A Hike in the Barranco del Regajo

Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that Valencia is more than just a big city. The province is also home to quiet forests, deep ravines and rugged mountain chains, all waiting to be explored. We spent one April morning walking along the Regajo River, near the western border with Cuenca, in an effort to satisfy our intermittent desire to connect with nature.

This walk is described in “Caminando por la Comunidad Valenciana,” the fourth in a popular series of Valencian hiking books by Esteban Cuéllar. Available only in Spanish, the instructions are accurate and clearly-written, and cover the whole of the Valencian Community.

Our trail began at the Hermitage of San Marcos, near the town of San Marcos. We parked the car, checked out the small hermitage (which was closed), and then found the path just behind it. Within about ten minutes, we had reached the Mirador de las Grajas, where we had a view over the valley. The canyon a lot steeper and more wild than I had been expecting. Maybe we’d spent too long in the city. After months of asphalt, crowds and sidewalks, you start to forget what real nature looks like.

After reaching the canyon floor, we encountered the Regajo River, whose course we’d be following for most of the day. Near the riverbank was an old, disused watermill (the Molino de Benito), as well as the ruins of some long-abandoned houses.

Our trail would cross the water a few times, and although it’s not exactly a “raging river,” the Regajo has a few tricks up its sleeve. Once, while I was stepping out onto a stone, a low-lying vine caught my foot, bringing me crashing down into the water. Nothing was hurt except my pride, but I doubt the poor Regajo has ever suffered such an abusive torrent of English-language swearing.

As we neared the border with Cuenca, the nature became more beautiful, with groves of black poplar trees, fruit orchards, and the deep-red face of the canyon walls framing the river. The only sounds were the river bubbling at our feet and birds singing over our heads. All very tranquil and solitary, though we did encounter a few forest workers, a couple small snakes, and one panicked fox darting across a field.

At one point, the path disappeared under a ton of sticky, boot-swallowing earth. There had recently been a mudslide, and walking became a messy proposition. Difficult, but this was probably the highlight of the day — here, the walls of the canyon were multi-hued, full of yellows, grays, blues, reds and greens.

Just as our book suggested, the hike took about four hours to complete, and we arrived in the hilltop village of Sinarcas in time for lunch. At Bar Sinarcas, we ordered the menú del día: macaroni and chicken for Jürgen, garbanzo stew and cod for me, salad, bread, desert, coffee and wine for both, all for €10 apiece. Afterwards, we enjoyed a brief siesta on benches in the sun, and then headed back to Valencia. Our bellies were full, our bodies were tired, and our minds felt as though they’d been reset. A perfect escape from the city.

Locations on our Map: Ermita de San Marcos (Trailhead) | Bar Sinarcas

Our Route on Runtastic

New And Used Hiking Gear

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Alexander


    Thanks a lot for your blog. It is my reading of choice or addiction) based on the “manifest destiny” that I’ll move to Valencia one day. It is like sacred canons and envy porn at the same time.

    Question: Could you, please, help me localize the town of San Marcos? I was able to find the hermitage, but not the town.

    Thanks again for your blog. Keep spreading your joy so others like me feel motivated to ensue in our own pursuits.

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