This walk winds its way up through a pleasant forest of oaks and pines, before continuing up the ridge of the Loma de San Juan, from which you have panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada. The climb is fairly relentless, and steep in parts, but if you’re reasonably fit and the weather’s good the amazing scenery more than makes up for it! Return via the attractive Cortijo del Hornillo and the lower part of the Vereda de la Estrella.
Level This is a tough climb, with over 1000m of accumulated height difference. One section of the route is difficult to follow as there is no clear path, so a map and compass or GPS is recommended. This section is also quite uneven underfoot, so we recommend wearing good walking boots and taking a walking pole. For an easier to follow and less strenuous alternative, see version A of this walk.
When to go Spring and autumn are probably best for this walk, to avoid the heat of the summer and potential risk of snow in the winter. It would also be possible in summer if you start out early enough, but it could be very tough going up the hill.
Water There is no reliable source of water available on the route, so make sure you take enough with you (1-2 litres per person, depending on how hot it is).
Location: NW Sierra Nevada, Güéjar Sierra
The walk starts from the Barranco de San Juan, just upriver from the village of Güéjar Sierra, along the route of the old Sierra Nevada tram.
By Car: From Granada, take the A-395 towards Sierra Nevada. Take the exit marked Pinos Genil, Güéjar Sierra, Dúdar, Quéntar and follow the road under the A-395 and across the river Genil. Turn right, and after 2.5km turn left for Güéjar Sierra.
When you enter the village (after 8km), take the right turn signposted Río Genil, Río Maitena. Follow the road round until you get to a set of wooden signs for accommodation and places of interest. Bear left, marked towards Sierra Nevada, Río Genil. At the next junction, turn right (signed towards Maitena, Charcón, Sierra Nevada) then go straight on (signed Maitena, Barranco San Juan, Sierra Nevada). After reaching the bottom of the valley, turn left through a tunnel (signed Vereda de la Estrella, Barranco San Juan). You will go through two more tunnels and cross the river twice before you reach the end of the road and a car park.
By Bus: This walk is not easily accessible by bus. It is possible to walk from Güéjar Sierra to the trailhead, but this would add quite significantly to the length of the walk.