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Hiking in the Spanish Sierra Nevada

The amazing vista above Beas de Granada

In May of 2015, I had the opportunity to spend nearly three weeks hiking throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains in southern Spain. This trip had been a fall out of my usual “what should I do in Spring” excursion, and gave myself and my partner a chance to experience some better weather, amazing vistas, and some encounters with some incredible people along the way.

Please note that these are only a few photos from the trip. If you would like to see more, please visit the gallery on my website.

The amazing vista above Beas de Granada
The amazing vista above Beas de Granada

The plan was to fly into Madrid, and take a bus down to Granada. From there, we used Granada as a base of operations to plan full day excursions into the surrounding mountains, using many of the hikes described on the Trek Sierra Nevada Mountains website. This website provides invaluable information about these hikes, including guides, altitude profiles, and GPS-based routes and navigation. We also planned to leave Granada and head further east, to Trevelez, in order to do longer hikes and experience more of the GR-7.

Generally, things went very well. The hardest part in the whole trip was sorting out the regional bus situation in Andalucia, at the beginning of the trip. The hikes in the Sierra Nevada mountains are not well advertised. This is a good thing, in my opinion. Entire days went by when we would not meet a single other person on the trail. Please keep in mind that this was in May, when cities like Granada and Madrid were absolutely crammed full of tourists. If you can get out of the cities and into the mountains, though, you will find that things are very different. Expect quiet hikes, pristine vistas, and wonderful villages filled with caring, helpful people. Especially if you attempt to speak a bit of Spanish and smile a lot.

A grove of trees in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain
A grove of trees in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain

It is really important that you figure out the local bus service though. ALSA bus operates out of the larger bus stations, but this is probably NOT the bus system you want if you need to take a bus from Granada to a smaller city that is close by (like G├╝ejar Sierra). For those, you will need to consult the local bus system website, which is a fact also mentioned the Trek Sierra Nevada website. Please also note that the bus stop locations in Granada may vary depending on what bus line you need to take. Consult the route maps very closely before setting out in the morning. You can probably tell that I made this mistake, myself. For the bus ride out to Trevelez, the ALSA bus station worked just great.

What ever you need to do, it is worth it.

I was pretty meticulous about tracking routes with a GPS and as such I have provided two GPS routes here, to give readers a sense of what some of the hikes were like. If you would like more, please ask.

GPS route from Beas de Granada to Granada
GPS route from Beas de Granada to Granada
The GPS route for the Guejar Sierra ridge hike
The GPS route for the Guejar Sierra ridge hike

And naturally, some more photos from the hiking. It is truly a magical spot, and I am already making plans to return.

A sunset in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain
A sunset in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain
High up on the ridge of Cerro El Callar in the Sierra Nevadas in Spain
High up on the ridge of Cerro El Callar in the Sierra Nevadas in Spain

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