The “vereda de la estrella” is an old path that was built in 1890 to exploit the existing mines in this part of the Sierra Nevada. Did you know that for a good part of the 20th century a tramway even reached the San Juan canyon? This narrow-gauge railway line was known as the “Tranvía de la Sierra”. Today there are no longer any platforms or guard rails, but the track in the relief of the passage of the locomotives has been preserved.

Once this commercial function was dismantled from the route, the hikers recovered it as one of the most beautiful entrances to the sierra that can exist in all this mountain. And it is not for less, since in its route the hiker can observe with incredible admiration the imposing and majestic crests of the Mulhacén, Alcazaba and Veleta peaks. In these lines we invite you to discover more about this “pretty girl” of Sierra Nevada.

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The environment of the star’s path: Sierra Nevada

The vereda de la estrella is located in the middle of the Sierra Nevada de Granada. Specifically, the path is located at the head of the valley of the river Genil, in the San Juan ravine. This access to the mountain was traditionally used as the natural entrance to the mountain from Granada. The people of Granada followed the river to its source and thus gradually entered the mountains.

This privileged mid-altitude location in the imposing Sierra Nevada means that the path of the star preserves some fascinating natural ecosystems. A flora and fauna that deserves to be preserved in order to continue enjoying it for a long time.

Güejar Sierra

This is our reference village to reach the beginning of the path. It is a typical white village of the Andalusian mountain range, located at a little more than 1,000 meters of altitude. The village enjoys spectacular views of the Mulhacén (3,482m), the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula.

Güejar Sierra

“Vereda de la estrella” Route

The route can be done in a circular or linear fashion. It is approximately 20 kilometres long. You should be noted at the outset that the circular route is much harder to return to the starting point than the linear one. At present, due to the deterioration of the signposting on the return journey of the circular route, we recommend that you only take this route if you are perfectly aware of where you need to go. If you do not know the mountain range, the best alternative is to take the linear route.

Linear route

We begin the route by crossing the bridge over the Genil River and starting a left hand climb that leads us to the path high above the valley. In this part there is a leafy vegetation of Atlantic transition, with species such as gall oak, chestnut, oak, ash… In fact, the first highlight of the route is found in “el abuelo”. The grandfather is a hundred-year-old chestnut tree, affectionately nicknamed by the hikers.

El abuelo de la Vereda de la Estrella

After walking for about an hour, we reach the confluence with the Vadillo River, where we can take a left and a right option. For the linear route we take the option of the right. Little by little, the imposing Alcazaba and Mulhacén peaks will be outlined before us, in a landscape that at this point is called “Viso de las Nortes”. We will continue walking until we cross the bridge over the Guarnón River to enter the “Camino del Real”. After arriving at the Mine of Justice our journey will have come to an end and we will start our way back.

In this link you can find a map and topographic profile of the route.

Circular route

We start the route as in the linear route, unlike when we reach the confluence of the Vadillo River, we take the detour on the left. The indications for this path are to reach the Peña Partida refuge. This path goes down to the height of the river Genil and then up the “Cuesta de los convictarios”. After completing the ascent of the hard slope of the prisoners, follow the signs to the refuge of the cockroach.

After passing it, the majestic north faces of the Alcazaba, Mulhacén and Veleta peaks will rise up before us. Our next point is the “Refugio del Aceral” and the subsequent crossing of the Aceral ravine. We will then reach the area around Barranco de Lucía as far as the river Real, at a point known as “Majada del Palo”. Finally, we will head towards the Mina de la Justicia and the Guarnón ravine, returning along the linear route explained above.

Puente sobre el Guarnón en la vereda de la Estrella

How to get to the starting point?

As we have mentioned before, the route of the path of the star begins from the Barranco de San Juan (Güejar sierra). Once you have reached the centre of Güejar by road, you must follow the signs from there to get to the ravine, you can’t miss it. The only problem is the narrowness of the road. Once you have passed the Casa Chiquito restaurant, the road becomes narrower and in some places there are small rock slides. Keep in mind that we are entering the gap in the ravine, so watch out for cars. The road ends at the Barranco de San Juan restaurant, so we recommend parking earlier if you find space.

What physical preparation do I need?

The vereda de la estrella is a mid-mountain route, suitable for practically everyone. However, if you are not used to doing routes with a lot of slopes, you may get a little tired. The total length of the route is 20 kilometres, so we think it is perfectly feasible to do it throughout the day, stopping to rest as often as necessary.

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the wonderful natural environment that lies behind this route, but you don’t feel ready to walk that far, you can opt for a small linear section of the route. Choose a point to walk to and then turn around.

What is the best time of year to go?

The vereda de la estrella is a route that can be done all year round. However, it is true that during the equinoxes, spring and autumn, it is perhaps its most beautiful time. In spring the landscape is idyllic, due to the flowering and the fact that the mountain range still preserves its white mantle of snow. On the contrary, in autumn the landscape also has its point thanks to the play of colours of the vegetation that is produced as a result of the fall of the leaves. Moreover, you can see how the sierra starts to cover itself with its fine blanket of snow.

Otoño en Sierra Nevada

If you go on the route in summer, remember to bring a good quantity of water. You are in Granada and the summers are very hot. Remember that the path is a mid-mountain route, so the altitude will not spare you from the high temperatures.

Finally, if you want to do the route in winter, you should consider checking the state of the trail. Although it is a trail that can be walked during the winter season, it is true that you have to be very careful. With the winter rains, it is common to see landslides on some sections of the trail. Also, depending on the amount of snow and especially ice, it may be necessary to use ice axes and crampons.

Tips before doing the vereda de la estrella

As always, good hydration is key. Also the clothes have to be in accordance with the sport practice and with the season of the year in which we realize the route. Remember that some trekking poles can become your great ally when starting to climb, such as the slope of the prisoners. If you are going to do the route in winter, bear in mind to take the necessary equipment, as we have commented before.

Once the route is finished, if you still have enough strength, we recommend you go down to Güejar sierra for a walk. Güejar sierra is one of the most charming villages on this side of the mountains, with nothing to envy from the famous white villages of the Alpujarra such as Pampaneira or Capileira, so you know, take advantage! At the La Hacilla inn, you can enjoy some delicious game from the mountains, or the traditional Güejareño dish. As a tip, we end up making your mouth water: the black pudding from Güejar is exquisite.

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