Maús Castle

Maús Castle is located in the Sierra Espadán and has commanding views across the area. The trip involved a hike through a magical forest before an ascent to the castle in the hopes of finding a mouse.

The hike began in the village of Sueras. Fuelled by Allen’s Christmas chocolates (thanks Allen), we started uphill through the village along a gravel road and on to the trail. The path soon ventured into forest, however it wasn’t long before we came to a clearing where we got our first view of the Maús Castle.

The path goes along the side of a hill so it was mostly single track and quite rocky. There were many beautiful examples of cork trees which the Sierra Espadán is famous for. As well as the standing cork trees, there were a few fallen trees that needed climbing over or under. Although the vegetation was quite thick, there were occasional clearings so we could see the castle from different angles.

As we got deeper into the forest, it soon became a wonderland of green. Ivy covered the trees and the dense foliage gave it the appearance of a mythical, fairy tale world.

When we exited the forest, we crossed the road and used stones to cross a small stream. Although the day was reasonably warm (for December) there was some frost (not snow) on the grass nearby. Crossing the stream, lead us to a wider path and finally, Font de Castro. As well as a font, there is also a recreation area next to the river where we stopped for snacks and a group photo.

To get to the Castle we took an uphill route from the font which came out at the top of the ridge. The ridge was easy to walk along though, the path through the trees was much wider than the path up.

The Maús Castle was built in the 12th century by the Moors. It is at the peak of Suera Alta hill at an altitude of 582m. It is easy to see why the Moors chose to build the castle here. The views across the area are spectacular and it would have been easy to see threats to the four farmsteads which the castle protected.

Although the castle is ruins now, it is still impressive against the backdrop of the Sierra Espadan. There were lots of fun photo opportunities and parts of the ruins to climb on. We enjoyed lunch with the beautiful views all the way to the coast.

Nowadays, the castle is called Sueras Castle after the nearby village. However, the Islamic name of the castle is Maús. Maús kind of looks similar to the word mouse, so I was hoping to see the Emperor Mouse. With a bit of creativity and environmental art, this wish came true. The Castle of Maús became the Castle of Mouse and we didn’t even need to go to Disneyland!

The route down from the castle was a lot wider and not as steep. We found a cute shelter in between the trees. Some of the group decided to run it whereas others enjoyed a much more serene walk down. From the bottom of the hill it was a short stroll back to Sueras where even Eric got a beer.

Thank you to Allen Deuel for his additional photos.

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