Route Ribelles and Sant Aniol (from Hostal de la Muga). Route 8 Parishes Alta Garrotxa

The church of Sant Julià de Ribelles is Romanesque and was consecrated in 947. Sant Aniol d’Aguja dates from the High Middle Ages and was a Benedictine monastery before being transformed into a parish church and sanctuary.

Thematic
Modality
  • By foot
Region
  • Alt Empordà
  • Garrotxa
Towns
  • Albanyà
  • Montagut i Oix
Time
  • More than 4 hours
Difficulty
  • High
Time
  • 6h15min
Distance
  • 14Km
Hide elevation maximum
  • 970m
Hide elevation minimum
  • 455m
Ascent
  • 1.006m
Descent
  • 1.006m

Start at Hostal de la Muga, a half-ruined farm that until 1992 also operated as an inn. Unfortunately, threats of eviction and the death of the innkeeper meant that this much beloved institution, a meeting place for hunters, walkers, tourists, gendarmes and local people alike, from both sides of the border, had to close.

Here you find signpost AE84 Hostal de la Muga, and you should head towards ‘Sant Julià i Sant Aniol’. Follow the track over the river Muga – here but a stream – and up to a small area of pastures where the paint marks point you to the right. Almost immediately you will see the ruins of Sant Corneli, a church with a single nave and a pointed-arch roof. However, today only the north-facing and south-facing walls remain standing, along with the chancel arch and the apse. Here too you will find signpost AG13 Sant Corneli, from where you should continue on towards ‘Sant Julià de Ribelles’.

Continue along a rough track, ignoring the left turns, until it narrows into a path. As you climb, the forest thins out and gives way to scrub and eventually you come to the track from Hostal de la Muga to Sant Julià de Ribelles. Turn left along the track until the yellow marks point you up to the right along a path climbing into an area of pastures.

Soon, the path re-enters the forest and crosses a gully, now in a holm-oak forest with a box understorey. The path is relatively flat since it was once used for beasts of burden and height had to be gained gradually. When the path passes on to the north face of the slope, the holm oaks give way to deciduous oaks and beech. Follow the contours until the path reaches an area of rock slabs, where it begins to drop somewhat more steeply. After levelling out a while, it reaches a forest track; turn left, and in just a few metres you’ll come out to the church of Sant Julià de Ribelles.

Continue towards Sant Aniol, heading down along the track and then on to a path that will take you on to a track that you have to cross at Can Queller. Continue along a path through box trees and then turn sharp left to come to a large oak, from where you drop down to a more open area known as Coll de la Bassa. Continue downhill through this downy-oak and box-tree forest to reach the ruined house of Can Llebre. From here, the path heads steeply downhill to a stretch along a cliff edge, which you should walk with care, and then down the steep Pujant d’en Llebre, which you should also take with caution. Once past these slightly more complicated sections, the path continues to drop quickly to Collet de Clarioles and signpost AG12. From here, head towards Sant Aniol d’Aguja, zigzagging down to the church.

Once you have visited the church, head back up to signpost AG12 but, rather than retracing your steps, continue on towards ‘Vilaroja’. Follow a level path through a holm-oak forest until it starts to zigzag uphill. This pass is known as Les Canals and was once the only trail that animals could negotiate on the route from Hostal de la Muga to the village of Tortellà.

The path eventually flattens out and drops gently to a stream, Riera de la Comella. Cross and head up to a dirt track. Cross the track and pick up a path slightly to the right. Pass under an abandoned house, La Comella, and then climb a little to almost reach the summit of a low outcrop, Puig de la Comella. From here, the path contours to signpost AE80 Coll de Prior, where you are signposted on to ‘Vilaroja’. From here head downhill and back to AG13 Sant Corneli, from where it’s a simple case of retracing your steps back to signpost AE84 Hostal de la Muga and the end of the walk.