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Hiking trail

Mairena to Laroles Loop Walk

Hiking trail · Nevada
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  • House in Júbar
    / House in Júbar
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Church in Júbar
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Laroles and Mountain Backdrop
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Path through Laroles Valley
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Terraced Mountain Slopes
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Gazing at Laroles from Above
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
m 1300 1200 1100 1000 10 8 6 4 2 km

A gentle loop walk from Mairena which passes Júbar and its historic church dives into the Laroles Valley between oak forest and chestnut trees, and reaches labyrinthine Laroles, before turning around to Mairena.

10.9 km
3:45 h
356 m
355 m

This walk alternates between land that has been tamed and land that remains wild, enjoying the interesting contrast between them. You’ll pass mountains slopes that have been terraced to allow agriculture, orchards that droop under the weight of their fruit, and acequias (irrigation ditches) that channel precious water from the mountains and distribute it between the fincas (small farms).

On the other hand, the Laroles Valley is untamed, rugged and breathtakingly beautiful. The valley slopes which are sometimes just a vertical rockface are too steep to terrace. The native oak forest appears chaotic and full of life when compared to the carefully manicured orchards. Finally, you’ll enter an area of ancient and gnarled chestnut trees, after which this walk is romantically named Sendero Castañas Milenarios (the Walk of the Thousand-Year Old Chestnut Trees).

You’ll reach the villages of Júbar and Laroles, both typically Alpujarran and poised on the southern flanks of the Sierra Nevada mountains with a spectacular panorama unfurling before them. The church in Júbar is thought to be the oldest in the Alpujarra, and is certainly one of the more interesting having been a mosque, a Roman Temple and a church (occasionally all at the same time!).

Author’s recommendation

I enjoyed the views from the main road above Laroles; the jumble of cubic buildings appear to tumble down the mountain below you. User
Josiah Skeats
Updated: January 07, 2020

Highest point
1252 m
Lowest point
941 m

Safety information

There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and remain on the path.

There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a sharp left bend, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum time to see you.

Sections of the path are along rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.


Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of the steep ascents and descents.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.

Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking in hot weather.

Be sure to bring plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.

Tips, hints and links

Points of Interest

Júbar Church

The site of the church in Júbar has previously been a Roman Temple, a mosque and a refuge for Jews. There was even a period where it served all these purposes at the same time. Interestingly the symbol that tops the church tower is a combination of a cross, a star of David, a crescent moon and an arrow, which reflects this religious tolerance. It is thought to be the oldest existing church in the Alpujarra, though there are conflicting opinions on exactly how old it is.



Laroles is positioned at the gateway of the only north-south mountain pass that runs through the Sierra Nevada mountains. Therefore, the village played a key role throughout the 16th century which saw the Moors expelled from their final strongholds in the mountains. Today the village is famed for its fruit and chestnuts.


Food and Drink

Laroles makes a perfect stop for lunch or a halfway drink and snack before you return to Mairena. There are a few options to buy food or drink, and fountains where you can refill your water bottles.


Santo Cristo de la Luz Church, Mairena (1084 m)
37.004253, -3.044136
30S 496073 4095345


Santo Cristo de la Luz Church, Mairena

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – Start facing the entrance to the Church in Mairena. BEAR RIGHT to pass the church tower on your right, then facing the fountain after 20 metres, TURN RIGHT to walk along Calle Iglesia ignoring all side roads.

0.16km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON, ignoring the right turn to Casa de la Cultura and Polideportivo.

0.26km – TURN LEFT to walk along the tarmac road, following the GR7 sign to Júbar. As the road bends right after 60 metres, TURN LEFT onto the footpath where the metal barrier finishes. BEAR RIGHT as this footpath immediately forks. You are following the red and white markings and wooden posts.

0.40km – BEAR RIGHT uphill as the path forks, ignoring the left turn. After 10 metres you will pass a red and white blaze painted onto a rock confirming you are heading the correct way.

0.54km – BEAR RIGHT onto the set of gravel vehicle tracks. These tracks walk parallel to the road on your right. As the vehicle tracks emerge onto the paved road after 180 metres, TURN LEFT, and then TURN LEFT again, walking along the paved road and following the paved to Júbar.

0.81km – As the road bends right, TURN LEFT onto a rocky footpath. This rocky footpath immediately fragments into several paths; BEAR RIGHT choosing the footpath which keeps as close to the paved road as possible. Ignore the direction of the white arrow which appears to direct you left.

