Route of the Santa Llúcia de Puigmal ravine and natural pools. Ruta 1 Sant Joan les Abadesses

A route that travels through beech and oak forests; you can visit the waterfalls and natural pools of Santa Llúcia and the Torrents stream and also the 12th century Romanesque church.

  • Modality
    • By foot
  • Region
    • Ripollès
  • Towns
    • Sant Joan de les Abadesses
  • Time
    • Less than 3 hours
  • Difficulty
    • Medium
  • Estimated duration
    • 2h 40min
  • Distance
    • 7,8 km
  • Hide elevation maximum
    • 1050
  • Hide elevation minimum
    • 750

We begin the route at Collada de Santigosa , on the border between La Garrotxa and El Ripollès. About 7 kms from Sant Joan les Abadesses. We find the crossroads of Itinerànnia SJA1. We will go towards the Santa Llúcia natural pool. We go down an old logging trail that runs parallel to the GI-521 road. As we walk, our route moves away from the road and approaches the Santa Llúcia de Puigmal ravine. 
We go through some beech forests, always following the Itinerànnia yellow markers. We easily cross over small ravines that come down from the Puig Estela mountain range, as the majority only have water after periods of heavy rain.
We follow the trail until the yellow markers make us turn left to go down to the Santa Llúcia de Puigmal natural pool.
Once we have visited the pool, we cross the ravine and the landscape changes. We leave the beech forest behind us to enter an oak forest. The path zig-zags upwards until reaching the Casa Gran ruins. This farmhouse was one of the most important in the area and was inhabited until the 1950s. As a result of being abandoned and a lightning strike, it was covered in vegetation within a few years and today only part of the barn remains.
We continue following the marks until we find the Itinerànnia post for SJA3 Camí de Santa Llúcia de Puigmal. Here we turn left and walk along a maintenance path for the high-voltage power line, which we have crossed at Casa Gran, until we find another crossroads, the SJA2 Sota Santa Llúcia de Puigmal, where we turn right to go to the natural pools of the Torrents stream. 
We take a forest path that is only suitable for 4x4 vehicles, which leads to Vall de Bianya. We walk along this path until we reach a pronounced bend: here there is a sign that explains the formation of the pumice or travertine waterfalls. We turn left and take a path that, after crossing a small bridge, reaches the Cascades de Pedra pool of the Torrents riverbed. 

It is interesting to observe the formation of travertine or pumice, a type of rock formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate from the water onto moss and traces of plants, which give it strange shapes similar to petrified waterfalls.

Once we have visited this place, we go back to the SJA2 marker. Here we continue straight on and after 5 minutes we reach the church of Santa Llúcia in Puigmal and the fountain of the same name.
The church is Romanesque and dates from 913.
After visiting the church, we take the path that sets off from the side of the fountain. In ancient times, this path connected the Vall de Bianya with Sant Joan de les Abadesses.
 We pass through the oak forests, where we find remains of terraces that show the area used to be farmed and we also find traces of a charcoal pile which indicates there was a very important charcoal industry.
We continue along the path until we reach a logging trail. We climb upwards little by little, always following the yellow markers, until they tell us to turn right to find the forest path that leads to Santa Llúcia de Puigmal. Once on the path, we will arrive at our starting point, the Collada de Santigosa, in less than 10 minutes.