In the north of the province of Alicante, in the municipality of La Vall de Laguar, we find the Barranc de l’Infern, a spectacular narrow canyon that the waters of the Girona River have been sculpting over thousands of years.
This amazing gorge is the protagonist of one of the most unique and popular hiking trails in Alicante: the PR-CV 147 short-distance trail, known as “The Cathedral of Hiking”.
This is a circular route of high physical demand that, through fascinating landscapes, will take us to know an outstanding cultural heritage, set in a natural setting of great ecological value.
To conclude this fantastic excursion, you will have to overcome the not inconsiderable figure of 6,800 stone steps… Do you accept the challenge? Stay to the end to find out everything you need to know!
Index of contents
¿Where is "Barranco del Infierno"?
To begin with, I would like to clarify some ideas and call a spade a spade. Personally I prefer to use the toponym Barranc de l’Infern, in Valencian, since the region where the route takes place, the Marina Alta (Alicante), is Valencian-speaking, and therefore I think it is preferable to use toponyms in Valencian.
The Barranc de l’Infern is the name given to a part of the Girona river as it passes through La Vall de Laguar, a municipality in the aforementioned region. In this area the river crosses a deep and narrow gorge between large limestone walls, creating a marked fracture between the Sierra de la Carrasca and the Serra del Cavall or Migdia. It is a point of great geological interest.
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Is it necessary to use ropes and/or harness on this route?
We must clearly differentiate the hiking route PR-CV 147, described in this article, from the sporting descent of the Barranco del Infierno (canyoning).
As is logical, the hiking route DOES NOT go through the section of the ravine where it is necessary to use technical equipment. This excursion, known as“The Cathedral of Hiking” crosses the Girona riverbed twice, but does not go through the technical part.
I hope these concepts have been made clear to you… Let’s continue!
PR-CV 147 Trail
This circular hiking route runs around the Barranc de l’Infern (Barranc del Infierno in Spanish). The excursion is known as “The Cathedral of Hiking” or “The Route of the 6,800 stone steps”.
It is a physically demanding but technically simple route. You don’t need to overcome rappels or anything like that, you just need to be in good shape.
We start from the town of Fleix, one of the three that make up the municipality of La Vall de Laguar, in the Alicante region of the Marina Alta. From there, and always following the marks of the PR-CV 147 trail, the route will take us, through zigzagging and continuous ascents and descents, to cross the spectacular Barranc de l’Infern twice.
After overcoming the second “descent to hell”, a demanding final ascent will finally take us to Benimaurell , the town above. Now we only have a comfortable descent back to Fleix, ending this beautiful hiking route.
Article originally published in November 2009 in LinkAlicante, and updated in October 2022.
Barranco del Infierno Route Map
Barranc de l'Infern - Recommendations
Although in this case we are not climbing a mountain, keep in mind that it is a demanding route from a physical point of view, especially if you are not used to walking in the mountains.
What is the best time to do the Barranc de l’Infern route?
Any but summer, as it is too hot. In spring the area looks especially green and beautiful. In February and March, respectively, you will find almond and cherry trees in bloom.
Is the PR-CV 147 trail signposted?
Yes, it is signposted with white and yellow markings (small trail), signposts and information panels. If you go on a weekend you will find quite a few people hiking the trail. For all these reasons, it is easy to find your way along the route. For added safety, you can carry a GPS or track on your smartphone.
Is there any danger on the PR-CV 147 route?
After episodes of torrential rains the Barranco del Infierno and its tributaries can descend with a lot of water, making it impossible to practice the route (and very dangerous to try).
Are there fountains on the route of the 6,800 steps?
There are fountains in Fleix and Benimaurell, as well as the Font de Reinós next to the ravine. Note that the water is not treated (chlorinated), so drinking it may not be 100% safe.
What equipment is suitable for the PR-CV 147 trail?
The usual equipment for hiking. Remember to bring plenty of water, food to replenish your strength and sun protection.
Getting to know La Vall de Laguar
The municipality of La Vall de Laguar is made up of three population centers: Campell, Fleix and Benimaurell. This small and beautiful valley, hanging from the foothills of the Serra del Penyó, and surrounded by the Sierras de la Carrasca and del Migdia, is located in a very mountainous area of the Marina Alta region. I encourage you to read the article about this picturesque corner of Alicante:
La Vall de Laguar is a fantastic place for a weekend getaway to soak up its history, its landscapes, and its rich gastronomy. For this reason, I take the liberty of recommending some nearby accommodation:
✔️ La Casa del Pantano, in the same Vall de Laguar (5 km from Fleix).
✔️ Mardenit , adults-only hotel in Orba (8 km from Fleix)
✔️ Hotel Dénia la Sella Golf , in Dénia (24 km from Fleix)
Barranco del Infierno - Cultural Heritage
Beyond its impressive landscapes, this hiking route around the Barranco del Infierno hides a cultural heritage of great value that is in danger of disappearing. I’m talking about the construction technique of dry stone, declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2018.
The terraced mountains with dry stone margins are part of the identity of the Marina Alta region. Here the landscapes tell us about the use of nature by human beings for centuries. Dry stone – that is, building without any mortar – played a fundamental role in these lands, both in crop margins and in paths, wells, shelters, etc.
This is one of the best examples of the invaluable dry stone heritage in the province of Alicante. A legacy that must be preserved. In many parts of this route, if you look closely, you will see how the path is supported by a structure created with this technique. Possibly it is from the Moorish period or older… Can you imagine how many times it has been traveled by farmers and mules over the centuries? I encourage you to keep this in mind during your hike.
Description of the Route and Photographs
Barranco del Infierno Circular Trail
One of the first times I was able to enjoy this excursion was in the fall of 2009. As I joked with my companions of the day, who did not know this trail, if the PR-CV 147 is known by the nickname of The Cathedral of Hiking is because in this place the “baptism” of every self-respecting hiker takes place. Jokes aside, this is a route that we could qualify as a must in the province of Alicante. Here we go!
We begin the tour in Fleix , the “middle town” of the three that make up the Vall de Laguar. We leave the car at the exit of the village, in a parking lot next to the CV-721. Just 30 meters up the road we see the signs that, by asphalt country road, lead us to the Font Grossa and old village laundry.
Font Grossa and "Llavaor" by Fleix
Font Grossa de Fleix
After passing this picturesque piece of history, we immediately see the path that turns off to our right, with the indicators of the PR-CV 147. The stone steps begin, of which it is said there are more than 6,800. Just this once, we’re going to believe it and not keep score.
It does not take long to appear before us the impressive descent to the dry riverbed of the Girona River and the no less spectacular climb up the opposite side of the ravine.
But let’s not anticipate events. Before that, we will have to pass by the head of the Barranc del Salt , several tens of meters high. We then cross El Forat de la Juvea, a hole carved in the rock that allows us to continue advancing while enjoying a memorable panoramic view:
The Barranc del Salt or Fleix
This first part of the PR-CV 147 trail hides a natural wonder that often goes unnoticed. After episodes of torrential rains, the Barranc del Salt (or Barranc de Fleix) gives rise to an impressive waterfall of 65 meters in total height. Next, you can see this natural spectacle in the video I have prepared…
The Riu Girona (Barranco del Infierno)
We continue descending and finally arrive at the bed of the Riu Girona , which usually remains dry. Down the ravine, it is possible to visit the Isbert dam , although from this side it is less attractive.
It is time to take a breather and regroup, before starting the steepest climb of the day, in which we will have to overcome a difference in altitude of about 300 positive metres , again with stone steps .
Beyond the effort, the road has no difficulty whatsoever, and it is worth taking it easy and enjoying this fantastic scenery. It is not hard to imagine the old Moorish settlers, living and cultivating these lands, until their definitive expulsion in 1609.
The zigzagging ascent leads us to Les Juvees d’Enmig, where we take another break and discuss the anecdotes of the day. We pump water from the Pou de la Juvea to refresh ourselves.
When resuming the march, a small ascent takes us to an esplanade next to some houses. Then we take the path to the left, which will make us “go down to hell” again.
This second descent, which goes through places that seem to have escaped from a dream, leads us to the Font de Reinós, where we will have lunch.
Signpost in les Juvees d'Enmig
Detour indicator towards Font de Reinós
After lunch, we finish the descent section that leads us to the bed of the Barranc de l’Infern . From this point, it is possible to approach the beginning of the sport canyon, a section that can only be overcome with the help of advanced canyoning materials and techniques. The spectacle is overwhelming . Vertical walls that seem to ascend to the sky, populated by lush vegetation.
We retrace our steps to retake the path PR-CV 147, a few meters above the point where we crossed the ravine. Be careful not to get lost at this point, always look for the trail markers.
We now face the second of the climbs, also demanding, which will lead us to the old hamlet of Les Juvees de d’Alt. Again, I recommend taking it easy and enjoying each of the thousands of stone steps that make up this magnificent route.
Upon reaching the top, we have spectacular panoramic views of the Barranc de l’Infern , at the foot of the Sierra de la Carrasca (on your left)…
Panoramic view of the Barranc de l'Infern to the north
View from Juvees de Dalt
We are in les Juvees de d’Alt , where we find several houses in ruins and a couple of cisterns. From here, we begin a new descent towards the so-called Barranc de Racons, a tributary of the . At this point in the route, the stone steps seem to be better preserved.
Immediately we reach the bottom of the Barranc de Racons , and we begin the last, sinuous and staggered ascent. In the middle of it, we reach a natural viewpoint where we must necessarily stop and take a deep breath, the landscape is overwhelming…
We resume the march and, after one last steep climb, we finally finish our ascent from “hell”. We arrive at a beautiful area of terraced fields on the outskirts of Benimaurell, “the village above”.
Benimaurell and refreshment at Fleix
The path leads us to the asphalt road that, if we follow it to the right, will take us to La Venta del Collao, a restaurant with an exceptional location.
To finish the circular route of the Barranc de l’Infern, we follow the asphalt to the left, gently descending, and soon we reach the recreational area of the Font dels Olbis, where the arrival of autumn is noticeable.
Shortly after, we cross the village and arrive at the Font de Benimaurell, next to the village washing place.
This can be a good place to take a last rest and/or replenish fluids. From here to Fleix we only have a gentle walk following the paved path between terraces.
As we walk, among the trees appears the silhouette of the Serra del Cavall Verd or Serra del Penyó, on which the three villages of the Vall de Laguar are located: Campell, Fleix and Benimaurell.
Views towards the Serra del Penyó (Cavall Verd)
Views towards Benimaurell
Tired but very happy, we go through the last steps while we comment on the anecdotes of the day. We complete the route, we close this “magic circle” of the Vall de Laguar. As I said at the beginning, an essential excursion in Alicante , for all lovers of nature, history and the culture of our land…
Track for GPS
Although the PR-CV 147 short-distance trail is perfectly signposted, I leave you here the gps track on wikiloc , in case you want to download it and take it as a support.
How to get there / Parking
Finally, I leave you the location of the recommended parking next to the start of the route in Fleix. Keep in mind that this is a fairly popular route and on weekends it is possible for the parking lot to fill up. You will be able to park in the surrounding area, always respecting private property. Thank you for taking care of the environment!
Do not miss...
The Route of the 8 Villages of the Vall de Gallinera
The Route of the 8 Towns is a linear route through agricultural paths of the Vall de Gallinera, connecting the 8 picturesque towns of this beautiful valley of the Marina Alta.
Links of interest
- Vall de Laguar Town Hall
- The PR CV-181 , another path in the Vall de Laguar
- The Cavall Verd massacre , article in El País
- 400 years since the expulsion of the Moors