TREKKING IN THE ALBAIDA VALLEY

The Vall d’Albaida is surrounded by a series of mountain ranges with which it maintains a close connection. These mountains are the ideal setting for the practice of sports and also become unique spaces where we find a whole series of natural, botanical and patrimonial resources that can be enjoyed through the route of the many paths that are indicated by their domains.

The Benicadell Mountain

The Benicadell, is the most emblematic mountain range for the people of this region, a reference and a must visit when you are in the Vall d ‘Albaida, with an altitude of 1104 meters is the highest mountain in the region and a meeting point with a very unique natural space. Its toponymic origin derives from the Arabic “Peña Cadiella” that already was used in the “Cantar del mio cid”.

In fact, the Benicadell is the extension of the Sierra de la Covalta, separated from it by the Port of Albaida and that has continuity towards the Sierra de Agullent and the town of Ontinyent. In the opposite direction, towards the region of the Safor, the Benicadell arrives until the Mountain range of Ador. The alignment of the Sierra del Benicadell has conditioned the climatology and fundamentally the vegetation that is in it, clearly distinguishing two areas that also belong to two different regions ; The Solana in the “Comtat” (very degraded and sparsely vegetated) region and on the contrary the “Ombría” located in the Vall d ‘Albaida (with much richer and leafy vegetation). The Benicadell has been damaged by the wave of fires that every summer devastates us and that have affected notably its forest wealth.

Numerous are the manifestations that attest the close link between this mountain and man, so it is easy to find different snow pits, constructions for the capture and channeling of Roman and Arab waters, archaeological sites, dry stone walls, watching points, castles and other resources  made in  different and historical times.

Thematic routes “Ombria del Benicadell”. Protected landscape:

  • Ruta Verde: Salem – Casa Planisses
  • Ruta Azul: Beniatjar – Alto del Benicadell
  • Ruta Roja: Otos – Castell de Carbonera – Alto del Morró
  • Ruta Amarilla: Bèlgida – Carrícola – Font Freda
  • Ruta Morada: Castelló de Rugat – Ràfol de Salem – Antiguo vivero forestal
  • Ruta Marrón: Albaida – Atzeneta d’Albaida – Paisaje Humanizado
  • Ruta Naranja: Puerto de Albaida – Alto del Benicadell

Mariola Mountain

This mythical mountain range, singular and of the highest tradition in the Valencian hiking, extends its domains by three different regions such as the Vall d’Albaida, the Comtat and l’Alcoià. It has recently been declared a natural park and more than half of its protected area belongs to the Villa Valldalbaidina of Bocairent. It has a width of about 5 kms and a total length of about 30 kms and has the Montcabrer (1389 m), the Contador (1232 m) and the Alto de Mariola (1158 m) as the most remarkable summits.

Numerous rivers are born in this mountain range that has traditionally been known for the abundance of water and the many sources it has, so the rivers Vinalopó, Agres, Serpis and Clariano begin here the race that will lead them to the Mediterranean Sea.

The most characteristic note of the Sierra Mariola is the diversity and richness of its aromatic plants that make it known everywhere; Thyme, rosemary, savory, horehound, sage  are present and are used for medicinal and aromatic uses. It also highlights the presence of holm oaks, pine forests and the southernmost yew forest in Europe.

There are marked trails that will take us to the main patrimonial resources that we find in it, like the numerous wells of snow; Witnesses of the ancient commerce of the snow so widespread in these regions, but also to the hermitages, the masías, glaciers etc.

We recommend you visit the most important snow holes of the Mariola; “Cava de l ‘habitació”, “Cava Arqueada o Gran”, “Cava del Buitre” and finally the “Cava de Don Miguel”.

 

The walking trails we find in this section are the following:

The Grossa Mountain

The Sierra “Grossa” is a long and wide mountain range that acts as a natural barrier between the Vall d’Albaida and the neighboring region of La Costera. Its extension is considerable although the heights are rather moderate with summits that do not exceed 900 m. The beginning of the mountain is in Fuente la Higuera, it crosses the Vall d’Albaida , parallel to the mountain range “de l’ombria” until reaches the massif of the Buscarro-Montdúver, in the neighboring region of the Safor. Sequences of summits and ravines and the passage of the river Albaida that crosses the mountains by “l’Estret de les Aigües” (Bellús), are the main geomorphological characteristics.

The vegetation is very degraded by the forest fires and you can still see samples of the same in its natural state in the area “dels Alforins”. As indigenous fauna the squirrel, badger and wild boar are the highest representatives.

 

The walking trails  we find in this section are the following:

The Umbria Mountain

This mountain has its origin in Villena and it advances towards the sea in northeast direction. The mountain enters the Albaida Valley and despite having a clear structural unit, receives different names depending on the population where we are, so it is known as “Replana del Moro”, “Ombria de Fontanars”, Pinós, Gamellons, “Ombria of Ponce”, “Altet de Felix”, “Serreta”, “Torrater”, “Filosa”, Sierra de Agullent, Covalta, depending on whether it is named by the inhabitants of Fontanars, those of Ontinyent, Albaida or Agullent.

The heights are not considerable , highlights the Covalta with 890 m.

The walking trails we find in this section are the following:

The Quatretonda Mountain

Located in the east of the “Serra Grossa”, it is a place of union of the Bética and Iberian alignments with notable presence of faults originated by the karstic properties of the terrain. “La Sima de Quatretonda” and “Sima de Aldaia” are good examples with depths of 185 and 113m. respectively. The most important heights are “L ‘Alt de l’ Hedra” (672m) and “La Mola” (500 m). The original state of the Sierra de Quatretonda was modified by the fires suffered in the decades of the 60s and 70s, despite this it remains an ideal place for the practice of hiking and contact with nature. Today the ancient forests of oaks, pines and oaks have been replaced by abundant shrubs, with thyme, rosemary and aliaga as protagonists. We also have the presence of some pines located in the shade of the sierra with endemic species very difficult to find in other places.

Stands out the extraction of marble of great quality in this mountain range .

The walking trails we find in this section are the following: