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Fitness
Hiking trail

Siete Lagunas Loop Walk (Alternative Option)

Hiking trail · Trevélez
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Starkly-Beautiful Mountain Slopes
    / Starkly-Beautiful Mountain Slopes
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Laguna Hondera from a Rocky Outcrop
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Beautiful Views from Footpath
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Descending to Trevélez
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Bridge over an Acequia (irrigation channel)
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / La Campiñuela Mountain Refuge
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Stream Draining from the Siete Lagunas
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Shore of Laguna Hondera
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
m 3000 2500 2000 1500 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km Laguna Hondera

Expect to be challenged and rewarded in equal measure today. This walk is only recommended for experienced walkers as there are nearly 1,400 metres of ascent to reach the stunning Siete Lagunas – Seven Lakes.

difficult
16.8 km
7:00 h
1388 m
1384 m

This challenging walk climbs much higher into the mountains than you’ve been so far, as you ascend towards the Siete Lagunas valley. Shortly after leaving Trevelez you will pop above the tree-line which ensures unobstructed views, both to the craggy and formidable peaks above and to the luscious and verdant valley below.

The final section is the steepest. By now, small streams drain from the lakes and tumble beside the path, reminding you you’re close and guiding you towards them. Finish with a scree slope scramble to reach Laguna Hondera, the largest and most accessible of the seven glacial lakes (the others are deeper and higher in the valley). A horseshoe of mountains surrounds you with Mulhacén, mainland Spain’s highest mountain, at its head.

**PLEASE NOTE** this is a serious hike and previous mountain experience is strongly advisable. Please check the weather forecast before leaving; unfortunately we cannot recommend this trip if storm, heavy rain or low visibility is expected. In such circumstances, seize the opportunity to explore the beautiful village of Trevelez!

Author’s recommendation

I struggle to think of a more idyllic or tranquil picnic spot than beside the shores of Laguna Hondera. Bring some supplies, scramble atop a flat rock, and bask in the glorious mountain scenery.

outdooractive.com User
Author
Josiah Skeats
Updated: March 05, 2020

Difficulty
difficult
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
2891 m
Lowest point
1537 m

Safety information

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

Much of the paths are around rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.

There may be cows grazing in the mountains. They are generally very docile but take care not to startle them, and to pass around them with a wide berth.

This route is above 2,900 metres so bear in mind you may feel a shortness of breath and additional muscle fatigue associated with the altitude.

Check the weather forecast before leaving; unfortunately, we cannot recommend this trip if storm, heavy rain or low visibility is expected.

Equipment

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

Mulhacén

From any of the lakes that form the Siete Lagunas, you can crane your neck up to admire mainland Spain’s highest mountain, El Mulhacén, 3,482 metres above sea level. It is named after Mulay Halcén, the penultimate King of Granada, who was supposedly buried here in the 15th century.

 

Treveléz

Treveléz means ‘three districts’ which refers to the three distinct areas of the village; the alto, the medio and the bajo (meaning high, middle and low). The village is the highest in Spain at 1,500 metres above sea level. It is this high altitude that produces the delicious Jamon serrano (Sierra Nevada mountain ham). Around Treveléz you’ll find legs of pork hanging in bars, shops and restaurants, slowly being cured by the crisp mountain air. Be sure to try some!

 

Siete Lagunas

Siete Lagunas refers to both the seven lakes and the valley which contains them. The valley and the lakes are glacial formations. This dry landscape is rocky and desolate but each lake is surrounded by a grassy meadow and brings a flourish of colour, making it one of the most popular hikes from Treveléz.

 

La Campiñuela

You’ll pass beside this squat, stone hut which is kept unlocked to be used as a mountain refuge in poor weather conditions. You will see it has an era (threshing floor) and corrales (animal pens), which recognises its previous agricultural function.

 

Food and Drink

After leaving Trevelez there is no opportunity to buy food or drink, so be sure to bring enough provisions with you.

Start

Plaza Barrio Medio, Trevelez (1534 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
37.002389, -3.267841
UTM
30S 476169 4095170

Destination

Plaza Barrio Medio, Trevelez

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – Start in Plaza Barrio Medio. Head uphill along the cobbled slope. After 10 metres, BEAR RIGHT to pass the ‘Sendero Local’ information board and follow the sign to Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) and Polideportivo (Sports Centre).

0.10km – As the road splits near a yellow post box, TURN LEFT sharply to head uphill, following the sign to Sieta Lagunas y Mulhacén. As the road forks twice, BEAR RIGHT then BEAR RIGHT to continue heading uphill and arrive at a water fountain.

0.15km – From the water fountain, BEAR RIGHT to pass it on your left, and continue heading uphill.

0.20km – TURN LEFT onto the uphill track, following the sign for Sieta Lagunas y Mulhacén. At the crossroads after 50 metres, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON. Remain on this road for 1.9 kilometres, ignoring all side paths. The yellow and white marking will guide you.

2.30km – Shortly after passing between two stone buildings, TURN LEFT following the sign for Siete Lagunas, ignoring the path which continues ahead.

2.50km – BEAR LEFT as the path forks to continue heading uphill. The path is well-established and marked with yellow and white markings, and cairns (piles of rocks) to guide you.

3.50km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON through the gate; please close it behind you. After 200 metres this path crosses over a narrow stream on a wooden bridge.

5.40km – Shortly after a sign pointing back to Trevelez, several paths split away; CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON following the yellow and white blazes of paint. Just over the brow of the hill, you will reach the mountain refuge of La Campinuela. CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON passing the refuge on your left and walking along the meandering gravel path.

5.50km – The path disappears for a short section as you cross over a few small streams, but after 20 metres you will pick up the gravel path again.

7.10km – Having walked with the cascading river on your right for around 200 metres, TURN RIGHT, using stepping stones to cross the stream and find a footpath on the far side. There are yellow and white markings to guide you at the crossing. This path will then keep close to the stream on your left, and climb steeply towards the rocky saddle.

8.20km – The path becomes rocky and very steep as it climbs towards the saddle beside the cascading waterfalls on your left. Some of the paths are on loose scree, so walk carefully. The path can be difficult to follow; pay attention to the regular cairns and check the map regularly to ensure you remain on the path.

8.50km – As you reach the top of the scree slope and emerge onto a flat, grassy area, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON. After 50 metres you will reach Laguna Hondera. From here you can return to Trevelez by the same route, but be sure to take some time to rest and explore first! A short climb up the nearby rocky outcrop provides a fantastic view to the lake from above.

8.70km – As you descend the steep scree and rock section you will see a second path that you perhaps couldn’t see before. Remember to BEAR RIGHT to continue descending with the stream on your right.

11.60km – From the refuge CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON heading downhill and into the pine forest.

14.80km – After passing through a gap in the barbed wire fence, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON, ignoring the right turn. At the T-junction after 100 metres, TURN RIGHT to return to Trevelez.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
16.8 km
Duration
7:00h
Ascent
1388 m
Descent
1384 m

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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