Puerto de El Torcal

The Puerto de El Torcal is the starting point to the short, steep and spectacular road up to El Torcal. The latter is an out-and-back road and much of it runs along near the top of a broad bare ridge, with great views in all directions. The Puerto de El Torcal is also a fantastic ride on its own, connecting two fascinating cities.

The Andalucia Cycloturismo web page loosely refers to this pass as "Puerto de El Torcal", The name "Boca del Asno" also appears on signs next to the road. This refers to an ancient battle site between Christians and Muslims.

01.(0020m,00.0km) START-END SOUTH: Malaga, just south of harbor
02.(0125m.07.4km) Chaparral
03.(0100m,16.0km) alternate route along Rio de Campanillas turns off on right
04.(0400m,24.5km) road passes Almogia
05.(0550m,32.3km) Puerto de la Muher/Dehesa
06.(0610m,41.7km) Villanueava de la Concepcion
07.(0945m,47.3km) out and back turnoff to El Torcal is on left
08.(0950m,48.0km) TOP: point of highest elevation
09.(0570m,57.0km) A343 on left continues around el Torcal. Profile stays right
10.(0460m,60.0km) START-END NORTH: Antequera, north side


From South.
The description of the first part of the profile is on the Puerto de la Mujer page. On this ride, I am counting this Puerto de la Mujer point as a border line summit point. The descent on the north side is just about exactly 300ft~100m, which I am using as cutoff point between summit point and shoulder point. But if I was to really use 100m as cutoff point (330ft) the Puerto de la Mujer would be a shoulder point. That's just a note to myself and my sieve-like brain

Past Almogia the road reaches a low point and a turnoff on a tiny road to the west would give more elevation gain to Puerto de la Mujer. But A7075 climbs over rolling hills in open grassland to the white village that has scenically underled the view of El Torcal for dozens of miles, Villanueva de la Concepcion.

Starting here, a handful of steep switchbacks climb ever closer to the base of the rocky lip ahead. The grade of these switchbacks does not let up in the turns. The inside of these turns are the steepest part of the climb. Once close to the base of the rock outcrop, a shallow straight away leads to the highest point. There is no puerto sign but the Boca del Asno is signed

From North. (described downwards). The interior plain on this side of the mountains lies much higher, and coming from the US (as I do), the first view of the landscape without the houses reminds of Wyoming. Again there are a few switchbacks, but they are finished before you can get used to going downhill again. But then there are the structures that get me back to reality, the white farms, a few amazingly intricate ruins that seem to be part of a sheep farm, and the many tended fields and geometric fruit plantation patterns.

Two kilometers before reaching Antequerra, a left onto MA4402 allows crossing back over onto the north side of El Torcal. On a long dayride there may not be much time to look around Antequerra. This city dates back to the same time as Granada and Sevilla. But it's location was much less strategic. So it's less famous, but in my view at least as interesting in a more sedate way.

Sidetrip to El Torcal

The summit road to the El Torcal visitor center is really quite short. Many pictures on different web sites are taken on these 4 kms. The road traverses a karst topography. Some form columns, and others are eroded into plates separated by receding softer stones. To the south another ridge sticks up into the landscape like an overturned ship's bow. With a telephoto lens it looks very impressive. The steep, flagstone lined climb levels out on top and ends at a visitor's center. There are several short trails, and an overlook direction Mediterranean Sea here.

Dayride with this point as highest summit


( < Puerto Santopilar | Venta La Nates s(u) > )
Puerto de El Torcal , MA4402 Antequerra - Villanueva de la Concepcion , A7 Malaga - El Chaparral s(u) , Puerto de la Mujer x2 ,  Malaga: Calle Magacallo - Calle de los Cardos s(u) , additional out and back: Malaga Este > Malaga: Calle Matacallo - Calle de los Cardos > Malaga Centro > A7 Malaga - El Chaparral s(u) > El Chaparral > MA3402 north > Almogia > Puerto de la Mujer(shp) > Villanueva de la Concepcion > A7075 Villanueva de la Concepcion - Antequerra s(u) <> out and back to paved top of El Torcal >> down north side of A7075 > MA4402south > MA4402 Antequerra - Villanueva > La Joya > A7075 south > Puerto de la Mujer(shp) > puerto de Torre[this is also a townname] > Malaga harbor > Malaga Este: 94.2miles with 9840ft of climbing in 8:29hrs (Bascamp figures from Garmin etrex30: m4:16.4.18)
Notes: A little different than the planned route. The two lower summits in Malaga were part of getting to know the city by getting lost, even with a gps.

Slideshow of the out and back sidetrip to El Torcal: