Aitana-Guadalest Mountain Circuit *****
Costa Blanca Mountain Biking
Route - This ambitious route tackles three major cols
and takes in some of the best views in the region. All the riding
is on tracks and roads, the majority of the tracks are well maintained
and all of it is rideable by a fit rider. Some of the sections
are rough though and care must be taken after rain as some sections
can be very slippery.
It is possible to do some of the sections by
themselves as independent shorter rides.
Starting in Finestrat take the road to Sella
(10 km), try to resist the urge for a cafe stop and continue
on the main road through the village and on towards Alcoi. You
will see signs for Aitana Safari. A few km's past the village
the road cuts into a ravine and on a sharp hairpin take the minor
road with a sign for Benifato. Climbing steeply now you enter
a hidden valley with impressive cliffs high up on your left.
After a few more km's of climbing you come the sign for the German
Riding Stables. Carry on through some hairpins and through a
wooded area and shortly after passing a water tank the tarmac
ends and the first section on track starts. Follow this track,
still climbing, through great scenery. You are now high above
the Sella Valley (on your right). Make a left turn a few metres
before a small ruin and make sure you stop to enjoy the spectacular
views on the next section of track as it heads for the first
col (1100 Metres). You can look down on some of the route to
come. Beneath the dominating mountain of the Puig Campana (with
it's unmistakable notch) you will see the long bristly ridge
of the Monte Castalletes. The route heads round the North end
of this ridge, look closely and you can see the track in the
forest below you.
The next few km's are tough cycling over sections
of steep rough track, but the reward is a sudden surprise view
over the mountainous Guadalest Valley. Dropping steeply now the
track, rough in places, cuts back into the hillside and takes
you under some immense white North facing Cliffs. Take the first
junction on your right, along another track which switches back
sharp right. You soon meet another junction, take the left fork
here and descend quickly on smooth red track before a right turn
at a T junction taking you past almond groves and past a small "casita" (farm
down steeply now the track leads to a popular font and
picnic area. Here our route traverses along the hillside
and eventually we reach a section of newly surfaced track,
and the next climb starts. This is a fairly short climb
but gradually the gradient increases until in the last
hundred metres it rears up and keeping any forward momentum
is an extreme effort. You're soon on the long decent
to towards Sella, watch out for the fast gravel laden
bends and the occasional "lumps" built
to deflect water (or surprise mountain bikers?). You will
now get tremendous views of the Sella Divino, a monumental
crag (the first part of the route took you almost to
the summit of this).
At the obvious junction near a climbers
refuge take the signposted track to Finestrat (14km) and
the penultimate section of climbing, a stiff section past
the popular rock faces of Sella crag. At a col the view
opens up and the final section of the ride comes into view.
A short descent and then a gradual ascent through the woods
and under the rock faces towards the col between the awesome
west face of the Puig Campana and the end of the Monte
Castalletes Ridge. The climb is stiff enough in places
and your legs should be begging for mercy by now!
The last col appears and from here it
is virtually all downhill to Finestrat. Cafes, Restaurants,
and a siesta beckon!
This route can be started from anywhere on the
circuit, other good starting points would be Confrides or Benifato
in the Guadalest valley.
You can view some panoramic images of the Puig
Campana on our panoramas page and
some video clips on the movies page