12th of October
Time to get some of the most impressive views that Sierra Espadán offers. This time we are going to link two peaks: Puntal de l’Aljub and Pico Bellota, in the municipalities of Chóvar and Eslida.
Difficulty: medium/high (12km with 600m of elevation gain).
Technical level: medium (steep ascent, some rocky paths).
Bring at least 1l of water, lunch, warm clothes and hiking shoes.
This is one of the routes that have been rehabilitated in order to promote inland and environmental tourism in Castellón. Coinciding (partly) with PR-CV-352, the itinerary begins at the exit of the town, along the Chóvar road. It is the old road from Eslida to Chóvar that goes up towards the mountain pass. The landscape found here is typical of Sierra Espadán, with a predominance of cork oaks, some black pines and riverside vegetation in the ravine area. The marked path goes along the ravine of l’Oret, which is normally dry, but covered by lush vegetation. But we will take a steeper trail and get up to Puntal de l´Aljub – one of the highest points in the area and with the best views of the sea. This way we will also avoid the ascent on the paved road. From here we will continue along the ridge until we get to the Bellota (Acorn) peak.
As mentioned before, we will need to walk along the ridge to link the two highest points of this hike: Puntal de l’Aljub and Pico Bellota. There are no really steep drops on either side, but there are some rocky paths with uneven footing, that require careful walking. As you can imagine, walking along the ridge will give us the opportunity to have the views of the Mediterranean sea and the plains on one side, and the entirety of Sierra Espadán on the other. Pico Espadán is the one that stands out the most among them, although the ones in close proximity (such as Batalla and Carrascal) should be mentioned too. Apart from that we will have good views of the valley, with Chóvar on one side, and Eslida, our starting point on the other.
The town of Eslida (Arab origins) is made up of narrow and very steep streets that adapt to the orography of the terrain and lead the visitor to the ruins of the old castle and its keep, one of the few castles with a triangular plan that exist in the Valencian Community. On the outskirts of the municipality, you can also visit L’Arc de la Rambla, an aqueduct over the Anna river, and the Molí d’Aire, remains of an old grain mill. Also noteworthy are Els Corrals, used to keep livestock and built in dry stone. Their crops produce a high quality almond and an exquisite oil, highly appreciated for raw consumption. Let’s not forget the honey that has been produced in the town for centuries. As for gastronomy, typical dishes are the “olla de poble”, the “olla de col” and the “olla de cards y bledes”. In the confectionery, the heavenly coca, “les orelletes” and the fig fritters stand out. If we enter the natural environment of Eslida located in the heart of the Sierra de Espadán, it will offer us its lush forests of cork oaks and pine forests, covering mountains that almost the thousand meter altitude mark.