In the interior of the province of Valencia, the municipality of Cortes de Pallás is characterized by a rugged and steep landscape, with large slopes, from the heights of the Muela de Cortes to the Júcar Canyon. A very mountainous relief crossed by deep ravines that, for centuries, forced its people to trace challenging bridle paths that made communication with neighboring towns possible.
In this article, we are going to go through one of those paths: the Senda de la Cortada , which already in the 18th century amazed the botanist Cavanilles in his explorations. Signposted today with the marks of the local path SL-CV 13 , we are undoubtedly facing one of the most beautiful, varied and interesting excursions in the entire Valencian Community.
Will you accompany me to walk the Senda de la Cortada? Let’s start!
Do not miss: 10 Essential Routes in Valencia .
SL-CV 13 - La Cortada Path - Cavanilles Path
The Moorish Rebellion of Cortes de Pallás
History tells us that, after the Muslims had been living in Valencian lands for several centuries, between 1229 and 1245 Jaime I carried out the so-called “reconquest” of these lands for the Crown of Aragon.
Several centuries later, the population of Muslim origin in the Kingdom of Valencia had been forced to convert to Christianity, giving rise to the so-called “new Christians” or Moriscos ; a town that, frequently, was slighted in all type of agreements.
However, and after many decades of conflict, finally in September 1609 , Philip III decided to order the expulsion of all the Moors from the Kingdom of Valencia. This decree brought with it battles and skirmishes, as a good part of the Moorish population refused to leave what had been their home and that of their ancestors.
In Cortes de Pallás , the Moorish population of the area felt able to resist expulsion, protected by the abrupt geography of the place: the Moorish uprising of the Muela de Cortes. This resistance gave rise to a tragic episode in our history (very similar to the one that occurred in Alicante’s Vall de Laguar), where hundreds of Moriscos lost their lives until they were finally forced to surrender and accept expulsion.
As happened in many other valleys of the Kingdom of Valencia, what had been a fertile orchard was practically abandoned after the expulsion, making it necessary to repopulate it with people from other places.
Starting from the town of Cortes de Pallás , we begin to follow the markings of the local trail SL-CV 13, known as “La Senda de la Cortá”. After a few first steps along the paved road, we immediately find the old bridle path which, with sections still cobbled , climbs with elegant zigzags to the Muela de Cortes .
Approximately halfway up the ascent, the path crosses horizontally along the edge of a spectacular natural cornice formed by the limestone strata itself, this being one of the points with the best views of the route. Shortly after, the trail continues to climb up to Pino de la Cortada . From there, we approach the huge artificial reservoir built on top of the Muela de Cortes, which we skirt along a forest track.
In the final stretch of the route, more surprises await us. We begin the descent towards the Arroyo de Cortes through the Bajada del Tol , a pass equipped with chains. The path immerses us in a fascinating landscape framed by cut slopes, where we can admire the Eagle’s Window . In its final part, the route of the SL-CV 13 takes us to visit the natural area of El Corbinet , of great beauty, before returning to the town through the old Moorish orchards, irrigated thanks to a complex system of ditches.
Whoever has walked the 6,000 steps of the Vall de Laguar will find many reminiscences of that path in Cortes de Pallás. In both cases we find ourselves before excellently made old cobbled paths and, although there are no steps in Cortes, the same drains do appear diagonally to prevent the torrential rains from damaging the path.
In both cases, equally, the path takes us through a natural landscape of enormous beauty and extremely rugged, since the path itself constitutes a cultural heritage of incalculable value (declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO).
Cortes de Pallás offers infinity of natural and cultural attractions to the visitor. For this reason, I recommend you take advantage of your visit to make a weekend getaway in the area and thus enjoy a leisurely and relaxed stay, savoring the local cuisine and getting to know this beautiful area of the Valencian Community in depth.
Track for GPS
I leave you this GPS track on wikiloc, very well documented, which was the one I followed during my visit to Cortes de Pallás.