Wild Camping In The Sierra Nevada

If you only have a couple of days to spend in the Sierra Nevada and you enjoy wild camping, then this may be the trip for you. A good walk in wild and dramatic scenery where few others will be seen! Also includes the park rules and regulations regarding a wild camp.

Many thanks to Ian Tupman for this guest post

Pretty scary eh?

Pretty scary eh?

Our starting point is the Central Eléctrica (power station) at La Cebadilla which is at 1,600m and is reached by a driveable track from above the village of Capileira. The well-trodden path up the Poquiera valley crosses the river several times and passes through mixed woodland which provides welcome shade in hot weather. It eventually emerges onto the open mountainside below cortijo Las Tomas with its rather bizarre scarecrow.

From here, the route up to the Refugio Poquiera at 2,500m is marked by orange poles. In the summer months the refuge provides an all-day menu of cooked dishes but telephone them first to confirm (958 343349).

Most people at the refuge will either be on their way up, or coming down from Mulhacén. At 3,482m it is the highest peak in mainland Spain and as such, it draws walkers and climbers from all over Europe and beyond. We, however are seeking the quieter route and after a well-earned rest at the refuge, we take the marked path heading west and then north into the Río Mulhacén valley.

We cross the river and take the cairned path, briefly heading south-west and then west up and across the southern end of Loma Pelada. On reaching the west flank, the path swings north and the magnificent Raspones ridge comes into view on the west side of the Río Seco valley.

In the summer and early autumn, the river may well live up to its name and be completely dry so it’s probably best to carry water from the Río Mulhacén. The path descends into the valley and continues up the east side as far as the lagunas de Río Seco before it joins the old road to the east of Veleta. Walk up the valley as far as you wish and look for a suitable place to pitch your tent, bearing in mind the National Park rules (see below).

I camped in the centre of the valley before it rises up to its second tier. After pitching my tent I walked up onto the Terreras Azules which runs from the southern end of the Raspones ridge. This provides superb views north and south and is an ideal spot from which to enjoy the sunset. You will almost certainly have the valley to yourself but look out for cabras monteses (mountain goats or ibex) and aguilas (eagles) which can often be seen here.

Looking south from Terreras Azules

Looking south from Terreras Azules

After a good night’s sleep and depending on how much time you have, you could return the same way or do as I did and, after returning to cortijo Las Tomas, traverse across to the west side of the valley and follow the higher acequia (water channel) which contours around the mountainside and feeds the hydro-electric pipeline above La Cebadilla. The path zig-zags steeply down the east side of the pipe and feeds back onto the main valley path where we turn right for the short descent back the car.

Looking north to the Raspones and the main Sierra Nevada ridge

Looking north to the Raspones and the main Sierra Nevada ridge

The route as described is 20kms with a total ascent of 1,600m and it reaches an altitude of 2,700m. From La Cebadilla to the Refugio Poquiera allow 2½ – 3½ hours and from the refuge to your camp, allow a further 1½ – 2 hours, depending on how far up the Río Seco valley you go. The return along the acequia to La Cebadilla will take around 3 – 4 hours.

Camping is allowed in the National Park but there are rules and restrictions.

The following apply to small groups of 3 or less tents (max 15 persons). Larger groups should apply to the National Park (see below)

  • You must notify the National Park office of your intention to camp by post, fax or e-mail (see below)
  • You can only set up a tent one hour before sunset and it must be taken down within one hour of sunrise
  • You can only stay one night in the same place
  • You can only camp above 1600m. In the summer this rises to above the tree line (about 2,200m) due to fire risk
  • Not within 500m of a guarded refuge or public vehicle track
  • Not within 1km of a tarmac road
  • Not within 50m of a mountain lake or river
  • Not on private property without written permission from the owner
  • Leave no trace and take all rubbish out with you

Sierra Nevada National Park
Address: Ctra. Antigua de Sierra Nevada, Km 7, 18191 Pinos Genil
Phone: +34 958 026300
Fax: +34 958 026310
Email: pn.snevada.cma@juntadeanda​lucia.es

Ian Tupman
September 2014

Wild Camping In The Sierra Nevada was originally published on Inspiring the Adventure, Sierra Nevada, Spain

