TRAIL RUNNING LES GARRIGUES
The comarca (local district) of Les Garrigues borders on El Pla de Lleida, El Pla d’Urgell and L’Urgell to the north, with La Conca de Barberà to the east, with lands that used to form part of former earldom of Prades and El Priorat to the south, and with the Terres de l’Ebre (Ebro valley) to the west. It has a surface area of 800 km2, a population of over 19,000 inhabitants and 24 municipalities. All of this territory has similar characteristics with the exception of certain parts of the municipalities of Les Borges Blanques, Juneda, Arbeca and Puiggròs, which occupy terrain irrigated by the Canal d’Urgell. The irrigated land makes it possible to grow alfalfa, maize and, above all, fruits such as pears, apples and peaches.
The olive is the most widely grown crop in the comarca and the arbequina is the most typical local olive variety. The extra virgin olive oil of Les Garrigues is famous throughout the world for its exquisite taste and special properties
As far as culture is concerned, we must highlight the prehistoric cave paintings of El Cogul, which form part of one of the most important collections of cave paintings in the Mediterranean region. Other places of interest include the ethnological museums, of Juneda and Castelldans and the Archaeological Museum of Les Borges Blanques.
Total distance: 14 km
Elevation gain: 600 m.
Start point: La Pobla de Cérvoles
Finish point: La Pobla de Cérvoles
Min. height: 700 m.
Max. height: 1015 m.
Description of the route
The Serra de la Llena belongs to the protected area of the Prades Mountains and delimits with the basins of the Set, Montsant and Francolí rivers, and the towns of Vilanova de Prades, Vilosell and La Pobla de Cérvoles (starting and ending point of the route).
The route is fully signposted and it will be very easy to follow. It will pass largely through the Sierra de la Llena and its crest, with excellent views of both slopes. Both at the beginning and at the end we will cross fields of wheat, almond trees and vineyards, offering a varied visual spectacle in the different seasons of the year.
We will highlight the rock formation of Punta de Marc, Peña Alta (highest point of the 990 m route) and the Hermitage of San Miguel de la Tosca and the San Miguel ravine where the Set river is born.
We go out along the side of the road and take Calvari Street on the left. At km 1.5 we will skirt the Pobla reservoir on the right. At approximately km 2 the ascent towards the Sierra de la Llena begins, which will take us to Punta de Marc (900 m, km 3.3), with its agglomerated rock from where we can enjoy good views. We will go into the forest and about 300 meters later, if we turn back, we will be able to better appreciate this rock formation. Afterwards, the hill continues in an upward direction but with a short descent, we will pass through the Coll de Marrades and at km 6.4 we will reach the Peña Alta (1,015 m), the highest point of the route. On the 6.6 we will arrive at Coll de l’Abellar, where we can take an escape route to the left to shorten the return route if necessary
From here we will descend, passing through a section where you will have to be careful not to slip with the loose stone. At km 8.5 we will arrive at the Hermitage of San Miguel de la Tosca (optionally we will be able to visit the Fuente de San Miguel deviating about 100 meters up and to the right of the route).
Then we will take the path of San Miguel to the left, reaching the lowest point of the route at km 9.7 where we will take a detour to the left (be careful that it is easy to pass it when going down the track quickly), we will have descended 300 meters from unevenness in 3 km. We will go up the ravine for about 500 meters where we may get our feet wet if we are not careful.
Immediately, and after a new short but vertical ascent, we will pass through the Pla de Mangera and we will follow the track until we reach the town again.