Time: Approx. 2 hours
About the walk
We went on this short but spectacular walk on a really hot day in July. It was in the 40s down on the coast and in the cities and in the 30s in the Alpujarran villages. We decided to drive up the mountain road that goes up past Capileira village to the Hoya del Portillo rest area to do a short walk higher up the mountain in the Sierra Nevada National Park where it would be cooler. And we weren’t disappointed – at nearly 2,400 m above sea level there was a lovely refreshing breeze and the temperature, while in the high 20s, was a relief compared to the scorching 40 degrees in Granada. There were even patches of snow still visible on the peaks.
Part 1: Drive up the carretera de Capileira, right up through Capileira, following the winding mountain road (the GR411) that continues from the north. When you come to a fork in the road you should bear right toward the Hoya del Portillo rest area.
The route eventually turns into an unpaved road that gradually winds its way up through scrubby terrain. Here you will be able to smell the wild thyme in the air and see some crystal clear mountain streams tumbling through the grass. The road may get bumpy in places but persevere and just keep slowly following the road through the pine forests.
Part 2: Eventually you get to the Hoya del Portillo rest area, where there is parking and a picnic area.
You won’t be able to drive any further as the road is blocked to unauthorized vehicles. You will see a sign for the Mirador Puerto Molina and the Refugio del Poquiera.
We only walked to the vista point, which was approximately 1.8km. The refuge is 8.5km away. Here you walk up through fragrant pine forest. Eventually, you reach the end of the forest and the terrain becomes dry, dusty and rocky and you really feel like you are in the mountains.
Part 3: You come to a signpost for the Mirador 250m, follow it to the right. As you walk, the spectacular peaks of Veleta, to your left, and Mulhacén, straight ahead, become visible. There is a small refuge at the viewing point where you can sit and relax and take in the views.
Part 4: As we weren’t going all the way to the refuge we followed the same route to get back to the car. Nice and easy for a hot day, or if you start your walk late.
All words and pictures (c) Kerry Boettcher 2015