The classic route of Valencian hiking – ascent to Pico Espadán. We will start from Alcudia de Veo, hike all the way up to Gurugú peak and continue along the ridge, passing by civil war trenches, until we reach the main peak.
Distance: 10km with 750m of elevation gain (4.5 hours)
Level: high (steep ascent to the peak, technical trails along the ridge)
Bring at least 1.5l of water, picnic lunch, sunscreen and hiking shoes.
Recommended time of year: from October to May to avoid heat.
The Natural Park
Sierra de Espadán natural park is located in one of the most mountainous provinces of Spain – the province of Castellón.
It is one of the largest forests in the Valencian Community, located very close to the Mediterranean Sea. A wide variety of native flora and fauna inhabit this ecosystem. Its cork oaks, also called by the locals “Sureres“, are the ones that give the most fame to this natural area. Its forests are flown over by a large community of various species of eagles, and its most prominent inhabitants are foxes, genets, wild boars and badgers.
With 31,182 hectares and 60 kilometers in length, its landscape is abrupt and steep in its highest parts: Pico Espadán (1,099 meters), Pico Pinar (1,101 meters) and Pico Rapita (1,106 meters).
The view from the top is spectacular: Alto Palancia, Alto Mijares, L’Alcalatén
and Penyagolosa standing out on the horizon, La Plana Alta and almost all of Plana Baixa. From here we can get an idea of the dimensions of the Serra d’Espadà Natural Park. The peak of La Rápita to the northwest marks the highest point, at the opposite part to the southeast Peña del Pastor perches on the road from Aín to Almedijar.
The trails leading up to the peak from Alcudia de Veo are very diverse, but also very demanding. After the first few kilometers from the start, the path starts to up rapidly, passing 30% gradients at times. Once at the top of Gurugú (also known as Peña del Pastor), we will have gained the majority of elevation, but from that point the trail gets technical. This means some narrow passages (with the help of chains), uneven footing and hiking on diverse rock formations. Once we get to pico Espadán, the descent is done mostly on easier terrain, with milder gradients and paths meandering between cork oaks.