In the north of the province of Alicante, in the evocative Vall de Laguar, we find the “Barranc de l’Infern” (the translation would be something like “Gorge of Hell”). This is a spectacular and narrow canyon, sculpted by the waters of the Riu Girona (Girona River) over thousands of years.
This tortuous gorge, is the protagonist of one of the most unique (and sometimes crowded) hiking routes in the geography of Alicante province. Fame is deserved.
We are facing a circular route of considerable physical demand that, through surprising landscapes, will take us to know an outstanding cultural heritage, located in a natural setting of great ecological value. A legacy that must be preserved.
Possibly it is because of its more than 6,800 stone steps, that this route is known with the nickname of the Cathedral of the Trekking.
Do you dare to discover it? Let’s go!
Summary of the Route
We start from the town of Fleix, one of the three that make up the municipality of “La Vall de Laguar“, in the Alicante region of the Marina Alta.
From there, and always following the marks of the PR-CV 147 trail, this circular excursion will take us, through zigzagging ascents and descents, to cross the spectacular Barranc de l’Infern on two occasions.
After overcoming the second “descent into the underworld”, a demanding final ascent will finally take us to Benimaurell, “the village above”. And we will only have a comfortable descent back to Fleix, ending this beautiful hiking route.
Map & Altimetry
“La Vall de Laguar”, and more specifically the mountain range called “Serra del Cavall Verd” (south side of the valley), was the scene of one of the most tragic episodes in Valencian history: the massacre of the Cavall Verd.
La Vall de Laguar, which was the last stronghold of the Moors in the Kingdom of Valencia, certainly contains one of our saddest episodes. In 2009, the fourth centenary of his tragic definitive expulsion was celebrated in November 1609.
After the expulsion, these lands were so deserted that it was necessary to bring several families from Mallorca to repopulate them. Many of them waited from Africa the moment of return, keeping the keys of what had been their homes. Something that never happened.
As you have already seen, it is well worth spending a weekend in the Vall de Laguar, to soak up its history, its landscapes, and its cuisine. Therefore, I take the freedom of recommending some accommodations in the area.
Description & Photographs
We start the trip in Fleix, the “middle town” of the three that make up the Vall de Laguar. We leave the car at the exit of the town, next to the municipal schools. From here, we take the road towards Benimaurell (the village above), and then we will see the detour to the right towards Font Grossa and Fleix wash house, beginning of the route.
Following the paved road, we will soon see the path on our right. The stone steps begin, of which it is said there are about 6,500. For this time, we will believe it, and we will not keep the account.
It soon appears before us the impressive descent to the dry river bed of the Girona River (and the no less spectacular ascent by the opposite slope of the gorge).
But let’s not advance events. Before that, we will have to pass by the head of the Barranc del Salt, several tens of meters high. We went through El Forat de la Juvea, a hole carved into the rock that allows us to continue advancing.
We continue downhill, and finally reach the bed of the Barranc de l’Infern. Time to take a break and regroup, before starting the strongest climb of the day, overcoming 300 meters of unevenness by the stone steps.
The road has no difficulty whatsoever, and it is worth it to take it easy and enjoy this fantastic place. It is not hard to imagine the ancient Moorish settlers, living and cultivating these lands, until their definitive expulsion in 1,609.
The zigzagging climb leads us to “les Juvees d’Enmig”, where we take the opportunity to take a rest and comment on the anecdotes of the day. We pump water from the Pou de la Juvea to freshen up. It is still very hot to be in November.
When resuming the walk, a small ascent leads us to an esplanade next to some houses. Then we return to the path, to the left, which will lead us back to the gorge.
The descent, which crosses places that seem to have escaped from a dream, leads us to the Font de Reinós, a point that we will take advantage of for lunch.
After lunch, we finish the downhill section that leads us back to the Girona River. After crossing the gully bed, we now face the second of the climbs, which will lead us to “Les Juvees de d’Alt” (old, abandoned houses). Again, I recommend taking it easy and enjoying each of the thousands of stone steps that make up this route.
At the top, we have spectacular panoramic views of the Barranc de l’Infern. We are in “Les Juvees de d’Alt”. From here, we begin a new descent towards the Barranc de Racons. At this point of the route, the stone steps seem to be better preserved.
Immediately we reached the bottom of Barranc de Racons, and we started the last, sinuous and stepped climb. Halfway through it, we reach a natural viewpoint where we must stop and breathe deeply, the landscape is overwhelming …
Resume the brand. The ascent leads us to an area of farmland, on the outskirts of Benimaurell. Then we arrive at the recreational area of Font dels Olbis, where the arrival of the Autumn is noticeable.
Shortly after, we crossed the village and arrived at the Font del Benimaurell, next to the village laundry. It can be a good place to eat and regain strength. From here to Fleix we only have a gentle walk following the asphalt road between terraces.
Among the almond trees, there is the silhouette of the Serra del Cavall Verd or Serra del Penyó, on which the three villages of Vall de Laguar are based: Campell, Fleix and Benimaurell.
Tired but very happy, we go through the last steps while discussing the anecdotes of the day. We complete the route, we close this “magic circle” of the Vall de Laguar. As I said at the beginning, an essential excursion in Alicante, for all lovers of nature, history and culture of our lands.