Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada
38 walks, scrambles and multi-day traverses
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Guidebook to walks and multi-day treks in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Spain's Andalucia. The 38 routes include the highest point of continental Spain, Mulhacén, and take in villages including Trevélez, Lanjarón and Capileira. Includes main ridge traverses, high mountain scrambles and a Spanish Three Peaks challenge.
- Route descriptions assume summer conditions but seasonal notes are given where relevant for the winter hillwalker, as well as the location of suitable water sources during the hot summer months
- Trevélez, Capileira, Lanjarón, Nigüelas, Dílar, Cumbres Verdes, Granada, Sierra Nevada ski area, Güéjar Sierra, Jérez de Marsquesado
- Graded routes of varying difficulty, from easy half-day jaunts and day-trips to tough multi-day treks. High-level routes but also superb lower-level alternatives, including eight walks in the Cumbres Verdes and Dílar Valley hills SE of Granada. Five high mountain scrambles for the more adventurous (graded 2 to 3S).
- Must See
- Mulhacén, the highest mountain in mainland Spain; Los Tres Picos - the three highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada; Los Tres Miles Integral - a multi-day ridge-walk covering all the main 3000m peaks; high-level summer scrambles
This guidebook presents 33 graded walks and 5 high mountain scrambles in the striking Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain range in mainland Spain and in western Europe outside the Alps. Easily accessible from Granada and Málaga, it is a world of soaring, snow-clad peaks and deep valleys, far removed from the crowded beaches of the Costa del Sol just two hours away. The routes are spread across the national park, with attractive towns and villages such as Trevélez, Lanjarón, Hoya de la Mora and Cumbres Verdes serving as potential bases for a walking holiday.
The walks have been carefully chosen to showcase the Sierra Nevada's dramatic scenery, taking in barren rocky peaks, lush green valleys, arid badlands and tranquil lakes. From more leisurely outings in the Cumbres Verde area to ascents of mainland Spain's highest summit, Mulhacén, there are routes to suit a range of abilities, although most require a reasonable degree of fitness, navigational skill and experience of high mountain terrain. Whilst some are day or half-day walks, others take advantage of the region's network of mountain shelters or offer an opportunity to wild camp. Also included are three longer traverses: 'Los Tres Picos' (the Spanish Three Peaks – Veleta, Mulhacén and Alcazaba), 'Los Tres Miles' Integral (a multi-day trek covering all the major 3000m peaks in the range) and an overview of the 302km Sulayr GR240. The walks can be enjoyed most of the year, however conditions may prove too hot at the peak of summer and extra care and equipment will be required in snow or ice: the descriptions assume summer conditions, but include additional notes for winter walking.
The guide also includes advice on transport, bases and safety, a tick-list of the 3000m peaks and a Spanish-English glossary. Information on plants, wildlife and local points of interest will further enhance your visit and the glorious colour photos provide a taste of what the region has to offer. For those who like their mountains rough and rugged, Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada is a perfect companion to escaping the crowds and discovering a different side to Andalucía.
Plants and wildlife
Climate and conditions
Getting to the Sierra Nevada
Accommodation and bases
Respecting the environment
Safety and rescue
Planning and maps
Using this guide
Route 1 Ascent of Alcazaba via Cañada de Siete Lagunas
Route 2 Ascent of Mulhacén via Cañada de Siete Lagunas
Route 3 Round of the Río Juntillas and Trevélez valleys
Route 4 Barranco de Poqueira circular
Route 5 Ascent of Mulhacén from Hoya del Portillo
Route 6 Ascent of Mulhacén from Refugio Poqueira
Route 7 The Caldera peaks
Route 8 Around Mulhacén via the Vasar and Siete Lagunas
Route 9 The Púlpitos
Route 10 Pico del Tajo de los Machos and Cerrillo Redondo
Route 11 Ascent of Cerro del Caballo from the south
Route 12 Ascent of Cerro del Caballo via los Tres Mojones
Route 13 Silleta de Padul
Route 14 Integral de los Alayos
Route 15 Boca de la Pesca
Route 16 Trevenque via Cuerda del Trevenque
Route 17 Circuit of Trevenque and Dílar valley
Route 18 The Cerro Huenes group
Route 19 Pico del Tesoro and Cerro del Cocón
Route 20 Trevenque direct
Ski area – Hoya de la Mora
Route 21 Veleta, Tajos de la Virgen and Lagunillas
Route 22 Veredón Superior and Cerro de los Machos
Route 23 Veredón Inferior, Veta Grande, northern flanks and lakes
Route 24 Across the mountains to Lanjarón via Refugio Elorrieta
Vereda de la Estrella/Genil valley
Route 25 Vereda de la Estrella, Refugio Cucaracha and Cueva Secreta
Route 26 Cortijos del Hornillo circular
Route 27 Ascent of Mulhacén via Cueva Secreta
Route 28 Round of the northern peaks via Peña Partida
Jérez del Marquesado and Refugio Postero Alto
Route 29 Ascent of Picón de Jérez and round of the Alhorí valley
Puerto de la Ragua
Route 30 The eastern peaks
Main ridge traverse and longer treks
Route 31 ‘Los Tres Miles’ Integral 3000m peaks
Route 32 ‘Los Tres Picos’ – Veleta, Mulhacén and Alcazaba
Route 33 The Sulayr GR240
High mountain scrambles
Route 34 Espolón de Alcazaba
Route 35 Traverse of Puntal de la Caldera
Route 36 Espolón de la Caldera
Route 37 Arista de las Campanitas
Route 38 North ridge of Tozal del Cartujo
Appendix A List of the 3000m peaks
Appendix B Accommodation
Appendix C Useful contacts
Appendix D Glossary
Appendix E Further reading
Planning and maps
Don’t expect the same level of accuracy in Spanish mapping that exists, for example, in the UK with Ordnance Survey maps. There are a variety of maps available that are relatively accurate, although you should be on the lookout for possible errors – especially with regard to dirt access roads. In addition, the names and altitudes of some peaks differ across the various maps.
The recommended and most accurate maps are listed below. In this guide, altitudes and nomenclature are standardised as per the Editorial Penibética maps.
- Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada 1:40,000 (Editorial Penibética)
- Sierra Nevada – La Integral de los 3000m 1:25,000 (Editorial Piolet)
These can be bought from most major retailers such as Stanfords (Open Cycle Map
With the onset of mobile apps to help navigate your way around the world, the standard and accuracy of digital mapping has improved in recent years. Mention must be made of the open source mapping software Open Cycle Map (www.opencyclemap.org) – an online global map based on data from the OpenStreetMap project. This can be a useful resource to download and use on your phone, tablet, computer or indeed GPS.
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Richard Hartley started walking in the UK hills in the mid-70s. In the 80’s and 90’s he spent many seasons walking and mountaineering in the Alps. Since then he has led six expeditions to the Patagonian Icecap and joined a Berghaus sponsored expedition in 2013 to ski volcanoes in Kamchatka.View Articles and Books by Richard Hartley
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