December equates perfect running and climbing weather in Spain’s Valencian Community. The days are short, but sunny with a mild breeze. Very little rain over a month, and yet it’s not as hot as the Costa Blanca. In search for a decent campground (which ended up being Camping La Granja Montanejos), good weather, rock climbing, and easy access to trails, we ended up in Montanejos. And my love for travelling in Spain further expanded. Below are details on some beautiful train runs, and kid-friendly crags near Montanejos (all walking distance from town) and near Olba (25 m in car from Montanejos). I haven’t found an online trail map for Montanejos, but I used Gaia GPS and maps.me to plan my trail running. The trails were all very well-marked.
Trail running in Montanejos
Trail Monte Copa – Presa de Cirat – El Chorro – and on.
There is no shortage of trails leaving Montanejos up to the neighbouring ‘peaks’. For a great introduction to the forest trails around the town, I would highly recommend this trail available on Wikiloc. Starting from Montanejos, you head up to Mirador Monte Copa (est 847m) on Sendero Monte Copa. There is a magical view over Montanejos before you start to descend. After that, cross Rio Mijares at Presa de Cirat and follow the trail past the strange El Chorro, Arénos (water gushing out of the side of the mountain). After that, you head back up – now on the other side of the valley from Monte Copa – towards El Colladillo and then back to Montanejos. The ascent is gentler this time. The Wikiloc trail ended up being about 18 km, and the GPS provides more specific direction about how to navigate this one.
Trail to Cima Morrón de Campos
Another wonderful (shorter) trail run is from Montanejos to Cima Morrón de Campos (941m). Out and back, the path is about 7-8 km from Montanejos past the Cueva Negra. The views from the peak are wonderful. It’s a bit more technical towards the top when it hasn’t rained in a while because the loose rocks cause a lot of slipping and sliding. The lower parts of the trail were fast, gentle, and shaded by pine trees. From Montanejos, you can jump on the trail here.
Trail to Castillejos
I really enjoyed the trail to Castillejos. To get there, take the same trail out of Montanejos that heads towards Morrón de Campos, but take a left instead of a right (which goes to Morrón de Campos) when the path forks and head towards Collado Castillejos (i.e. away from Cueva Negra). This Wikiloc map turns the Castillejos into a great little loop just shy of 10km. The trail starts here.
Rock climbing in Montanejos
The guidebook will say it all, but I just wanted to highlight a few crags that were great with a 5 year old. We ended up spending some time at Iniciación (helpful pictures available at the Crag) and Xulo Panderas (also good pictures at the Crag). Both walls were located in the gorge (Barranco Maimona), so the temperatures were very cool (maybe too cool at times) but the bottom of the crag is flat and great for children and there were a good selection of beginner and lower intermediate routes. The access itself is also very easy and flat. You can park here (good for larger vehicles, including the caravan we were hauling) or a little further up the road leaving Montanejos (at the start of the trail going to Morrón de Campos) around here. After that, walk to “Albergue el dharma” and follow the trail on the right side of the river. Iniciación is about 7 minutes down the trail (you have to leave the trail to cross over the stream to get to the sector). Xulo Panderas is just a bit further down. We also wanted to try Placas del Sol after freezing our fingers in the gorge, but we felt the access was a little too exposed with a five year old. That said, it looks like the climbing there would have been great fun. The trail to Placas de Sol is the same that goes towards Castillejos (see above). At one point, you will see a marker indicating that the crag is towards the left while the main trail continues up. Parking for smaller vehicles is available at the foot of the trail here.
Rock climbing in Alto Mijares
Finally, if you’re in Montanejos, you might as well drive up to the climbing area around Olba which is called Alto Mijares. We found a great crag for children, with relatively easy walking access (about 30 minutes of ascending walking from the parking near here at Casucho). Google maps won’t help, but the area and some of the crags are marked in maps.me. We opted for the Callejón sector and were not disappointed. There were far less people than in Montanejos and there were more choices for places to climb with a child. We ended up climbing a number of routes on the Bergfreundeturm rock, which is a beautiful spire separate from the other walls. For beginners, I would highly recommend a 6A route called “Punto Rojo“. Climbers at the crag were very friendly and the views wonderful, isolated, and accompanied by the sound of the rushing Rio Mijares below.