The National Park extends over the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, whose highest peak is the Peñalara summit. Other outstanding features include the Puerto de Navafría pass and the La Morcuera and Siete Picos mountain ranges. All these mountainous areas are frequented by hiking and climbing enthusiasts.
The cooler and more humid conditions to be found in these mountains, plus the fact that it is so little affected by human activity, have made these mountains an exceptional refuge for biodiversity. Its physical features include glacial cirques and lakes, and granite rock fields, and its plant landscapes are formed by high-mountain ecosystems and extensive forests of Scots pine.
The project aims to protect the eleven different ecosystems present in the Guadarrama mountains, including the only Iberian examples of “high Mediterranean mountain”. Altogether there are more than 1,280 different species in the zone recently declared a national park, of which 13 are in danger of extinction, more than 1,500 native plants and 30 different types of vegetation. The species of animals in the mountains represent 45% of the total fauna of Spain and 18% of European fauna.
The vegetation features the Scots pine, the oak, the juniper, the oak and piorno and many other species. As regards fauna, there are many mammals such as deer (red, roe and fallow), wild boar, wild goats, badgers, several mustelidaes, wild cats, foxes, hares, etc.; many species of waterfowl in the reservoirs, and great raptors like the Spanish imperial eagle or the Eurasian black vulture. Recently, a pack of wolves was discovered in the park after a 70-year absence in the region.
The mountain range’s proximity to Madrid means it can get crowded with visitors. The range is crossed by numerous roads and railway routes. It has a highly developed tourism infrastructure, coupled with provisions for various mountain sports.