This is one of the best walking trails that I have experienced lately. A magnificient route that combines crystal clear waters, the River Matarraña as it bends through the gorge and narrows uphill, an iron route, and a walking trail along the heights of Els Ports.
It turned out to be a magnificient, long, compelling route. If you can’t wait, I’ll save you from scrolling down: download my Wikiloc track here (with a description in Spanish).
El Parrizal: the best trekking route in Beceite.
You have to head to Beceite (Matarraña county, Teruel, Aragón) and from there follow the signs to El Parrizal. A paved piste will take you to the Pla de la Mina, where you can park the car. The access is limited and you have to pay 4 euros (per car) to get there.
The first part of the hike, from the Pla de la Mina until a little bit before Els Estrets is easy, without slopes, but right before the Estrets, and if you want to continue the track, you’ll have to detour from the main path. Otherwise you’ll get to The Estrets and you won’t be able to cross them, the gorge gets really narrow over here and there aren’t any aids. It’s just you and the river, up for swimming? Not in our case, so as I said we have to take the detour up to the Pas de Romeret. It’s tough because: a) the path is very steep, b) there’s virtually no path, you have to find the blue stars painted on the stones to orientate and c) it has flight steps, and there’s an iron-equipped line (I wouldn’t call it ‘via ferrata’) because it has no iron cable just the iron rugs and and iron chain. By taking this detour, you’ll get to Les Gúbies del Parrizal and you’ll be able to proceed through the Estrets. At this point, water level was very low (in April, can you imagine?) but I’ve read that you may need to cross the waters or just swim again.
The river gets all your attention, but do not forget to look up, because the amazing stuff is up there: a sky threatened by karst rocks and spires.
Once there, be careful and check our waypoint: “Fin seguimiento estrellas azules”. At that point, if you keep following the blue starred path, you’ll divert from our track and head towards Barranc La Coscollosa. So, pay attention and keep walking, even if you see a blue cross. The sign towards Barranc d’Espada is unmissable, there’s a clear path on your left and milestones. It gets steep again and you’ll be gaining height at a good pace. This part of the track is less humid but it’s a nice way to come back to the starting point: now at the heights of the gorge, closer to the vultures that flock this region and the karst spires that seem to touch the sky.
What a beautiful not-so-hidden gem El Parrisal is.
- What’s the best moment of the year? I did this route in April. I’d say Spring and Fall, weather and rain permitting of course (as usual. Be careful with sudden rising water in case of heavy rains).
- How long did it take you? 6:30 including breaks.
- A tip: enjoy some good beer at Terraza Pont-Nou. Very small, next to the road, very nice owner. A great way to finish an amazing day at Beceite.