Traverse of Cerro los Machos to Veleta. A wall of cloud lies on the northern slopes of Spain’s Sierra Nevada. taken from Veleta towards Los Machos. Mulhacen, highest mountain in mainland Spain (3482m), appears above the clouds in the distance. #sierranevada #spanishhighs #sierranevadaspain #mounatins #scrambling #mulhacen #cerrolosmachos #veleta #alive via Instagram http://ift.tt/Y9LYhX

Traverse of Cerro los Machos to Veleta. A wall of cloud lies on the northern slopes of Spain’s Sierra Nevada. taken from Veleta towards Los Machos. Mulhacen, highest mountain in mainland Spain (3482m), appears above the clouds in the distance. #sierranevada #spanishhighs #sierranevadaspain #mounatins #scrambling #mulhacen #cerrolosmachos #veleta #alive via Instagram http://ift.tt/Y9LYhX

Looking forward to sights like this again. The refugio and lake just below Cerro de Caballo. Let’s hope winter brings the Sierra Nevada lots of snow. #sierranevada #spanishhighs #sierranevadaspain  #mounatins #cerrodecaballo #snow #mountaineering via Instagram http://ift.tt/1spot2A

Looking forward to sights like this again. The refugio and lake just below Cerro de Caballo. Let’s hope winter brings the Sierra Nevada lots of snow. #sierranevada #spanishhighs #sierranevadaspain #mounatins #cerrodecaballo #snow #mountaineering via Instagram http://ift.tt/1spot2A

Cumulous nimbus developing over the Sierra Nevada this afternoon. Taken from Salobrena. #sierranevada #salobrena #mounatins #clouds #spanishhighs #sierranevadaspain  #sierranevadamountains #storm via Instagram http://ift.tt/1wJ9IpF

Cumulous nimbus developing over the Sierra Nevada this afternoon. Taken from Salobrena. #sierranevada #salobrena #mounatins #clouds #spanishhighs #sierranevadaspain #sierranevadamountains #storm via Instagram http://ift.tt/1wJ9IpF

The gateway to the Alpujarras, Lanjaron and the Moorish castle. The town is famed for it’s abundant healing waters. #lanjaron #castle #alpujarras #spanishhighs #walking #spatown via Instagram http://ift.tt/1mBaJQd

The gateway to the Alpujarras, Lanjaron and the Moorish castle. The town is famed for it’s abundant healing waters. #lanjaron #castle #alpujarras #spanishhighs #walking #spatown via Instagram http://ift.tt/1mBaJQd

Another fantastic sunset over Lanjaron tonight. #lanjaron #sunset #spanishhighs #alpujarras #andalucia #spain via Instagram http://ift.tt/1rbg9kC

Another fantastic sunset over Lanjaron tonight. #lanjaron #sunset #spanishhighs #alpujarras #andalucia #spain via Instagram http://ift.tt/1rbg9kC

Walking in the Cumbres Verdes mountains near Granada from Spanish Highs on Vimeo.

The Cumbres Verdes are well known to the local spanish Granadinos as they are very close to the Granada ring road (20 mins), so access is easy. In spite of this the walking is quiet and unspoiled and has a certain attraction missing in the higher and wilder Sierra Nevada. Lush green valleys fight with arid badlands for possession of the land and this gives varied and interesting scenery and views.

The video shows an ascent of Trevenque (2079m). This well known summit is one of the most spectacular and dramatic in the Sierra Nevada. The mountain is steep on all sides but there are numerous ways up to it’s majestic summit. The peak is very varied with the arid (Las Arenas) badlands contrasting with the lush Dilar valley area. All the walks are interesting day excursions of varying lengths from a simple 4 hour to a long 8 hour day. There are scrambling routes available to the more adventurous should they wish.

