This Saturday we're off to do a lineal route between Zarzalejo and El Escorial through a seldom visited route for its first half. It goes through a forest from the tiny town of Zarzalejo, then up a then up a peak from which to admire amazing views of the valleys below, and the last bit, through the surrounding woods and town of El Escorial which, even if more popular with visitors, it's just incredibly beautiful. The route ends by the majestic Monastery, right in the old town perfect to have a few beers
We'll start with a short walk from the Zaralejo station to town, have a pit stop for coffee, water and anything else you might need and then head into the small secluded forest. This is the least visited part of the route, hardly anyone in sight.
Halfway through the hike we'll go up La Machota grande peak, from which you can check out the vast landscape underneath. It's a very pretty viewpoint with a very far away horizon. Very photo-ish.
After we come down the peak we'll go up another peak (but those who wish can wait for us below because we'll retrace our steps to continue the hike). We'll keep walking towards El Escorial, passing through the Chair of Felipe II from which, legend has it, he sat regularly to check on the building progress of the El Escorial monastery. The photos from this point are gorgeous. In case you still haven't been, there, the remains of all Spanish Kings, from the 1500's are all buried here.
The last pretty walk will take us through the Herrería Forest, already close to town, also very colorful this time of the year, passing in front of the Monastery. Of course, we'll take the time to stop for beers on our way, at one of the numerous bars in the center of town!
Overall difficulty score: Easy/Medium
- Distance: 13,2 km - Score: Easy
- Gradient: Some uphill walking throught the forest inthe beginning (after leaving Zarzalejo) and also on the walk up the peaks (optional). All downhill from there. Score: Medium
- Time: Around 5h (with ,5stops). Score: Medium
- Terrain: Some rocky terrain and loose dirt paths, but no need to use hands and no climbing at any point. A couple passes through gates, nothing dificult or dangerous. Score: Easy
HOW TO GET THERE
By Car: There's no cars this time, since it's a lineal route and not a loop.
By Cercanías Train: Valentina will be riding with you. She'll be waiting at 9:20 at the bottom of the escalator that goes to the platform for Line C3 from the MAIN ticket booths. If you make it last minute and just jump in the train, or if you are boarding at another station along the line, PLEASE make sure you call Valentina to get together before arriving to El Escorial.
Valentina (hike's leader)[masked] for the day of the hike, better call than WhatsApp for quicker response
Carmen for any question prior to the hike[masked]
WHAT TO BRING
• A warm sweatshirt or fleece and another one in the backpack, in case it gets colder
• A small backpack
• Rain & windproof jacket (t always bring one to the mountains, weather changes quickly and unexpectedly)
• Gloves, hat and scarf (it could be windy on the peak)
• Hiking/walking shoes or boots, with an extra pair of socks in the bag, in case you get them wet. Running shoes are ok if it's dry weather.
• 1,5 L bottle of water per person (please don't bring less)
• Sunglasses, sunblock
• Your lunch
PRICE 18€ Includes ...
• Route's organization and group making as well as personal attention before and after hike at all times via whatsapp/email
• Led route by Valentina
• Mid morning snack to eat and drink
• Liability and accident insurance (both for Spain's residents and non-residents)