The Vall de Ribes (Ribes Valley) is an excellent location to enjoy the high mountain areas of the Pyrenees in the province of Girona. This valley contains two impressive and emblematic peaks, Puigmal and Taga, and the river Freser, that plays a key role in this natural environment and provides a very refreshing atmosphere in most of the routes. These mountain routes are professionally designed and it compiles the best and most beautiful itineraries of the area, with different ranges of difficulty adapted to all kind of preferences.
LONG DISTANCE TRAILS
Vuelta al Segadell
Total Distance: 38 Km
Total gain: 2600 m
Start point: Ribes de Freser
Finish point: Ribes de Freser
Min. height: 920 (Ribes de Freser)
Max. height: 2564 (Balandrau)
This is a demanding circuit that starts with a considerable up slope that after 12 kms will take you to Balandrau´s summit. After that, the route mainly consists in passing across some cols and crests, reaching a total of 4 peaks (2000m in height).
The high point of the trail is the Balandrau, an emblematic summit within the hiking practice in Cataluña and also a vantage point over the Coma de Vaca valley and the eastern Pyrenean peaks.
Departing from the Tourist office, go cross the town towards the remains of Castell de Sant Pere and walk up the staircase beside the castle. Go past the urbanisation and pass the fence, leaving it closed again. From there, you will start the constant uphill track that will lead you to Can Nadal. Once there, turn left and walk a paved path for 100m, until you find a path on your right. Take it and continue on that path until you come across the track in Ribes-TreguràRibes-Tregurà. Go across it and you will directly get to the next path that should be followed on a steeper slope. When you get to a sign, turn left and you will do a short descent among trees. This will bring you to a forest track that will get you across the Torrent de Serrabona without losing height. Keep walking the milled way towards El Serrat, entering it via the hermitage of Verge del Remei, crossing the town and leaving it by a wide path that will lead you to an antenna. At that point, leave the path and turn right to continue climbing across the fields , until you get to the next track. Follow it on a steeper climb that will bring you up to 1600 meters high, to the Camino de los Collets.
After crossing the track of Collets, continue ascending across fields and wide paths, followed by a trail through the forest until you reach Llanos del Atalaiador, the highest point of this route so far (2000m in height). Pass by the Atalaiador summit, going across the fields on the crest while enjoying the spectacular views of Vall de Ribes. Keep going up, facing towards Roques Blanques, the next target. Once there, there is a flatter stretch from where you could admire the first views of the Balandrau summit. At that stage, you just have left the last part of the ascent to reach the top of the peak (2564m in height).
After admiring the superb views from that summit, retrace your steps till the base of the last part of the ascent. Keep descending through the crest of Serra de la Canya all the way to Coll de los Treguradesos. That crest stretch is very wide and easy to follow, always by fields. It will get you directly to Cerverís (2208m in height), second summit reached in this route.
Continue through the south crest of the peak until you find the Collada de Meianell. Contrasting with the trail across the fields that cover these pyrenean landscapes, there is a short stretch by track at that point, that will lead you to the peaks Mont-Roig and Pel-de-ca (1900m height). Leaving behind the second of this peaks, pass a fence and start going down parallel to another fence, this time by a less visible path and dodging trees and bushes. At some point you will come across a wide and milled path that should be followed to keep descending towards the Collada Verda.
The Collada Verda is the traditional natural walkway for trading exchange between the valleys of Camprodon and Ribes. After crossing this place you will shortly come across the source of the Segadell river. This is the only access to water that you will have until the end of the route. Continue the gradual climb across the fields until you meet the Coll de Pal and from there, keep moving along the crest of Serra Cavallera.
That green and wide crest, on a constant climb, will bring you to Puigestela peak, the third highest summit reached along the route (2013m high). Leaving this peak behind you, keep moving along the crest, finding some stretches a bit more challenging on your way down to Portella de Ogassa. Just like Collada Verda, this hill has been a natural walkway for livestock trading between both mountain ranges for many years. From there, if you look upwards you will find the Taga, last target of the trail that will be reached after a gentle climb.
