Lavaderos de la Reina means “the Queen’s washing place”. It is an area of lush meadows fed by mountain springs. By far the best time to visit is in late spring or early summer, when the melting snow feeds the gushing streams. The first part of the route also gives some great views of the Sierra Nevada.
Level This is a long walk, but not particularly difficult, although there is a steady climb at the beginning, and you also need to clamber down some rocks beside the waterfall. There is no signposting, but the route is relatively easy to follow, apart from a short section around the Lavaderos, where you need to take special care in following the map and route description.
When to go The upper Lavaderos are at an altitude of over 2500m, so the walk is not accessible in winter without specialist equipment. The Lavaderos are at their most beautiful when the snow is melting around May/June, but it is possible to do the walk in summer and early autumn as well. Remember to check the conditions locally before you go – the area can still be snow-covered well into May or even June.
Water You can restock with excellent spring water at the Lavaderos, but make sure you take enough for the climb to get there.
Location: East of Granada (Güéjar Sierra) The walk starts around 10km east of Güéjar Sierra village.
This is a great walk, but access is a little difficult, as it involves driving along about 10km of unsurfaced, bumpy mountain roads. It is perfectly possible to get there in a normal car, but don’t set out unless you are comfortable driving on this kind of road.
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). Just after you leave the village, take the left turn marked towards Camping Cortijo Balderas.
After 2km, the road narrows, with a big rock on the right-hand side. Straight after this, turn right. The road is marked as “no entry”, but don’t worry about this. The road descends to the river, and a little while after this turns into a dirt track. Keep to the main track, following the signs for cyclists. Keep going until you reach a chain across the road, where the walk starts. In total, from the turn-off to the chain it is about 12km.
By Bus: This walk is not accessible by bus.