The GR7 is the footpath through Andalucia, which forms part of the European Route No. 4. The route is made up of itineraries, which are designed to avoid crossing or using tarmac roads or any roads used by traffic, wherever possible. The GR7 starts in Tarifa in on the furthest southwest tip of Spain, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. The route stretches across the provinces of Cádiz, Málaga, Granada, Almería, Córdoba and Jaén, covering approximately 1,250 kilometres of sign-posted footpaths.
GR7 in Almeria
2 Routes: A. Bayarcal - Laroles - B. Bayarcal - Puerto de la Ragua
Route a: Bayarcal - Laroles
The white houses of Bayarcal are perched high up at 1,255 meters in the highest village in the province of Almeria. The GR-7 route descends down past the village water fountain (where women traditionally wash clothes), until it reaches the last apple orchards, which surround the little houses. You keep on snaking your way down on a paved pathway till it crosses with the Rio (River) Bayárcal. It is at this point that you might be surprised at how the landscape changes into lush leafy tees, more reminiscent of the north, than Southern Spain. This is a particularly spectacular area to visit in autumn, when the leaves of the poplar and chestnut trees blaze in all their glory and contrast against the backdrop of the snow on top the Sierra Nevada. From here, the track goes up an in amongst the trees and then through some deep valleys where a water source known as "Balsilla de Rey" begins. Continue along a path between oak, pines trees and terraced land, which leads to a gully, known as "El Barranco de los Términos". This is the point where the route crosses from the Almeria to the Granada Province. Carry on along the track between orchards and almond trees, until you reach the Granada village of Laroles.
Bayarcal - Venta de los Arrieros - Puerto de la Ragua
Approximately 169 kilometers.
Going out of Bayarcal and along the road towards Puerto de la Ragua, the route takes a left at a crossroads. The road snakes back and forth and giving you the option to shortcut through it at various points. On one of the bends to the right (next to a chestnut tree) another track starts up and that is the one which continues on the GR-7 route. This track disappears at the point where there is some terraced land and a few little houses. The route then carries on towards the valley of the river "Anchuelo". Crossing the river carry on, zigzagging up the hill and then through some valleys. This brings you into a flat clearing with yellow viburnum bushes. Between broom and young Holm oak trees, the route goes left where at a crossroads in the track and carries on through a forest of the only autochthonous Holm oak trees known to exist in this area. Takr a right at the next crossroads and once again the route goes through deep valley country. Later, after passing by some more terraced land and a rocky area, you come across an ancient oak tree. Down in the gully below, the river water flows over a rocky riverbed. The path continues upwards until you finally arrive at a point worth stopping to take in the breathtaking view of this amazing ravine. Then the route runs beneath the main road, amongst hawthorn, holly oaks and wild rose bushes until you come to a small source of a stream.
This is the point at which the route leaves the pathway and you continue along the tarmac road, passing several deep valleys, whose rivers are usually in full flow in the winter months. Keep going until you reach the Venta (Inn) Los Arrieros. This old Inn used to be the resting place for the farmers and merchants who brought their products by mule up from the coast. They used to rest here before continuing over the La Ragua mountain pass, which was quite a challenge, especially in the winter snow. The route passes by the left of the Inn and then follows on up the river. About half way up the hillside, you can see what's left of the old route, which has unfortunately been lost at various points by the construction of the new road. Carry on until you come to a new pine grove and further on a poplar grove, which joins up with a stream. Then you pass by some old cultivated terraced land and then the landscape alters to become very alpine. The river runs down into pastures where cows usually craze. Finally, going through another pine grove and reach the playing fields of Puerto de la Ragua, from which point you carry on the route in the Granada Province, towards the village of Ferreira.