The Sierra de María-Los Vélez natural park is just across the border between the province of Granada and Almeria. The park covers just over 220km2 so not large but still plenty to explore.
This natural park just across the eastern edge of the Granada border is always a safe bet for a day out overlanding, the tracks can be challenging in places but in general it’s a great area simply to drive through, explore and stop off to cook breakfast, enjoy the climate and natural surroundings.
One thing we love about this place is that it’s quiet, there are recreation areas that never appear to be busy but climb the tracks in the mountains and you are pretty much on your own right in the middle of nature.
On the west side of the park trails are clearly sign posted, even the hiking trails at altitude [3200ft approx] are clear, drive through and the scenery changes regularly, one minute you are in woodland, the next in olive groves.
One thing that is made abundantly clear is that there is no camping of any description at Sierra de María-Los Vélez so if you are looking to spend the night then it might be better to look elswhere or check out the campsite near the town of Maria on the edge of the park which is a decent overnight stop and well located.
Choices of tracks are numerous with plently of smaller dusty off-roads, keep travelling through the park and you can make your way to Valdeinfierno dam and double back down the other side of the park making it a worthwhile day trip if you take your time.
Finding water always keeps the kids happy and there is a river that runs through the park, dry in places but sometimes if you get lucky after some rain you can discover this waterfall. We wouldn’t be getting in as it’s too muddy but the rocks around the water are unusual, good for photography and you can also creep your 4×4 closer to the edge to keep off the dirt track.
All in all, we’d say that the park is well worth a visit, it’s geographic location also means that that you can drive through it as part of a longer overlanding journey, avoiding the main roads and doing what it’s all about. It is your typical Andalucian natural park and there are places to visit if you have a closer look at Google maps including the botanical gardens [well worth it] and several ‘miradores’.