Starting from the Aloha Golf Club in the heart of Nueva Andalucía (Marbella), this is a route of average difficulty and moderately technical over the Sierra de las Nieves mountains in the eastern part of the Costa del Sol.
The landscape of the area is breathtaking, and you will pass everything from a water retention lake (Embalse de la Concepcion) to well known and beautiful landmarks such as the Castaño Santo (Holly Chesnutt) as well as some really nice waterfalls. In the summer this is an ideal route for mountain bikers searching for new challenges; brave ones consider this also as a perfect night ride, in winter the "green route" as we name it, gets very technical specially on the downhill.
This route is easily accessible from Marbella, just follow the signs to Puerto Banús then follow the signs to Aloha Golf Club, once there you will see a small path going north between the urbanisation Pinos de Aloha and the Golf course, there you can join the route.
In dry summer conditions, the gravel tracks shouldn't present any problems, but in winter it becomes very muddy and suitable only for those who don't mind getting their bike and cloths very dirty and wet.
There are no real hazards on this route aside from two spots where you have to shoulder your bike to pass some fallen trees and towards the end, when you have to cross a river. In the summer this shouldn't be a problem as the water doesn't get higher then 15cm but in the rainy season it can reach 1.5 metres, so take caution!
The route can be started from Aloha as described above or from Istan, with a few options to vary the lengths of the routes.
If you don't want to do this ride (which is nearly 47 KM), you have the option to turn south after a helipad which is point (1) on the above route map. Taking this route, you will end up in La Quinta golf after a 20 minute thrilling downhill. From there just follow the signs to Aloha and you will get back to the starting point.
If on the other hand you want to follow the described route, after the helipad you turn north and you will see a junction that indicates Istán (2). On that junction you again have the possibility to change directions and take a trail going north-west towards the small white village of Istán; or you continue going north and after a climb of almost 300metres you will start descending to Castaño Santo (3).
Once passing that point after a few kilometres you will reach the turning point of this route, here you will have stunning views of the Veleta Mountain (4), so take a camera and memorize this moment. From that point on you have a great downhill almost all the way until you reach 20meters above sea level.
Although the route is described in a clockwise direction, it is equally suitable to be ridden anti clockwise.