You like nature? I like nature!
Let’s be honest, by saying “I like nature” I mean that I like to go outside in favorable conditions with a picnic lunch and a map. I also like going to the lake, drinking beers on the boat and later cooking s’mores by the campfire. So, given that information, you may be able to guess what kind of hikes I like to go on. My idea of a hike is a stroll through a prairie or a walk on the bike path along the Rock River. I live in the Midwest. There are hardly any hills and definitely no mountains. So, yeah, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I decided to invite my friends to hike through the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Did I mention this was the morning after Halloween?
Yes, I was a soccer ball for Halloween and my sister was a soccer player. Why? because we love sports I guess. Anyways, I woke up and said “let’s go hiking!”. I think my sisters response was, “are you serious?”. I googled “hiking in Madrid” and found some directions as to how to get to Cercedilla (about an hour north of the city center).
This is a great last minute day trip! Busses are hourly and convenient!
Before we left, we went to the grocery store and got spanish bread, lomo, queso, chips, fruit and water. I made us each a bocadillo of lomo and queso and packed our bags and we headed for the mountains! The one thing that we forgot was dramamine. The bus ride up was a little rough, we were grateful for the 24-hour pharmacy right by the bus stop.
Things you definitely should bring for your hike:
Water (you can never have enough!)
Coat (be prepared to take it on and off!)
Dramamine (for the bus ride!)
Cash: for bus tickets, food (that you forgot at home), or dramamine (if your sister gets motion sickness)
Things to keep in mind:
Time of sunset (it’s dangerous to hike in the dark no matter where you are)
Temperature (be prepared to be sweating but cold!)
Weather (don’t go if there is a blizzard or rain, please)
The hour of the last bus/cercanías to leave for the city center (it’s normally around 10 p.m. so shouldn’t be an issue)
There is a 24-hour pharmacy by the cercanías station
There are hostels and restaurants near the cercanías station, too!
Cercedilla, your door to Sierra de Guadarrama
You can take the Cercanías from Atocha, Nuevos Ministerios or Chamartín or take bus 684 from Moncloa to get to Cercedilla which will drop you about a 30 minute walk from hiking trails. The bus and cercanías both drop off at the same spot, the cercanías station. We took bus 684 from Moncloa to Cercedilla. Within the Intercambiador de Moncloa it was really easy to find where we needed to go, bus 684 leaves from Isla 2 (Yellow), Dársena 20. Also, if you get motion sickness I would suggest taking a dramamine before getting on the bus.
Bus 684 from Moncloa to Cercedilla was one hour and cost €5,10 each way!
Where to go once you arrive at the bus stop in Cercedilla? Up. Up forever.
You walk up the road (nn the same road that the bus drops you off, the road that is outside of the cercanías station) to head towards hiking trails. If you feel that you are not going up then you are going the wrong way. You will walk up for 30 minutes or so on a sidewalk along the road until you get to an information station. The person who works at the information station will give you a map and tell you to choose your own adventure! Whichever you choose, be sure that you make your way to the mirador, you won’t regret it!
Choose wisely, my friend.
We decided to follow the blue dots, to the orange dots until we got to the mirador and then on the way down we took yellow to blue and made it to our bus stop about 20 minutes before the bus got there! It was VERY VERY easy to stay on the trail and the views were perfect!
Be sure to stop to take photos, your butt will be grateful!
Once you reach the road, you know you are close to the mirador!
Looking out from the mirador as the sun begins to set
“Afila Siete Picos en la sombra su aguda dentellada” from the book Geografía es Amor by J. Garcia Nieto. You will find this poetic rock and some of his friends at the top of the mountain near the mirador. If you take the yellow trail to the blue on the way down, be careful not to slip on rocks! Also, if you happen to be heading down the mountain around sunset, the view will be outstanding.
The hike that we did took around four hours. We made it to 2,000 meters and hiked around 10km.
I am not sure exactly how long it took going up or down, I am going to guess that it was about 30 minutes up until we got to information then about 2 hours to the mirador, then an hour and a half down from the mirador until we reached the bus stop outside of the Cercanías station. If I was watching the clock during that hike I probably wouldn’t have made it!
Have you gone hiking in the mountains outside of Madrid? Which trail did you take? How long was your hike?