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Best Hikes in the Sierra Nevada
Last Updated: January 2021
Although Andalusia is a popular tourist destination, few know that it has many gorgeous hiking trails to be discovered. The 190 km long Sierra Nevada mountain ranges have hiking routes that run through olive groves and small historic villages with impressive sights.
Alpujarras and the Sierra Nevada National Park offer great views from every corner. Here you can choose from a wide range of hiking options with easy to difficult routes. The landscape includes a series of gorges spread out over the surrounding hills and whitewashed villages hanging on the slopes below the imposing peaks of the Sierra Nevada.
The Alpujarras area has a rich history which is still evident today with the Moorish architecture being observed in the buildings which feel like they are merged with the mountain slopes.
Laguna de las Yeguas
Laguna de las Yeguas is an easy trail starting at an altitude of over 3000m. It is open only in summer, from late June to August, and accessible via the ski lifts. This means that you can enjoy great views of Granada and the surrounding mountains without having to walk for hours.
It is a 6km trail that you will cover in 1 hour and 45 minutes. The altitude difference from the start to the endpoint is 81m. The terrain is of medium difficulty, and the hiking trail is easy to navigate.
The walk starts at the ski station in Pradollano, from where you can board the lift. Along the way, you will pass by mountain lakes and meadows. The biggest lake is named the Laguna de las Yeguas, and during summer you will be lucky enough to see many beautiful horses around it.
It is good to know that you may suffer altitude sickness. In this case, inform your guide immediately to help you and make sure you return back safely.
This is one of the reasons why it is a good idea to arrange a hike with a local hiking organization. Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada is one of the best mountain guide companies in the region organizing regular guided hikes and hiking holidays in and around the Sierra Nevada. Thanks to their many years of experience, they know how to advise you about which mountain walk is best for you, based on your skills, level and preferences. They offer over 15 hikes in the area and other activities, such as Trekking, Running, Scrambling, Climbing, Snowshoeing and more.
If you are looking for a memorable holiday with a difference, opt for a trip with Spanish Highs to see a side of Spain many foreigners don't even know exists!
Cahorros is a medium difficulty hike of impeccable natural beauty. It is an 8km walk, but it will take you around 2 hours and 45 minutes. The terrain is of easy difficulty, and the paths are signposted. The uphill route has an altitude elevation of 400m.
The journey starts at Monachil, a picturesque village nearby, following the river that leads up to the gorge. The area hosts lush vegetation, wild plants, and trees loaded with fruits such as apricots, almonds, pomegranates, cherries and more. You will cross hanging bridges while the relaxing sounds of the river will accompany you along the route. The river maintains a low temperature all year round, so try to avoid getting into the freezing water.
While the hike is not very demanding, you need to exercise caution at some points, which are a bit riskier. For example, you will need to go along steep paths or crawl under rocks. For your convenience, there are metal handles which you can hold on to move with ease.
It's best to visit the area in spring or autumn when nature's colours are mesmerizing.
Hoya de la Mora - Veleta - Mulhacén
This hike will take your breath away! It's not a coincidence that many suggest this is the best hike in the Sierra Nevada. From the 3,396-meter-tall peak, you can see the mountain range, the Mediterranean sea, and even parts of Northern Africa. The 9km uphill walk from Hoya de la Mora takes 2 hours and 15 minutes, and it's rated as a medium difficulty trail. You'll find easy both navigation and the terrain. If you want to challenge yourself and take over the mountains, continue to the path that leads to Mulhacén, which will take you a good 10 hours to complete.
The journey begins at Hoya de la Mora and continues to Veleta and Mulhacén, two of the highest summits in Spain. First, you will climb to Veleta at 3,396m and then descend to Mulhacén. Veleta is the second highest peak in the Sierra Nevada and the third-highest of all summits in Spain. Mulhacén is 3479m tall, and it is the highest peak in the mountain range and mainland Spain. Due to the high altitude, the land is barren and rocky.
If you choose to go on this long and challenging hike in summer, the refreshing mountain breeze will help you to keep going.
Vereda de la Estrella
The Vereda de la Estrella is one of the classic and famous Sierra Nevada hikes. This mountain valley, named after the Estrella copper mine in the area, offers a medium difficulty 21km trail that will take you around 6 hours to complete. The elevation gain is 650 m, and it's an easy-to-navigate and well-marked trail.
You will start from Barranco de San Juan, just outside the village of Güéjar Sierra. Throughout the journey, you will stop several times to admire the dramatic landscape, the fertile valley, and the towering mountains. When you reach the gorge, the majestic view of the three summits will leave you speechless.
What is interesting about this route is that when you start to take the road back, there is another shorter path than the one you followed to reach the top. As all experienced hikers know, short routes are always the most dangerous. You need to be careful as this loop is quite demanding. The distance is 22km and takes 7 hours to descend.
Choose to visit the area in spring, summer or autumn to avoid bad weather and snow at high altitudes.
We saved the most challenging hike for last! The 2079m summit of Trevenque may not be the highest in the Sierra Nevada, but one of the favourite trekking destinations for those who enjoy a tough climb on this rugged mountain. It is 16km long, meaning that you’ll need 5 and a half hours to ascend. From the bottom to the top, you will cover a 920 upward route without distinct paths.
Your departure point is La Zubia, a sandy and gravelly route that requires walking poles. Once at the summit, you have the most stunning views of Veleta, the ski station, and the mountain ranges. Trevenque is also referred to as the “King” thanks to its beautiful journey and breathtaking views. On the way back, the four-hour route traverses the magnificent valley of the Dilar river.
Enjoy this hike in spring and summer, and remember to bring with you water and the necessary supplies.
These are only a few of the hikes and mountain walks in the Sierra Nevada. There are many more, either easy, medium or difficult, that will make you fall in love with the pristine beauty of the National Park. Spanish Highs can help you find the best ones for your needs and ensure you have an unforgettable experience. Apart from hiking trails, the area is famous for its excellent traditional food and rich culture that is definitely worth immersing yourself in when not hiking.
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