La Alpujarra Granadina

Descending the some of the most powerful canyons of southern Spain…

David Domingo
Spain Trip Report
March 2015

For several years, our friends from southern Spain had invited us to descend some of the most powerful canyons of that area, the Poqueira and Trevélez, but for various reasons we never found the time to buy a flight and get away. As some of the canyons can only be descend in summer (and not all years are possible), this trip always match us with other projects, but this summer we have organized an express journey and we have managed to descend these two great canyons of the Sierra Nevada and combine with Tajo de Cortés, a very short gorge but very interesting.

This time we were invited by David Prieto, from Grupo de Montaña de Málaga, and also very kindly received by Manuel Lara, from the Caverland brand, who we collaborate with. Here you we have a picture enjoying the Trevélez canyon.


Team: Arantzazu Aguilar, David Domingo, David Prieto, Manuel Lara and a group of 20 people from Malaga Mountain Group, Barranqueros Without Borders and others.

Photos: Arantzazu Aguilar, David Domingo (Canyoning in Las Alpujarras)

Video: Arantzazu Aguilar, David Domingo


La Alpujarra

La Alpujarra is a region that extends on the south side of Sierra Nevada along two provinces: Granada and Almeria. Although there are gorges in the two provinces, we have visited La Alpujarra Granada who concentrates the most famous ones, including Poqueira and Trevélez, the main goals of this trip.

These two canyons were formed by erosion of the two rivers that collect large amounts of water from Sierra Nevada massif, especially with the snow fall in winter. That’s why we can only take place in summer-autumn and normalization of flow depends largely on the amount of snow and other factors. This year, these canyons have already been able to descend since June, so in August there were quite low water levels (for what these canyons usually have). This caused us to enjoy them a bit less, because we had higher expectations.

Anyway, we know that these canyons get very interesting and they are very laborious and dangerous at the same time, something we’ve been reading repeatedly and shown very well in this chronicle of 2012 (in Spanish), which involved Joaquín Pérez (knet), our friend and reference to the canyons of the south.

The whole area is very nice not only for the canyons but also to visit with family and non-canyoning friends. In addition, Málaga and Granada are close to stroll. One of the most beautiful mountainous areas of Andalusia in our opinion.



We combined cars for the approach and was very comfortable, though quite long because the track to reach the center of the Duke is good but long. Upon reaching the runway and found that it hadn’t a lot of water, so we were not going to enjoy ideal conditions.

But before getting to this point, we walked a lot. We found it a very discontinuous gully, many stretches of walking and sports downclimbing and few continuous areas. Still, we were imagining how would those corridors and rappels with abudante water and as they should be drawn. We saw very dilapidated anchors, new ones out of the water, fixed handrails and others that will be broken by the floods.

The ravine is becoming longer and a little bland but we find more aesthetic and gorges areas. Continuously falling water jets and springs canyon with entertaining. Because to get together several teams and guests, the landing party was very large (about 20), so sometimes eternalized spanning a point or abseiling.

Some of the most aesthetic rappels, almost always out of the water because it is equipped for carrying a lot of water normally.


Tajo de Cortés / Bermejo

After Poqueira five canyoners left to go to Tajo de Cortés, up the road and more and more through beautiful villages of La Alpujarra.

Although some of us we already had done it, we decide to repeat because it’s located in a very nice place and the descent is very intense and well trained. It was getting dark and we finish it in less than one hour from car to car, because it is very short, but its aesthetics and sportiness is inversely proportional to its length.

His final rappel overlooks the playground and at that time we were alone, the whole area and views were for us.


This canyon is the largest river in the area. We found it with “low” water level to be the Trevélez, which means that it was still lot of water but it gave no problems anywhere. Therefore, very enjoyable for the first time. We had heard and seen many things about this canyon, and expectations were finally covered itself.

What amazes of this ravine is the color of water, orange-red by sediment that drags the type of rock torn ferrous canyon. It is not a water flood, it is a permanent color. It brings some unique aesthetic but also hinders the progression as you don’t see what is under the water.


Descending the ravine at noon, the sun comes fully upright and intense colors around the ravine form a great play of light and spectacular scenery. Good pictures come easily and it is a wonder to behold the beauty of the land and formations.

What we also see is the large flow that it should have some months because there are razed anchors, high handrail and some abseiling that take you to small kettles, washing machines and heavy cons (when there is white water). We will have to be very careful when performed with high flow.


But at that time, we didn’t care about this, but to contemplate the gorges, polished in narrow areas and rock formations. A great atmosphere. And a good impression we left to catch the plane back to our home in Barcelona in a few hours.