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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Points of Interest
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 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 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.
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.