You will pass by the Cross that overlooks a big part of the catalan region. After admiring the views and having a break, it is time to start the descent. The beginning is easy, just following the crest; but after a while, the slope will get quite steep. According to the speed of your way down, you will see how Ribes de Freser gets closer and closer. Leaving the fields behind you, get inside the forest through a milled way that will lead you to Plans de Conivella, starting here a flatter stretch. Continue beside a fence until its end and turn right to keep going by track for 200m. Take a hidden path on your left and keep going down there until Collet dels 7 Fortins. Cross it and pass by 2 fences to keep descending through the forest once more.
After a trail of dodging trees and big roots, you will get to the new deposits. There is a short walk, without losing height, until you get a turn to the right to continue going down all the way to the Caterineta fountain. Once you are back in town, pass by the pavilion and Paseo Àngel Guimerà to retrace your steps back to the Tourist office.
Water: All needed water facilities are available in Ribes de Freser. There is a fountain after crossing El Serrat. In the Collada Verda it is located the source of Segadell river and a watering hole to refresh yourself and getting some water. It is advisable to bring water purification tablets.
Total Distance: 27 Km
Total gain: 2100 m
Start point: Ribes de Freser
Finish point: Ribes de Freser
Min. height: 920 (Ribes de Freser)
Max. height: 2040 (Taga)
This is the ideal route if you are looking for a long training with slopes. It is a mixed of technical stretches, steep climbs and some good sections for running along the way to reach two emblematic peaks: Taga and San Amand.
Beware the likelihood of frozen areas during cold seasons. Even in summer, it is advisable to bring at least a windbreaker jacket. In winter, keep an eye on the forecast because it is common to find snow at the summits after heavy snowfalls.
The starting point of the circuit is the Tourist office, where you can find lots of parking spaces. Follow the Paseo Àngel Guimerà to start crossing the town and turn to the left once you get to the sports pavilion, taking the Passeig de la Caterineta. Close by the Caterineta fountain, you will find the path that will directly lead you uphill on a steep slope. After reaching the Collet dels Fortins (tracks crossing point), go past two fences and keep climbing across the fields on the left.
The paths to be followed will always be obvious in this stretch of the route. Continuing the ascent you will leave the forest behind and you will get to Conivella fields, beautiful lookout with superb views of the Taga peak, Sierra de Montgrony and some of the highest points of the Pyrenees.
Passing the fields, there is another uphill section across the forest, that will take you to the top of this circuit in the Taga mountainsides. From there, start descending in zigzag towards Coll de la Pera, quite an easy spot to identify because of its noticeable booster. Passing that building, keep walking down across some fields and paths that will lead you to Bruguera. This is a tiny village that belongs to the municipality of Ribes de Freser and that has been very well preserved over the years. It is the perfect example of rural lifestyle that was common in the area years ago.
Go across the town towards the Serrat Roig neighborhood and behind the last farm house you will find the trail that will shortly get you to Coll de la Portella. That is a nice resting space to recover a bit. Continue by a wide track that will turn into a path that goes along a thick beech forest all the way to Saltor, passing some steep slopes.
Go past the hermitage and the Saltor farmhouse and continue on the right, just following the 4×4 wheel tracks. At some point you will find on your left a track that shortly will become a path, which has the Long-distance category (GR) and it will bring you to Collet del Vent, just beneath the cliff of San Amand. Continue the GR trail up to Santa María de Vidabona. Just before reaching it, take a sharp turn to the left and keep walking along the crest, in the middle of a thick beech forest. Eventually, you will meet the remains of Cal Pegot and slightly after that, the Coll de la Tuta.
Resume the ascent on a sharp climb that will get you across some vantage points with beautiful views of Southern Ripoll and Sierra Cavallera. Once the summit of San Amand has been reached (1851m high), have a break while enjoying the panoramic views of half of the catalan land and mountains; Montseny, Milany, Montserrat, San Llorenç and also Pedraforca.
Continue across the small field beside the summit, pass by some challenging paths and through Pla de la Pena to then go down a steep field that will bring you to Coll de Jou. Go across the paved track to start climbing up towards Taga´s cross. This is probably the toughest part of the route, with gradients of up to 40% that will require the use of hands.
From the top of the Taga, enjoy the astonishing views to the Eastern Pyrenees and admire the immense and emblematic Puigmal just in front of you.
Once you have had a break in such a superb location, it is time to start the quick and direct descent to Ribes de Freser. The first stretch will be across down slope fields that will lead you back to Pla de Conivella. From there, retrace your steps back to the Paseo de la Caterineta and then, go across the town towards the Tourist office.
