Let me share with you new routes for nature lovers I´ve discovered in the Province of Valencia. These are 10 epic hikes in Castellon you simply can´t miss. Hiking is definitely one of the best travel choices in our modern gadget-overloaded world, don´t you think so?
10 Epic Hikes in Castellon you can´t miss
More Local Hikes
To put it short – the past 2 years have completely changed my travel preferences while switching from the global focus to the local one. Let´s be honest – lately, the entire world has been living by the famous Marcel Proust´s quote which says “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” If your travel choices are limited, you need to be more creative and look for the new in the ordinary.
So, never have I ever traveled that much across my place of residence – The Valencian Community, which includes the Provinces of Castellon, Alicante, and Valencia.
I´m literally leaving no stone unturned.
But what´s even more surprising – I keep discovering some authentic hidden gems of Valencia. It´s a strange feeling – like these were literally waiting for me all these years right around the corner. Marcel Proust might be right at the end of the day – we all need “new eyes” every once in a while to keep our wanderlust fueling.
Becoming a hiking junkie
Additionally, lately we´ve all been forced subjects of a trend to avoid overcrowded cities and opt for the lonesome walks with nature. Better safe than sorry.
Therefore, hiking in the nearest regions of Valencia, Alicante, and Castellon has become my main travel activity of the past years, as well as my ultimate wanderlust pill. No wonder I´ve recently become an authentic hiking junkie and a Saturday without a massive hike already feels like the wrong kind of weekend. Habit is a second nature they say. But it´s definitely a good one.
So, to start this blog series of hiking adventures in Spain, let me share with you 10 epic hikes in Castellon.
Hiking in Castellon: Top Hiking Trails You´ll Love
1. San Joan de Penyagolosa
Distance: 9,65 km
The San Joan de Penyagolosa Mount is the highest peak (1,814 m) of the Valencian Community.
Although we’ve partially done it with kids this summer, the last time we (me and my husband) have done the full route to the top it was just the two of us. Kids 10+ y.o will have no problems, but it might be a bit challenging for the younger ones (even though I’ve seen people with toddlers on the route, but they would often carry them inside the child carrier backpacks).
Also, years ago you could leave your car halfway through, which made the route shorter and tracking towards the peak more family-friendly. However, right now the whole area of the Penyagolosa Natural Park has restricted access for vehicles, and the parking is located in a small village of San Joan de Penyagolosa. This is where you leave your car and follow the marked trail towards The San Joan de Penyagolosa Mount.
2. La Senda de las Trincheras / Jerica
Distance: 13 km
Jerica is one of the most popular nature getaway ideas for the residents of the cities of Valencia and Castellon ( it is only a 1h-long drive from both).
Jerica is also known in Spain as one of the main stops on the popular biking route La Via Verde de Ojos Negros ( from Santa Eulalia del Campo/ Teruel to Algeria de Alfara/Valencia).
The hiking trail La Senda de las Trincheras goes through the military trenches of Republican defense from the times of the Spanish Civil War. While we’ve managed to do this route with kids, it actually has a cumulative elevation gain of 500 m. As the trail takes you through the woods and you travel up and down all the time you just don’t really notice it. After we’ve explored the military trenches called Trincheras de la Vegatilla, on our way back to Jerica we simply descended to the nearest road taking us back to the small town of Jerica, as the kids felt a bit tired after the first part of the route.
Also read: Must-See Magical Forests in Spain
If you plan to add to your hiking in Castellon itinerary La Senda de las Trincheras, you should also stop by La Vuelta de La Hoz area. While this place is located in the opposite direction from the hiking route, it’s a nice natural setting to have a picnic and walk around a bit. You can stop by before or after your Jerica hike.
3. Ruta de la Senda del Rio / Teresa
Distance: 10 km
Ruta de la Senda del Rio is one of my favorite hikes in Castellon. It starts at La Fuente del Batan in the small town of Teresa.