0.89km – As you emerge onto an unpaved road, TURN RIGHT and then after 10 metres, TURN LEFT to head uphill on a rocky footpath. After 60 metres CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross over a gravel road and resume the footpath on the far side. The network of farm tracks and footpaths around here may be confusing so continue following the red and white markings and check the map regularly.

1.20km – As you emerge onto a cobbled path near a water fountain, BEAR RIGHT to continue towards Júbar. After 50 metres, BEAR RIGHT down the steps and then TURN LEFT to follow the flat footpath through the village.

1.50km – As the path splits with a whitewashed stone wall ahead, TURN RIGHT to continue walking through Júbar and towards the church.

1.60km – At the church, TURN LEFT following the sign for Sendero Castaño Milenario to Laroles. As the road becomes unpaved after 100 metres, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON. Remain on this road for 800 meters, ignoring all side roads. Laroles will appear on your right on the other side of the valley, but the footpath heads further north and deeper into the valley.

2.50km – As the path forks after a short cobbled section and as the road bends right, BEAR LEFT to continue heading uphill. Ignore the right fork which heads downhill.

2.90km – Shortly after passing a house on your right, BEAR RIGHT as the path forks to head slowly downhill, walking with the chain-link fence on your right. There are red and white, and green and white blazes of paint to guide you.

4.10km – Just as the road becomes paved and with a derelict building on your left, TURN RIGHT onto the rocky footpath that descends into the valley, following the red and white markings. Don’t worry about passing through a green and white cross. As you emerge onto a gravel road after 100 metres, BEAR RIGHT then BEAR LEFT to continue along the footpath. You are now walking back in the direction of Laroles with the valley on your left.

5.00km – The path crosses the wooden bridge over the stream and continues heading to Laroles, now with the valley on your right.

5.50km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON as you emerge at a rocky vehicle track to resume the rocky uphill footpath on the far side.

5.80km – As you emerge onto the gravel road which has previously been on your right, BEAR LEFT to walk along it. After 100 metres, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON ignoring a sharp turn on your left, and GR7 wooden posts and red and white markings on your right.

6.00km – BEAR RIGHT as the road forks to continue downhill and just to the right of a farm building. This road runs parallel to the paved road on your right.

6.30km – BEAR RIGHT to head downhill and onto the paved road. After 50 metres, TURN LEFT to walk along the paved road that heads into Laroles.

6.40km – Having passed the infant school on your right, you are now on the outskirts of Laroles. You can either continue along this paved road to enjoy beautiful views of Laroles from above and also to reach a small shop, or you can bear right following the sign for Centro Poblacion and Ayuntamiento to head towards the church and get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets. After exploring the village, return to the paved road. TURN LEFT to walk along the paved road, heading into the valley and in the direction of Mairena.

7.20km – The paved road crosses the bridge in the valley, and begins climbing out the other side.

7.40km – You have a choice here. You can remain on the paved road all the way to Mairena, or TURN RIGHT onto the rocky path, following the green and white blazes of paint and the signpost for Sendero Don Durón. This footpath climbs uphill to Júbar and is more attractive than the road though may be overgrown in a few places.

7.50km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross over the paved road and resume the footpath on the far side. After 100 metres, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross over the paved road a second time, ignoring the large white arrow which directs you left. At both junctions, you continue along the rocky footpath following the green and white blazes of paint.

7.60km – As the path forks shortly after crossing the paved road a second time, BEAR LEFT to continue heading uphill on the narrow footpath and following the green and white blazes of paint.

7.80km – As the path splits beside a wire fence, you must now stop following the green and white blazes of paint. CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to pass through a green and white cross and ignore the sharp right turn which has green and white markings. After 100 metres, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to walk with the dry-stone wall on your right, ignoring the sharp right turn. This path should be easy enough to follow, though it may be vague and overgrown in places so check the map regularly.

8.20km – As you emerge onto a paved track, TURN LEFT to head uphill, soon passing a large water tank.

8.40km – At the junction with a gravel road, TURN LEFT to walk along the brief cobbled road section. Ignore the red and white wooden post which directs you right. You have now joined the section of a footpath from earlier, and this road will lead you back to Júbar.

9.40km – TURN RIGHT as you emerge back at the church in Júbar. After 100 metres, TURN LEFT to follow the road that returns through the village.

9.60km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON as the road becomes tarmac to return to Mairena, ignoring the steps on your right which lead to the footpath you took earlier.

10.20km – TURN RIGHT at the T-junction to return to Mairena along the paved road.

10.60km – TURN RIGHT at the zebra crossing (black and white road markings) to pass the sign for Mairena. Remain on this road for 300 metres to finish back at the church.


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10.9 km
356 m
355 m


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