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Montcabrer

Ermita de Sant Crist˛for - Fuente de Huit Piletes - Fuente de la Esquerola - Fuente del Sanxo - Mas de Llopis - Fuente del Pouet - Montcabrer - Penyes Monteses - Coll de Sabata - Talecˇ de D'Alt - Castell - Ermita de Sant Crist˛for

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How to get there: Turn from the N-340 to Cocentaina. The road to Sant Crist˛for starts from the northern side of Cocentaina. A prominent landmark is the square castle on top of a 800 meters high rock. Drive on the main road that crosses Cocentaina to the northernmost roundabout where you see the signs for "Sant Crist˛for" and "Castell". Drive the narrow asphalt road uphill some 2 km to Sant Crist˛for. (Roadmap of Comtat)

Distance: 5h/16.5km

Start the walk from the parking place of Sant Crist˛for (550m) by taking the asphalt road that descends to the north. Opposite to it you see a concrete road signposted to Castell. This uphill road will take you back to Sant Crist˛for.

Almost immediately the road starts to climb. Ignore all side roads and tracks until you meet an ascending path bordered by wooden railings on your left (10 min) (610 m). Along this path you'll find picnicking spots with tables and fountains. The first one is in the shade of a reddish rock wall, and the second above the lush gorge of Fontanelles.

Beyond these picnicking spots you encounter a lookout (25 min) (750 m) encompassing a number of highlands and peaks including Alt de Morral, Benicadell (1104 m), Pla de Balsella, Alt de la Creu (814), Safor (1013 m), Penyal Gros (862), Alt de la Caseta (1013 m) and Pla de la Casa (1378 m). In the foreground lies a valley protected by the mountain ranges of Mariola and Benicadell. You can discern the villages as white spots and rivers as blue serpents meeting in the reservoir of Embalse de BeniarrÚs.

Continue the path ignoring any side trails until a path with wooden railings forks to the left. Climb up a few paces to find the fountain of Huit Piletes (30 min) (770 m). At Huit Piletes, do not turn right, but go straight ahed to the path with wooden railings and a white-yellow waymark.

Soon after the fountain of Huit Piletes, you come to a fork (33 min) (810 m). Take the path on your right, pointing to Esquerola, Sanxo and Montcabrer. When the path forks again (34 min), keep right, following the signposting to Montcabrer. (If you wish to return to Sant Cristofor, turn left to "PRV 37II". It takes an hour to Refugi les Foietes and another hour to Sant Cristofor).

When you reach the Esquerola fountain (45 min) (910 m) take a break before starting the ascent to Sanxo. You have a steep climb up in the middle of big boulders. This rocky stretch lasts only a couple of minutes, and just before Sanxo you can rest on stone seats under tall shady trees.

Soon after Sanxo (1h05min) (1105 m), the path forks by an electricity pole (1h10min) (1145 m). Continue downhill to the right, following the yellow-white waymark. Almost immediately, you can see the ruins of "Mas de Llopis", resting on a grassy hillock studded with trees and flowers. At Mas de Llopis (1h15min) (1125 m), a trail joins in from right behind. Ignore it and bend left passing the ruins on your right.

The path leads up nortwest. When you come to a fork (1h26min) (1190 m) bear left uphill. Keep left all the way to the fountain of Pouet (1h42min) (1290 m).

From the fountain, continue straight on until you reach the plateua, don't turn right. At the plateau, keep right uphill until you reach the summit of Montcabrer (2h) (1390 m). The plateau formed by the lower flanks of Montcabrer and Penyes Monteses is a pleasant sight, but the summit affords also a splendid panorama to the surrounding valleys and peaks.Looking east, you will enjoy views of the mountain ranges of Almudaina, Serella and Aitana. Looking north you can see the mountain range of Benicadell, the Albaida river valley, and Serra Grossa. In the west, you overlook a gentle landscape with slight slopes. In the south you can look out past Alcoi as far as the Menajador topping the forest of kerm oaks of the Font Roja.

Descending from the summit, ignore all paths turning down left. But when you meet a fork with paths up left and right down (2h10min) (1300 m), take the one up left with red-white waymarks of GR7. (If you turn right, the path descent first to the ravine of Carrascalet, then takes you pass a couple of fountains and river beds back to the GR7 within an hour. If you choose this route, try to follow the yellow-white waymarks.)

Up on Penyes Monteses (2h15min) (1330 m), the path curves right. You'll have a beautiful stroll on the grassy plateau with stray junipers and rocks, enjoying magnificent views of mountain ranges on both sides of the path.

Following the red-white waymarks, you start descending from the plateau to Coll de Sabata. Some 5 minutes before Coll de Sabata, you join the path that comes from the ravine of Carrascalet (3h) (1100 m). Turn left. The path leads downhill to a small clrearing where you have signposts (3h10min) (1020 m). Bend left and follow the signpost pointing to Talecˇ de D'Alt, which you will reach in 10 minutes (3h20min) (950 m). By this ruined building, keep left, walking past the ruins and two tall pines. Do not go right to the road that you can see below. The path leads through a field to a slope. Probably you cannot discern the path in the field, but you can see it on the opposite slope.

First the path keeps going gently up and down for some 20 minutes, then it descends steeply to a sand road (3h55min) (795 m). Turn right. The road peters out into a path, which joins another road (4h08min) (745 m). Turn left facing a big quarry. This road meets another road (4h17min) (735 m) on which you turn left again. At a fork, met almost immediately, go right following the sign pointing to Castell and Sant Christ˛for. Soon you meet an asphalt road (4h21min) (725 m). Cross it straight to a trail that descend gently to another road (4h23min) (715 m). A signposted path to Castell and Sant Crist˛for forks left uphill (4h27min) (690 m). Follow this path. 

In few minutes, you encounter a massive rock wall where the path bends right. When you come to a fork (4h34min), go right. When the path joins an asphalt road (4h39min) (705 m), turn left, and after 10 meters, go straight ahead, not curving left. On top of the hill (4h44min) (745 m), take the path on your left hand side leading to the Castell.

At the Castell, curve sharp left to a concrete road descending to Sant Crist˛for (5h).


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