The Mountain Range of Guadarrama National Park treasures priceless natural landscapes as well as some of the most beautiful hiking routes in Madrid. On this occasion we are going to approach the side of the park corresponding to Manzanares el Real to do the route to climb to El Yelmo in La Pedriza. This unique stone mass owes its name to its peculiar shape, reminiscent of the helmet that protected the heads of knights in the Middle Ages. La Pedriza is a marvellous spot, which combines rugged and steep rocks of singular shapes with quiet meadows, narrow ravines and leafy forests. This area is crossed by countless footpaths and El Yelmo has several routes to reach its summit, although most of them are climbing routes.
To get to La Pedriza we have to go to the town of Manzanares el Real either from Collado Villalba or from Soto del Real. Once there, on the road that crosses it, as we leave in the direction of Collado Villalba, we will find the signs that lead us to La Pedriza.
The route we propose starts from the Canto Cochino parking lot, which you will find at the end of the road that enters the national park, after crossing the access control barrier to La Pedriza. You should be aware that access is limited, there are 270 spaces, so it is important to get up early if you do not want to have to leave your car at the La Camorza parking area, at the beginning of the road. There are also a series of timetables for accessing La Pedriza, or rather the Canto Cochino parking area. As you can imagine, the timetables vary from summer to winter, here you can consult them.
If you find yourself with full parking or with the access barrier closed, you have several options. You can leave your vehicle in the car park next to the checkpoint and start from there, or the best option is to head for the spot known as El Tranco, entering Manzanares el Real and going up the Avenue of La Pedriza until you reach it. Along this avenue you will find different car parks from where you can start the route. El Tranco is connected to Canto Cochino by an enjoyable hiking route, which is much shorter than the road. From El Tranco you can also climb directly to El Yelmo along the Path of the Carboneras, linking up with the route that goes up from Canto Cochino.
We start our hiking route in La Pedriza at the parking lot of Canto Cochino (0h 00min) from where most of the routes that ascend to El Yelmo start. We leave the parking place and head for the bridge that allows us to cross the river. We will follow the route officially known as the Path Forms of La Pedriza, although it is popularly known as the Pedriza motorway. This route offers us two possibilities to go up the Window stream, one on each side. The main difference between the two possibilities lies in the terrain. The one on the left side runs along a comfortable path through the forest following the GR 10 markings, after leaving behind the park's information booths, until it is forced to cross the stream over a bridge and ascend to the refuge of Giner de The Rivers (1h 00min). The path that runs along the right side of the stream initially follows the path that ascends to the meadow of El Yelmo, crossing the stream and turning right after crossing it and starting to go uphill, leaving behind the path that ascends to El Yelmo through the Hollow of the Sickles. This route is wilder and allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the chaos of stones that characterises La Pedriza.
We say goodbye to the refuge to resume our route following the GR 10 markings for now. We go up the path that takes us to El Tolmo, an enormous rock in the middle of the valley that we are climbing. Here we leave a path to our right that climbs directly up the Blind Corral. This option, if we are inexperienced and do not know the terrain, may cause us difficulties. We continue ahead among rockroses and heather until we reach the Col of the Dehesilla (2h 00min), where we say goodbye to the GR 10 that continues its course through the valley.
Our route turns right at the pass and starts to climb up the mountainside along the steep path along which the PR-M1 runs. Almost without noticing we are surrounded by curious rock formations known as the Four Ladies and the Ghosts. From this point onwards, the gradient becomes less steep as we continue to skirt the mountain that we intend to crown. We have to be attentive as there are several paths that we will come across. It is on one of these paths that we must turn off, leaving the PR-M1 markings, to head towards the wide Meadow of El Yelmo.
This stretch until you reach the start of the chimney is somewhat steep but should not cause you any problems. The chimney is a narrow corridor squeezed between walls that hardly give us any room for manoeuvre. Once inside we will have to overcome a couple of steps and pass under a large stone. After this stretch we only have to walk from stone to stone to the summit of El Yelmo (3h 55min).
After enjoying the magnificent views that this peak offers, we resume our route descending the chimney, to go in search of the path that leads to the meadow of El Yelmo, which we had previously abandoned. Once in the meadow, as it could not be otherwise, we have several options to return to Canto Cochino. The first, the most direct, is to follow the marks that take us to the Col of the Oak, crossing the meadow and beginning the sometimes steep and steep descent following the route of the Path of the Carboneras.
We visit this spot just before we leave the Coll of La Pedriza pass where we join the Cordel de La Pedriza (4h 45min). The other option is right at the beginning of the meadow, where we can take the path that, radically changing its orientation, leads us to the path that follows the PR-M1 that we had abandoned before. Once there we only have to follow its course descending among the rocks. This itinerary takes us to visit rocks of curious shapes such as the Little Elephant, and then descends until we come out onto the Cordel de La Pedriza and joins the first option at the col.
At the pass we will say goodbye to the PR-M1, which continues its descending course towards El Tranco, to follow the markings that lead us to our starting point. Once again we will have to be careful not to follow the wrong path, although in general they will still lead us to our destination. The steep descent takes us to the bridge that we must cross, leaving on one side the path that leads to the Giner of the Rivers refuge and on the other the path that connects Canto Cochino with El Tranco. After crossing the bridge we only have to climb the distance that separates us from the parking lot of Canto Cochino (5h 30min), from where we start.
|30T 424326 4511330
|2-Refuge of Giner of The Rivers
|30T 425429 4512846
|30T 425954 4513151
|4-Col of La Dehesilla
|30T 427136 4513427
|30T 426513 4512338
|6-Meadow of El Yelmo
|30T 426628 4512178
|7-Cordel of La Pedriza
|30T 425776 4511283
Coordinates UTM Datúm WGS84
This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 508-2, 508-4, 509-1 y 509-3 1:25.000".
¿Did you know that...
The Mountain Range of Guadarrama National Park was created as such in 2013 after years of negotiations, resulting in the current park that extends along the Mountain Range of Guadarrama in the Central System, dividing the hydrographic basins of the Tajo and Duero rivers between Madrid and Segovia.
Don't miss out...
The visit to the town of Manzanares la Real has a rich historical and artistic heritage, including the Castle of the Mendoza family, the continuous paper factory and the church of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, even an ancient Roman road used to pass through here, not forgetting of course the Cañada Real.
From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go.
Besides sharing with all of us your experience on the route we would be grateful if you could write to us to inform us of any erroneous or outdated information you may have found, or simply to let us know what you think at Thank you.
Route information updated on 05-12-2020. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.
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