Sunset this evening over Lanjaron. Still waiting patiently for rain. #sunset #lanjaron #spanishhighs #alpujarras #granada #theendoftheday via Instagram http://ift.tt/1sppwK5

Sunset this evening over Lanjaron. Still waiting patiently for rain. #sunset #lanjaron #spanishhighs #alpujarras #granada #theendoftheday via Instagram http://ift.tt/1sppwK5

Cerro de Caballo and the Rio Lanjaron valley from the south. #cerrodecaballo #spanishhighs #sierranevada #sierranevadaspain #mounatins #riolanjaron #perfectday via Instagram http://ift.tt/XC2OGx

Cerro de Caballo and the Rio Lanjaron valley from the south. #cerrodecaballo #spanishhighs #sierranevada #sierranevadaspain #mounatins #riolanjaron #perfectday via Instagram http://ift.tt/XC2OGx

Walking the White Villages of La Taha, Alpujarras from Spanish Highs on Vimeo.

Sleepy white villages, clear running water and stunning scenery define the area of Las Alpujarras known as La Taha. Our walks and hikes in La Taha take in the best of these quiet and quaint traditional villages, usually on good tracks,

More information at spanishhighs.co.uk/walking-tours-alpujarras.php
Music - “Flamenco Rhythm” by Sunsearcher (jamendo.com/en/artist/Sunsearcher)

Walking in the Desierto de Tabernas, Almeria from Spanish Highs on Vimeo.

The remarkable, barren badlands of Tabernas in Almeria provide rich walking and hiking opportunities in a truly unique European environment, especially during the colder winter months.

We have been walking in these desert regions for many years now. They never fail to provide excitement and interest and our enthusiasm never wanes for this spectacular walking terrain.

This area is also famous for the shooting of the “Spaghetti Westerns” and big cinema epics such as Lawrenece of Arabia, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and many more. Due to the nature of the terrain we “tailor” our day walks to the abilities and requirements of our guests. Long multi-day traverses require a certain amount of endurance as the going can be rough and trackless.

More information spanishhighs.co.uk/desert-walking-tabernas-almeria.php
“Ennio (instrumental)” by Silence Is Sexy (silenceissexy.nl/)

It was a bit warm walking in the Tabernas badlands, but still everyone enjoyed this unique place. #tabernasdesert #badlands #spanishhighs #almeria #spaghettiwesteren #tabernas via Instagram http://ift.tt/X0gESF

It was a bit warm walking in the Tabernas badlands, but still everyone enjoyed this unique place. #tabernasdesert #badlands #spanishhighs #almeria #spaghettiwesteren #tabernas via Instagram http://ift.tt/X0gESF

8am this morning and a full moon seen through a window of the Alcadima Hotel in Lanjarón #alpujarras #lanjaron #spanishhighs #moon #fullmoon via Instagram http://instagram.com/p/sxlecqsAEY/

8am this morning and a full moon seen through a window of the Alcadima Hotel in Lanjarón #alpujarras #lanjaron #spanishhighs #moon #fullmoon via Instagram http://instagram.com/p/sxlecqsAEY/

The giant Griffon Vulture can often be seen in the Sierra Nevada. With the introduction of diclofenac into Spain and Europe natures dustbins may not be with us for long. This veterinary drug wiped out 99% of India’s vultures. #vulture #griffonvulture #buitre #spain #europe #eu #diclopenac #catastrophy #nature #naturelovers #birds via Instagram http://ift.tt/1xDB70o

The giant Griffon Vulture can often be seen in the Sierra Nevada. With the introduction of diclofenac into Spain and Europe natures dustbins may not be with us for long. This veterinary drug wiped out 99% of India’s vultures. #vulture #griffonvulture #buitre #spain #europe #eu #diclopenac #catastrophy #nature #naturelovers #birds via Instagram http://ift.tt/1xDB70o

Walking in the Barranco de Poqueira, Sierra Nevada from Spanish Highs on Vimeo.

The round of the Poqueira gorge offers some beautiful, dramatic walking and hiking scenery in the Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada regions of southern Spain. It is a firm favorite with our clients.

The walk shown in the video starts at Cebedilla hydro station above Capileira and heads up the valley by the main Rio Poqueira. Even in high summer this is a fast flowing river. We then trend left and come round a high trail on the western side of the valley before dropping down steeply to our start point. Always interesting scenery and wildlife abounds on this hike!

More details at spanishhighs.co.uk/walking-tours-alpujarras.php
Music “As I Figure” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)