Throughout the Sierra Nevada and surrounding areas there are literally thousands of kilometres of walking trails. Most of our hikes follow a mix of footpaths, wider tracks and dirt roads, some of which are signposted walking routes.
Recently the marking of footpaths and walking trails has improved immensely. These range from local paths to Gran Recorridos (GR), a Europe-wide network of long-distance walking trails. Some of the local routes have been classified officially as Pequeños Recorridos (PR) or “short routes”. Three GRs pass through the Sierra Nevada, the GR-7, GR-240 Sulayr and GR-142. We do not include a detailed description of these routes, as we have focussed on day walks, but many of our hikes use sections of the trails. All of these marked routes use the various types of trail described above.
The GR-7 runs from Gibraltar to Andorra, and beyond to Greece, passing through the Sierras de Alhama, Tejeda y Almijara Natural Park, Lecrín Valley and the Alpujarras. The route generally runs from village to village, so it is relatively easy to organise accommodation along the way if you want to do a multi-day walk. The route markings are red and white, and use the symbols shown on the right. For a list of our routes that use parts of the GR-7, click here
The Sulayr is a newly-marked route encircling the Sierra Nevada with 19 stages in all. Note that unlike the GR-7, the Sulayr tends not to pass close to inhabited areas, so if you want to walk for several days careful planning is required, and you will probably need to carry your own tent. Click here for rules and advice about camping in the Sierra Nevada. The route markings used for the Sulayr are shown on the right. For a list of our routes that use parts of the Sulayr, click here
The GR-142 crosses the Alpujarras, but takes a lower route than the GR-7 or GR-240 Sulayr, meaning that it is generally less challenging.
Pequeños Recorridos (PR)
PRs are all possible to do in a day, ranging from a couple of hours to more challenging 7-8 hour walks. Many of our routes are PRs in their entirety or else coincide with them along certain sections. PRs are generally marked in yellow and white, see right.
Local marked trails
There are quite a few marked local trails that don’t have the status of a PR. These are often marked with white arrows (see right).
Rights of way
A network of old droving routes or rights of way (known as Vias Pecuarias or Cañadas Reales) criss-crosses the Sierra Nevada and surrounding areas. These are often marked with green posts either side of the track (see far right).
Types of trail
Footpaths and tracks
Most of our walks use well-maintained footpaths and tracks, which do not offer any particular difficulty in terms of the terrain. Some routes, however, use more challenging mountain paths, which may have a rocky or loose surface. This is indicated in the walk description and in the terrain grading – click here for a description of the different terrain categories.
Walking along a dirt road may not sound an attractive option, but the roads used for our routes are very little trafficked. Inside the Natural and National Park areas, these roads are generally only open to park staff, and elsewhere you’re only really likely to encounter the odd farmer or landowner, as the roads are fairly rough and not attractive to casual car traffic. Many of the roads follow pleasant routes through forested areas.
Some of our walks follow fire breaks for short sections. These cleared thoroughfares are effectively like wide tracks, but can be steep in places.
Valley beds and ravines
Some routes follow the bottom of dry riverbeds or ravines on certain sections, again effectively like following a wide track.