This is one of the most spectacular hikes on the north side of the Sierra Nevada. The Camino de Estrella is well know for its stunning view of the Mount Mulhacen. People start from the bottom and walk the Vereda de la Estrella all the way up until the top. Back in the days this track was used for transporting ice from the mountains to the city. Also there used to be mines and people would take cows, sheep and goats for grazing up there in the summer. Nowadays on certain days quite a few people go up the first quarter of the camino to see the big mountains. Going up until the end where the path is getting difficult it takes almost 4-5 hours. Not many people go that far up and turn around halfway.
This hike is actually only following that camino for 1-2 hours and then heads up the northern side up until the Refugio de Pena Partida. Not too many people go this variation because there is basically only one other way to come back to the original starting point. That is walking all the way almost to the end of Guajar Sierra to walk up again to the starting point where the road ends. By the way there used to be also a train going up there i was told. Well there is not much to see of that but the old building at the end suggests beeing a train station. So not many people would go on that hike because its at least > 30 KM
Two things are to mention:
1) The Sauna
When leaving the Camino de Estrellas to go up to the Refugio del la Cucaracha you have to walk to a pine forest. The Ascend is > 400m i think and in summer it can get really hot. Also there will be no breeze in that patch of forest so with 40 Degrees and sun its is like a sauna of 60-70. Take water and take your time
2) Descending back to the bottom of the Valley del Rio Genil from the Loma de Papeles.
There is no public track going down. You have to pass through private property. So prepared for fences and dogs. Its doable pretend you are lost if somebody starts to make troubles.