Water: All needed water facilities are available in Ribes de Freser. There are some fountains in Bruguera. There is another fountain close by Coll de Jou, a bit out of the way, beneath the refuge of Sant Jordi.
Total Distance: 27 Km
Total gain: 1850 m
Start point: Queralbs
Finish point: Queralbs
Min. height: 1150 (Queralbs)
Max. height: 2910 (Puigmal)
This is a demanding circuit for a seasoned/experienced traveller. During the first 12 kms, you will complete the majority of the overall climb. It is not advisable to do circuit in winter, because most of the trail can be covered with snow. In summer, you will have access to water along practically the entire route.
The high point of the trail is the Puigmal, an emblematic summit within the hiking tradition in Cataluña, which also is a 360º vantage point over the Ripollès and the Cerdanya. Another highlight of the route will be to pass by the Sanctuary of Virgen de Nuria.
The walk starts from Plaça del Raig, in the city centre of Queralbs, going up the staircase beside the fountain and following the signs towards Camí Vell de Nuria. The climb up has already started through the paved streets of Queralbs, which shortly will become a path that goes among trees and will get you to Fontalba. Cross that track and just a few meters later you will come across another path.
That path will continue on a steady incline which steepens further as it progresses. When you come across a division, follow the path on the right, although both ways will bring you to the same place. Shortly after, you will cross the Nuria river through the bridge of Cremal and you should continue the ascent by a milled way. You will go around the Roques de Totlomon, passing by the Cola de Caballo waterfall and after a walk without losing height, you will be back to cross the river through a wooden footbridge.
The next sharp slope will head you straight to Coll de la Creu de Riba, a superb viewpoint over the sanctuary and the Nuria lake, created to keep the water of the river under control.
Leaving the sanctuary behind, resume the gradual ascent across green fields till you meet a cement surface that will help you to cross the torrent. Keep ascending to the right until you see a sign close by Coma de l’Embut. Take the milled way that will take you across some terraces , all the way to the torrent of Coma de l’Embut. The following fields will bring you to an open view of the Puigmal.
Keeping our eyes on that summit for guidance, keep climbing along the wide fields till you see a snow gauge on the right and continue along the steep path that leads to the left. This last stretch is a straight climb of the 350m that are left to reach the highest top of the eastern Pyrenees (2910m high).
Take a break and enjoy the astonishing views and once you feel ready to start descending, follow the milled trail placed on the French side of the mountain. The first part is quite steep, following a rocky ground in zigzag until you meet green esplanade of Clotes del Puigmal. That is the end of the most vertical stretch of the descent. After that, continue by path first and follow by wide trail that after a short by steep climb will bring you to Tossal del Pas dels Lladres. This place is easy to identify because of the remains of an old alpine ski resort. Behind it, you can sight the Pas dels Lladres or Coll de Queralbs, a border mountain pass between Spain and France.
Keep descending through rocky ground to get there and once you reach the Coll de Queralbs, turn left and continue across fields until you come across a beaten path. This one will go along the Vaquerissa crest and parallel to a fence that will constantly lead you on your descent. After you get back to a field, leave the path and turn left to continue walking parallel to another fence. Eventually, you will arrive to Pla dels Ventolanesos, a big field with a fence that should be crossed. At that stage you will start to see the GR (Long-distance) signs which should be followed and that will get you across the Torrent de la Font de l’Home Mort. That is a great spot to refresh yourself and to get some water for the last stretch of the route.
After you cross the torrent, turn right, passing across a confluence of torrents and keep following along the GR that will get you to a trail that declines on the right. That trail will pass through some small torrents all the way to Font de les Places and the farmhouse of the same name. Go around the left side of the house and keep going by the GR trail, which alternates short stretches of tracks and paths. Close by the Torrent de Places, take the track that in around 1 km will bring you back to Queralbs. You will enter the town passing by the Iglesia de Sant Jaume and the picturesque narrow streets that will lead you to the starting point, the Plaça del Raig.
Water: In Queralbs there is access to water and a bar. There is a fountain in San Gil de Nuria, in the Torrent of Home Mort and in Font dels Plaus. Most of the route goes parallel to either the Nuria river or to some of its torrents, besides the last stretch of the ascent and the descent to the fountain of Home Mort.