From Trevelez (1476m) to Siete Lagunas (2891m) and Mulhacen (3,479m)
Whole day or two days hike
This is one of the most spectacular walks in the region with a long climb that takes you up to the beautiful high cirque (2900m), which lies just beneath Spain’s highest peak Mulhacen (3,479m). We recommend that you leave early in the morning. As a rough guide, when we did this walk it took about 6 hours going up and 2 hours coming back down to Trevelez.sss
Firstly drive to Trevelez and park your car. If possible park in the upper part of the village as that is where you will be starting your walk. Take the path which departs from the left of the washing troughs in the upper part of Trevelez which is signposted to Siete Lagunas. Pass various farms and cortijos up theAcequia Gorda (1 1/4hrs). Follow the Acequia until finding a badly marked path, which rises to theAcequia del Mingo, on Los Posteros (1 hr). Go along the Acequia del Mingo, crossing La Campinuela, until reaching a dyke on El Vertedero. Skirt round the lower area of fencing to cross the river and walk up to below the Chorreras Negras, watching out for the waterfall on the way. Walk up to the right of the waterfall to Laguna Hondera (45mins). Just by this is the Refugio Natural de 7 Lagunas. The rivulets linking the seven lakes lead to Laguna Altera, the highest of La Canada.
If you go up the highest hill there are some impressive views to be had of the northern faces of Mulhacen and la Alcazaba. From Laguna Hondera you could go up Mulhacen or the Alcazaba.
If you arte taking a small tent and a sleeping bag then it is best you put your tent here at siete Lagunas and the following day climb to Mulhacen and back to Trevelez. Do remember at nights it could get to freezing even during the summer months up there. Always take something light which can protect you from freezing cold wind.
From Siete Lagunas you can walk to Mulhacen and back in two hours.
Virgin of the Snows, 5th. of August each year Pilgrimage to Mulhacen.
Trevélez celebrates the day of the Virgen de Las Nieves (Virgin of the Snows – 5th. of August each year) in the summer months. On this day the virgin is carried to the summit of Mulhacén and a mass is celebrated. The traditional belief is that this will keep travellers safe in the Sierra Nevada for another year.
This is the only day cars are allowed to drive to the park from capileira. Hundreds of people drive their cars and park below Mulhacen.
There are also many people who ride their horses on the 4th. August and camp in Siete Lagunas and on the 5th. they climb to the peaks of Mulhacen. It is a fiesta atmosphere, wine and jamon serano is the order of the day.
In my experience if you go up on the 4th. then camping in Siete lagunas is not a clever idea as many horses ride wild across the small lakes while their owner are drunk and have not a clue what sort of damages the horses could do it to the other campers!
The fiesta has some of the usual ingredients: religion, procession, rockets, mass, but it is the proportions of each that are rather different in this case. The procession component is extended into a 16 to 20 hour expedition, to the peak of the Sierra Nevada. The object is to process La Virgen from the village church (1550m.), to the peak of Mulhacén (3482m.) in order that mass may be celebrated by all who can arrive there at 1200 hrs on the 5th August.
The tradition component dates back to the summer of 1813 when Don Pedro of Válor, crossing the sierra, on what would have been the normal summer access from Granada to his home, was caught in the mother of all storms, something that still happens on August afternoons. Believing his end was nigh after hours of struggling, disorientated in fierce blowing hail, he prayed to The Virgin Mary and offered to build a shrine in her honour if she thought him worthy of saving. His port of last resort welcomed him with open arms, the clouds dissolved and from a sea of light La Virgen de las Nieves appeared extending her arms in invitation. The traveller was saved and was true to his word. A hermitage was constructed on the mountaintop and recognising the miracle, an image of La Virgen was donated by the bishops of Granada.
However to due to harsh weather of Mulhacen and the deterioration of the “Virgen de las Nieves” is now kept in the church in Trevelez and it is from here that the “Virgen” is taken to the peaks of Mulhacen.