Here’s the list of Top-5 discoveries of 2021. These are the most impressive hikes I have found this year. Notice that most of them are located at the edge or beyond Valencian Community. The list of Top-5 hikes in Valencia is coming shortly.
1. The Penyagolosa Canyons
This is actually the best hike in Valencian Community of all times! Rather long loop, 25 kilometres, the trail starts from Villahermosa del Río and gets you to the peak of the queen of Valencian mountains – Penyagolosa. The route is exceptionally scenic and includes everything you can ask from a hiking trail – picturesque valleys in the beginning, a challenging ascent and stunning views from the peak, woody and more protected areas, finishing with beautiful canyons and the most impressive waterfall in Valencian Community – Cascada del río Carbo.
The route can also be shortened a bit if you skip the ascent to Penyagolosa and opt for walking along the base of it.
2. Senda Fluvial de Aliaga
The trail that starts as an easy walk along the river will surprise you with the immensity of the canyon in the second half. Located in Aliaga, in the heart of geological park, the route takes you from grassy path in the village into an immense rock formation. The first 6 kilometres are essentially a gentle stroll along the Guadalope river, eventually leading you to the ALdehuela reservoir and an abandoned hydro-electric power plant. Here it is where things start getting more interesting. All of a sudden, a huge canyon opens up and the trail takes you right through it. The landscape definitely reminds of bigger mountain ranges in Spain, such as Pyrenees and so does the village itself. In summer you can even stop for a refreshing dip in the river.
More about the route in our blog – Geological Weekend in Aliaga – Valencia Mountain Enthusiasts
3. Olba – Fuentes de Rubielos
We are still in the Gúdar-Javalambre region of Teruel province, although really close to the border this time and only a few kilometres from Montanejos. A small village of Olba, together with it’s neighbor, Fuentes de Rubielos present us a scenic and diverse hike. Starting with an easy descent towards Mijares river, the trail then takes a turn and leads you up, while keeping Olba still at sight behind you. Later on you can make a detour to a mysterious cave – Cueva de Covarcho, with several narrow tunnels and ample chambers inside. After passing through the pretty village of Fuentes de Rubielos you’ll get amazing views of the canyon towards the end of the hike.
4. Callejuelas de Talayuelas
A very curious find, right beyond the Valencian border, going into Cuenca province, trapped between Valencia and Rincón de Ademuz. Callejuelas de Talayuelas are massive rock formations, hiding between pine trees in the hilltops around Talayuelas. An analogy with Ciudad Encantada can easily be made, and the place is just as impressive, and it also has the advantage of being relatively unknown and staying empty even at weekends. The most impressive rock formation can be found at the top. Here it looks like a face of a giant has been trapped in stone forever.
You can also include Pico Ranera located nearby, if you are looking for longer hikes.
5. Forcall – Morella
A stunning hike, deep in the Castellón province. The trail takes you from a small town of Forcall, to one of the emblems of Valencian cultural heritage – Morella. The path can clearly be divided into two parts: the first one goes along a rocky trail on the side of a mountain, while the second part is more open and gives you great views of Morella as you get closer and closer. It can also be done as a loop coming back to Forcall.
More about the trail in our blog (day 3): Easter Trip to els Ports – Valencia Mountain Enthusiasts
Photos: Catherine Salsbury & Dmitry Blatov