FATMAP difficulty grade
If I were to suggest a route to explore Madrid's most well-known mounatin zones, I'd pick this one.
BE WARY: the route has NO PERMANENT WATER sources during most of the distance.
It starts in Manzanares el Real, which is a local climbing and mountaineering capital.
The route takes you via a nice and scenic forest trail up to the final climb to Maliciosa, which offers great resting point and view point.
The route then continues to the Bola del Mundo (aka Alto de las Guarramillas) which is where it links with the locally well known Cuerda Larga ridge (well known as it's the ridge that is well visible all the way from Madrid).
The route follows the ridge until Asomate de Hoyos when we leave it to descend, first meandering through brooms and later converting into steep and quite technical trail leading to the heart of La Pedriza.
La Pedriza is well known granite mountain zone famous for its curious shapes and forms of the rocks and friction climbing.
Route takes us right through the middle of this zone and then rejoins the final part of the route (which we covered on the up) to finish at the parking.
The length of the route is deceptive - these are long 35km and this route makes for at least half day out.