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El Yelmo, the best viewpoint in La Pedriza

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.

How to get to La Pedriza

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.

Parking and timetables for 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.​

Other accesses to La Pedriza

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.

Itinerary of the Climb to El Yelmo in La Pedriza

From Canto Cochino to the Refuge of Giner de The Rivers 2,2 Km

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.

From the Refuge of Giner de The Rivers to the Col de la Dehesilla 1,8 km

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.

From the Coll of the Dehesilla to El Yelmo 2,1 Km

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.

Before reaching it, we will see the marks that warn us of the path that will take us to the base of the chimney that allows us to ascend to the summit.

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).

From the summit of El Yelmo to the Cordel de La Pedriza 2 Km

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.

This route takes us through the area known as the Grand Cañada.

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.

From the Col of La Pedriza to Canto Cochino 1,9 Km

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.

Tips for doing the route of the climb to El Yelmo in La Pedriza

1-Both the entrance and exit of the chimney are the most exposed points of this section, as well as the final section from the chimney to the top.

2-There are many trails in this area, but it is important not to stray from the correct route as there can be complex areas that require experience and even climbing equipment to overcome.

3-The sections on dry stones usually grip perfectly, but it is quite another thing if they are wet or damp.

4-There are many people who abandon their backpacks at the beginning of the chimney section due to its narrowness. It will undoubtedly be easier to pass this way, but it is never a good idea to abandon all your backpacks.

5-In summer it can get very hot and during almost the entire route there is hardly any shade, which undoubtedly makes the route even tougher. Beware also of frost and snow as it requires specific equipment and experience in this type of conditions and terrain.

Waypoints of the route
1-Canto Cochino 0:00h 1040m 0km 30T 424326 4511330
2-Refuge of Giner of The Rivers 1:00h 1195m 2.2Km 30T 425429 4512846
3-El Tolmo 1:15h 1247m 2.7Km 30T 425954 4513151
4-Col of La Dehesilla 2:00h 1457m 4Km 30T 427136 4513427
5-El Yelmo 3:55h 1717m 6.1Km 30T 426513 4512338
6-Meadow of El Yelmo 4:15h 1555m 6.8Km 30T 426628 4512178
7-Cordel of La Pedriza 4:45h 1300m 8.1Km 30T 425776 4511283

Coordinates UTM Datúm WGS84

Profile of the route of the climb to El Yelmo in La Pedriza

Profile of the route of the climb to El Yelmo in La Pedriza

ico-distancia-totalDistance: 10Km

ico-tiempo-totalTime: 5:30h

ico-dificultadDifficulty: Moderate

ico-desnivel-acumuladoSlope: 1440m

ico-desnivel-positivoSlope +: 720m

ico-desnivel-negativoSlope -: 720m

ico-altitud-maximaMaximum altitude: 1717m

ico-altitud-minimaMinimum altitude: 1035m


Topographical map of the route of the climb to El Yelmo in La Pedriza

ico IGN

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".

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¿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.


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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.

All the times are approximate and take an orientative character, the stops have not been taken into account, no matter how small they are. All the information related to the route, texts, images, videos, maps, diagrams, tracks, towns, and places of tourist interest are published as a guide, and may not coincide with the current state of each place. Before undertaking any activity, assess your technical knowledge, your physical condition, find out about the weather and the variations that the route may undergo, equip yourself correctly, be prudent and responsible at all times, and do not exceed your capabilities. SENDITUR is not responsible for any misuse or inappropriate use of the comprehensive guides of its routes and/or publications as well as its electronic guides, nor for any variations in their descriptions for the aforementioned reasons, and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. We also encourage you to read books and specialised guides to complement the information described above.


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