Route Bestracà and Sant Miquel d'Hortmoier Route 4 Parishes of Alta Garrotxa

The Hortmoier valley is one of the jewels in the crown of L’Alta Garrotxa. Humid and for the most part densely forested, it is surrounded by tall cliffs and has but one entrance via a narrow gorge – El Pas dels Lliberals – where water flows all-year round

Modality
  • By foot
Region
  • Garrotxa
  • Ripollès
Towns
  • Camprodon
  • Montagut i Oix
Time
  • More than 4 hours
Difficulty
  • High
Time
  • 5h45min
Distance
  • 17,5Km
Hide elevation maximum
  • 811m
Hide elevation minimum
  • 341m
Ascent
  • 734m
Descent
  • 734m
Thematic
  • Parishes Alta Garrotxa routes

In the village of Oix, walk up the main street to signpost G9 Camí del Pairé, where you should follow the direction ‘Sant Andreu de Bestracà’. Continue up the street leaving behind the last houses in the village. At the end, turn left along a track as indicated by the paint marks until they point you left again along a path. Start to climb but come back out soon on to the track. Cross straight over and continue climbing with good views back down to Oix.

Eventually, you reach the track again, which you should follow to the right up to the Oix-Beget road. Cross straight over and continue up the dirt track on the other side, which takes you to the splendid old house of El Pairer d’Oix, from where there are magnificent views up to a rocky ridge, Serra de Bestracà.

After the house, the track heads into a holm-oak forest and climbs to signpost G8 Coll de Bestracà, where you are pointed onwards to ‘Sant Andreu de Bestracà’.  At signpost AG5 Sant Andreu de Bestracà, it is worth detouring to the church of Sant Andreu along a track that heads uphill past the house of Bestracà and on to the church itself. Once you have visited the church, retrace your steps to AG5, turn right and start down the path that leads into the valley of Hortmoier.

Follow the path past a natural spring, Font de Bestracà, where there is a drinking trough for cattle. A few metres further on, pass a pond, after which the path starts to drop gently downhill through a mixed oak and pine forest. Cross a stream, Torrent de la Rabassa, and continue along a relatively level path until you reach the ruins of a house, Can Jepet. From here, the path starts to zigzag downhill to another house, Can Passalaigua. Here, pick up a track, turn right and head down towards signpost AG6 La Farga, where you should follow the indications for ‘Església de Sant Miquel d’Hortmoier’.

Follow the track as far as La Farga, where you pick up a path that continues straight on over a stream. Wind uphill and wherever the forest opens up, enjoy the views across the valley to the peak of Comanegra (1557m). Follow the paint marks as far as a clearing, Collada dels Muls. Continue ahead to reach the abandoned house of Les Feixanes, where you will come to a track that starts to drop down into the Hortmoier Valley. This track takes you down to a large open space with another ruined house, Coll Joell, standing on a small knoll to the north. Just after the house there is a natural spring, Font de Coll Joell. The track winds down to a metal gate with on the other side signpost AG7 Riera de Beget that points you on to the church of Sant Miquel d’Hortmoier. Turn left, cross the river, Riera de Beget, and then almost immediately turn right to come to two enormous oaks, known as the King’s Oaks (Roures del Rei). Follow the track, cross a stream and then pick up a track heading off to the left. After a short climb you come to a large open space with the church behind it. Once you have visited the church retrace your steps to signpost AG7.

Back at the signpost, turn left and follow the track as far as signpost AG8 La Plantada. Continue on towards Oix, crossing soon a cattle grid and gradually leaving the marvellous Hortmoier valley. On the other side of the river halfway up the cliff you can see a path marked by a low retaining wall. This spot is known as ‘Liberal’s Leap’ because during the Third Carlist War Liberal prisoners from the village of La Pobla de Lillet were thrown off the cliff edge here by the followers of the pretender to the Spanish throne, Carlos de Borbón.

The track takes you to signpost MiO5 Carretera d’Hortmoier, which points you on to Oix. Cross El Pont Trencat, a high bridge in need of some repairs and with a hole in the ground in the middle that acts as a drain. On the other side at signpost MiO4 Pont Trencat, continue on towards Oix along the track. Cross a ford, after which the track at first climbs and then gently heads downhill. Cross the dry river bed a couple of more times (there is only water after heavy rain) and head up past a restored farm with stables, Can Pei. A little further on you pass below a working farm and then on to road from Oix to Beget. Keep straight on and in a few minutes you’ll be back in Oix.