A mountain bike tour through one of the highest and most amazing landscapes in the Region of Valencia.
This cycling tour of the highest part of the Rincón de Ademuz region is part of the Mountain Bike Routes Network designed ten years ago by Juan Antonio Barrachina for exploring and enjoying this little known area. The route was published by the organisation known as the Mancomunidad de Municipios Rincón de Ademuz in the guide produced by Enarco Cooperativa Valenciana, with information supplied by the Association for the Integrated Development of Rincón de Ademuz (ADIRA, Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral del Rincón de Ademuz). I was lucky enough to work with Juan back then, mainly by providing photographs of the various routes included in the network.
The fantastic landscapes in this region, with major altitude differences in such a small area of land, give it great diversity and a huge variety of very different ecosystems, plus an extraordinary wealth of plant life. In fact, the highest point in the Region of Valencia is right here, at the top of Alto de las Barracas, also known as Cerro Calderón, a place name that was the result of a map-reading error almost a century ago. At 1,838 metres above sea level, Alto de las Barracas is, as we have said, the highest point in the Region of Valencia. The broad panorama you can see from the summit, which is shared with Aragón, is covered with savin juniper shrubs. Savin juniper is a unique kind of vegetation that forms an immense carpet of green staining the grey land and is well adapted to the harsh climate conditions of low temperatures and dry atmosphere. In fact, this unique landscape is only found in two other places in the world: the High Atlas mountains in Morocco and a small area in the Alps. This is the reason why it is protected was declared a Flora Micro-Reserve, as this virtually endemic vegetation is normally found in much colder climates. The area is a vestige of the Euro-Siberian landscape, dating back to when glaciers covered the earth and reached the Iberian Peninsula. When the ice cap melted, this type of vegetation remained only in isolated spots and extreme conditions, surviving up to the present day.
The route sets out from Puebla de San Miguel, and we recommend you take a tour round its streets first, visiting the two chapels and the church, as well as the Ethnological Museum. Now you cycle along the top of the Sierra Tortajada mountain range towards the village of Sesga, with its old and still well-preserved school. Follow the route towards Mas del Olmo and once you have crossed the town you climb up to Alto de las Barracas, passing the Canaleja water fountain and the "Pino de las Tres Garras" pine tree.
It's worthwhile stopping in Mira el Bueno, where there's a viewpoint from which you can gaze out across the whole of the deep Turia valley. The final stretch of this circular route descends towards Puebla de San Miguel, the starting point of your ride.