They say that Queen Fabiola of Belgium used to visit this place in the Sierra Nevada in the company of King Baldwin, and that one day she said: “If a queen came to wash here, she would gain in nobility.” Hence the “Lavaderos de la Reina”.
The Lavaderos de la Reina is undoubtedly the quintessential route of the snow melt in the Sierra Nevada, Granada. One of the most incredible and spectacular places in the National Park. The ascent to the sources of the Maitena River is a surprising encounter with the splendid geological and fluvial nature of the Nevadas mountains. The springs of the Lavaderos de la Reina originate the first steps of the river in a glacial cirque formed at the foot of the Picón de Jerez, the Puntal de los Cuartos and the Tajos Negros de Covatillas, in the eastern sector of the Sierra Nevada .
The walk takes you through meadows of wild flowers where cows and horses are grazing and the odd mountain goat passes by. The backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the snow caves and the water falls towards the end of the walk really are spectacular.
This is quite a long hike but not a particularly difficult one and if you want to go on the longer walk starting from Guejar Sierra you can see full details by clicking here: Lavaderos de la Reina walking route
We however cheated a little and went with Sergio from Arquenatura who has permission to take a minibus further into the National Park which makes for a shorter walking route of about 2 hours each way. The best time of year for this walk is the end of May or in June when most of the snow has melted, the waterfalls are spectacular and the spring flowers are out.