The path advances into the woods, through the Forest Perimeter of Barão de São João, through pine forests and cork oak groves, towards the Pedra do Galo, a vestige of the Iberian Peninsula’s megalithic culture.
In the vicinity of the village, which is worth exploring to enjoy the traditional architecture of the one-story houses with their typical chimneys, the path is lined by eucalyptus and acacias.
The picnic area of the Mata Nacional was laid under the shade of stone pines. From this point onwards the path begins its descent along a gloomy and cool ravine. Under the canopy of the pine trees grow strawberry trees, gorse (mainly tojo-gatum, Stauracanthus boivinii) and patches of cistus and Montpellier cistus.
The path meanders deeper into the woods and the atmosphere becomes damp. The Mediterranean vegetation grows in height and diversity: verdant cork oaks and strawberry trees, accompanied by mastic trees and Mediterranean buckthorn. There are thick clumps of dwarf Spanish heath, Spanish tree heath, and gorse. Beds of cistuscistus, lavender and broom bloom in the clearings.
As you climb towards the windmills on top of one of the hills of the Espinhaço de Cão, you’ll cross a vast patch of pine forest with gorse and cistus. Here you’ll be able to spot hares and wild rabbits, or signs of wild boar and carnivores such as the fox, the genet or the Egyptian mongoose.
Near the road that accompanies the line of windmills, you’ll reach the Pedra do Galo, a fragment of a limestone menhir (presumably from the Neolithic period), right in the middle of grove. From here you can see the many hills of the Espinhaço de Cão, as well as the Serra de Monchique and the highest point of the Algarve, the Fóia. In
the surrounding woods, it is possible to see a wide range of passerines and birds of prey such as the little owl, the common buzzard and even Bonelli’s eagle.
Location: Barão de São João
Type: walking and cycling
Circular trail: partially, linear stretch of about 1 km.
Distance: 6,3 km
Average duration: 1h30
Cumulative elevation gain: 177 metres D+
Type of path: dirt paths
Start of the trail: 37º 18' 22.67'' N 8º 46' 46.90'' W