While I’ve done this hiking trail in the August peak season and there were lots of families having picnics near La Fuente del Batan, once passed the wooden sign La Senda Del Rio, there was no one around.
I haven´t encountered a single person on this very same route. What a relief after the busy Route of the Hanging Bridges of Chulilla!
As a huge plus comes the fact that most of the trail you walk in the shadow along the local river. It´s really a game-changer for the summer hiking in Castellon and Valencia.
You can read more details about this hike in another travel story.
4. Castillo de Gaibiel / Gaibiel
Distance: 4 km
The hiking route towards the Castle of Gaibiel or Castillo de Gaibiel is one of our family favorites. It’s the only hike so far our kids keep asking to repeat.
Gaibiel is a small town in the Spanish Province of Castellon, with a population of fewer than 200 people. The beautiful natural setting owes its green palette of colors to the nearby La Sierra de Espadán Natural Park. Gaibiel is conveniently located near both cities of Valencia and Castellon (a 1h-long drive from both), so it’s a perfect Valencia day trip to clear up the mind and recharge. Also, you can make the most of your visit and stop at The Bride´s Jump Waterfall in Navajas on the way to Gaibiel.
The town of Gaibiel has a small castle, but in order to access it, you need to hike through the local woods. According to the archeological finds some elements of the castle date back to the XII century. Despite the Spanish Reconquista of Valencia in 1238, the town´s population was Muslim till 1609, when The Expulsion of the Moriscos Decree was issued.
Also read: The Prettiest Flower Fields in Spain
Officially, the castle is supposed to be open from 10.00 a.m to 19.00 p.m, but we visited around 18.30 p.m and the door was closed. On some Spanish websites, I´ve found information that one must ask for the key in a local City Hall, but others clearly stated the castle door was open and there was no key needed. Next time I´ll check this info in the City Hall and update my post.
You can read more details about this epic hike in Castellon in here.
5. Ruta Roja de la Sierra d´Irta / Alcossebre
Distance: 9 km
Sierra d´Irta National Park is one of the most popular destinations for hiking in Castellon. Ruta Roja (or The Red Route) is just one of the itineraries in the area. But I particularly enjoyed it because the trail demonstrates a unique combination of greenery, pine forests, and a gorgeous Mediterranean coastline.
Also read: Top 10 Epic Road Trips in Spain
The hike starts at Cala Blanca in the small town of Alcossebre. First, you walk through the red paved road for a short while, and then you can take one of the trails either along the coastline or through the woods. While it´s not as crowded as The Route of the Hanging Bridges in Valencia, it’s still a popular hiking route.
To kill two birds with one stone, you can also visit the nearby town of Peñiscola (a Game of Thrones filming location and one of the dreamiest castles in Spain) or Benicarlo (with its Artichoke Gastronomic Weeks in February and Jardin del Papagayo Park).
6. Ruta del Nacimiento de rio Palancia / Bejis
One of the most beautiful hikes in Castellon we’ve discovered this Autumn is definitely Ruta del Nacimiento de Rio Palancia in the small town of Bejis. While the Valencia Region is not generally rich in the fall-foliage landscapes, Bejis is one of the hidden colorful corners for the whole province.
This hike begins at La Fuente de los Cloticos, you need to follow the sign towards Nacimiento de Rio Palancia. Aside from the beautiful Autumn colors on the road, at the end of the route, you’ll discover an impressive gorge. As to the difficulty level: the first half of the route is wide and plane, while the second is all about rocky trails in the woods. Which, in our case, was doable with two toddlers (3 and 4 y.o), plus they´ve enjoyed more the second part with the rocky trail.
7. Ruta de los Olivos Milenarios / Canet lo Roig
Distance: 5,8 km
The Millenary Olive Trees route (or “Ruta de los olivos milenarios” in Spanish) is a circular hiking trail in Canet lo Roig full of ancient olive trees. Many of them are more than 2000 years old and have been present in the region since the times of the Roman Empire in Spain. The olive giants definitely belong on the list of Otherworldly Landscapes in Spain.
