base of the mountain range.
Trekking up to The Yelmo is a workout. From the start you begin to go gradually uphill. The route to the top is well marked by red and white stripes and where those cease you will find piled rocks indicating the path. In any case, fellow trekkers will help point you in the right direction. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can scramble to the peak via a challenging passage way at the back of the mountain. Though the estimated time is 3 hours up to The Yelmo and 2 hours down, our trip took a total of 8 hours, therefore you will want to pack lunch and take lots of water.
As you begin your ascent to The Yelmo, the views of the surrounding terrain are dazzling! Not only will you be in the middle of a mountain range but also you will be able to see Madrid’s very own skyscrapers from where you are! I would suggest that before you go, research some of the popular rock formations within the park so that you can spot them during your hike, such as the Elefantito, a rock formed in the shape of an elephant.
How to Get There:
From the Plaza de Castilla (L1, L9, L10) you will need to go to the Intercambiador de Autobuses and take bus 724 to Manzanares El Real, roughly a 45-minute ride. The trip costs €4.50 each way. The bus can range in departure times from every 30 minutes to every hour. Be sure to check the schedule.
A note about the bus stop at Manzanares El Real:
Be sure to get off at the bus stop right next to the Manzanares El Real Castle and across from Eroski grocery store. You will find a Parks and Recreation office near the stop where you can get helpful assistance for the park.