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Olta

Circuit of Olta

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How to get there: Turn from the CN-332 on a road signposted to the Calpe railway station (ferrocarril). Drive 3 kilometers uphill to a camping site (Zona de Acampada) following the signs "Monte Olta - Zona de Acampada". (Roadmap of Marina Alta)

Distance: 7 km/1h55min

You find the circuit track of Olta above the parking area of the camping site (235m). Start following the track clockwise to the south. Ignore the tracks that fork to the right. Soon you have a nice sea view with Calpe and Ifach monolite, towering to 332m, on the left.

After passing a building and a sign to "Ermita Vella" and "Cim de Olta" on your right (10min) (330 m), the track curves sharply, and the impressive walls of Olta rise in front of you.

The southern and western faces of the mountain range are partly composed of clays from the Triassic Period, which are easily recongisable by their reddish colour, lack of compaction and easy erosionability.

By the information board (20min), the track forks. Continue uphill to the right. Behind the bend, you find the chapel Vella (330 m). The track curves to the right and forks. Turn left to "Olta Sur".

As the pines get lower, the views open up to the bay and mountains surrounding it. In the front, you see first the oblong Morro de Toix, and a little bit later, on the opposite side of the bay, the Helada mountain. After passing the ruins of a building on your left the castle of Calpe comes into sight, and, soon after, the tunnel going through the Mascarat Gorge. In the next valley, you can see a number of towns, including Altea, Albir, Alfaz del Pi and Benidorm. Further on, the mountain range of Bernia starts to dominate the views.

A great variety of plants line the track and slopes of Olta. Standing out among the unique plants found in Olta are medicinal plants, many of which are also fragrant and used as seasonings, as is the case with ryegrass. You will also be able to find thyme, rosemary, lavender, camomile, chenille and rock tea.

When you meet the first signpost on the western side of Olta (40min) (320 m), go ahead to "La Canal". Do not turn to the right to "Pou de la Mola". By the second signpost (50min), again, go ahead. Do not turn to the left to "Camp de Tir".

On the northwestern side of Olta, the pines grow taller. The shady conditions beneath the pines make it difficult for plants to thrive, but it has favoured the appearance of the woody vines called lianes, which scale the walls of Olta. Since the rocks are volcanic in origin, the walls are darker in the northwestern and northern part of Olta.

When you come to a large, solitary pine tree and ruins of a building on your left, the track forks (1h) (320 m). A signpost tells that you are 3240 m from the camping site (Zona de Acampada). In the front, you see a rock called finger of Olta (El Dit d'Olta). Turn uphill to the right. When the track forks the first time, keep left. Pass the ruins of a building (1h10min) (370 m). When the track forks the second time, keep left again.

When the track meets another track (1h20min), turn right, and follow the signs to "La Canal". From this junction you can see a number of mountains, including the reddish Montgo in the north.

After walking some 350 meters uphill, you reach a small clearing with ruins of a building. (1h25min) (395 m). The track bends to the left, and turns into a path that starts descending - first gently, but then very steeply - to another track. On your way, ignore all paths that fork to the right.

When the path meets a track (1h40min) (315 m), turn right. Ignore all paths, until you reach a sign to the "Zona d'Acampada" (1h45min). By this sign, turn to the path on your right. The path descends to a track, which joins the circuit track. Turn left, and return to the parking place (1h55min).

Alternative Circuit of Olta

If you want to avoid the steep descent from the Canal to the circuit track, do not turn right when the track forks by the large, solitary pine tree and ruins of a building on your left (1h) (320 m). Instead go straight ahead. Ignore all forks to the left.

The track turns into a paved road (1h40). Continue until you reach a junction with a sign "Olta 49" (1h50min). Turn right. When you come to a crossroads (1h55min), turn uphill to the left. Walk some 40 meters, and turn right to a track by a white house. Ignore all paths that join the track from right until the track starts to descend and you reach a sign to the "Zona d'Acampada" (2h15min). By this sign, turn to the path on your right. The path descends to a track, which joins the circuit track. Turn left, and return to the parking place (2h25min).


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