For centuries, these olives were a source of oil for the locals. It´s unbelievable how many generations have passed away during these 2000 years and the millenary olive trees are still here. Although the Greek island of Crete is known for the oldest olive trees in the world (a few of which are estimated at over 3000 years old). So, it appears those at Canet lo Roig still have a lot to catch up on after all.
Once you get to Canet lo Roig and park your car, head all the way down the hill, towards the fields in order to take the route SL-CV-58, which starts at Canal’s Fountain (“Font de la Canal”) and will take you to the monumental olive trees.
A small village of Canet lo Roig has the largest number of Millenary Olive trees in Valencia ( around 1 131 trees back in 2019). The nearby villages of Traiguera and San Mateu, also have their own millenary olive tree routes.
You can read more about this hike here.
8. Senda Botanica de Calduch / Villareal
Senda Botanica de Calduch is a very local and beautiful route along the river Mijares in the Spanish town of Villareal. The hiking route starts at local park El Termet and takes one towards the medieval bridge of Santa Quiteria in Almassora. It´s not a circular route, so after you reach the Almassora´s bridge you´ll follow the same trail back to Villareal. While there are no significant elevations along Senda Botanica de Calduch, the trail often gets quite narrow.
While the route itself is beautiful, its proximity to the town of Villareal makes the trail quite popular among the locals. So besides hikers, you´ll mostly encounter people jogging or walking with dogs. It´s not as busy as Ruta Roja of Sierra d´Irta or the Route of the Hanging Bridges of Chulilla, but yet not as solitary as many other hikes in Castellon.
9. Ruta de los Molinos / Lucena del Cid
Distance: 17 km
Ruta de los Molinos is located in the small town of Lucena de Cid. It is so far the longest one on my list of favorite hikes in Castellon.
Keep in mind that while the area is popular during the summer months and has a few places to swim, on a sunny day there´s almost nowhere to hide from the heat along the route. As in my case, we´ve experienced Ruta de los Molinos in early September, and I wouldn´t return during the summer heat again.
To start the hiking trail once you park at Lucena del Cid, head downwards to La Badina and cross the hanging bridge. Then head right towards ancient watermills Moli del Tonero and Moli de Pon. The route is well marked and you´ll encounter more ruins of ancient watermills on your way (most of them will have informative panels nearby).
The popular swimming areas along Ruta de los Molinos are La Badina and Toll de Carlos.
10. Ruta Sendero de los Estrechos / Montanejos
While Ruta Sendero de los Estrechos in Montanejos seems like a relatively short route, it might be the most challenging one on this list of best hikes in Castellon. Mainly because you´ll walk along the Mijares river, which flows through a 25-meter-wide gorge with walls exceeding 100 m in some areas.
You might have already gotten a quick glimpse of Montanejos swimming area in my posts about Valencia Day Trips and Top Places to Visit in The Province of Castellon. Long ago this beautiful natural setting was chosen by the Arabs as a perfect leisure spot: here they´ve built their thermal baths. But since 1863 locals could enjoy the Montanejos hot springs all year round – the water temperature is always around 25 ºC.
So if you´re aiming for a nice swim after the hike, let me warn you that Montanejos is very popular during the summer months. Although as I´ve done the hike Ruta Sendero de los Estrechos in December, I haven´t encountered a single person on the route.
11. Ruta Raco del Fraire / Sant Mateu
Near the small town of Sant Mateu (the one we previously visited for the Spanish Medieval Fairs), you can find a beautiful natural setting of Raco del Fraire. This hike can be defined as a moderate one. Although we went with kids (only because the was not enough info online) – I do not consider this route a child-friendly one.
Nevertheless, the views and the itinerary itself were so unique and beautiful. Additionally, we´ve seen only 2 people during the whole route -which would be impossible with the Valencia hikes. What I also did not like about Raco del Fraire is that the route was poorly marked and at some point, we saw an area full of cattle with a fragile fence.
I´ll leave you the trail link at the local website of Sant Mateu.