|Puig Campana from
|Estimated net time||4-5 hours|
|Difficulty||The hike up the gully is a bit cumbersome because of a lot of loose gravel and stones.|
|Drinking water||No access to drinking water.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route (May 2009).|
|Parking||Room for many cars at trail head.|
|Start height||348 metres|
|Vertical metres||1060 metres for the roundtrip|
|Trip distance||8.2 km|
Parking and trail head above Finestrat.|
Start of path towards Puig Campana.
Turn right at this junction, 300 metres into the hike. Note the small cairn.
Follow the trail on the right hand side of loose rock up the gully.
Drive to Finestrat, approximately 7 km inland from Benidorm. Follow road road CV-758 through Finestrat, and turn uphill following signs for "Font del Moli". 1.1 km after leaving CV-758 you get to a gate. Drive through this gate and park on the right hand side. Alternatively drive another 1.0 km to a small car park at the start of a path.
Assuming you parked down by the gate, walk along the road for 1.0 km to where the path starts. Follow this path for 300 metres and turn right onto a path that goes east. This junction is marked by a small cairn on top of a big stone. This path will take you north-east towards the base of Puig Campana's south wall. The path can be a bit vague in places, but the general direction is north-east and later east, towards the distinct gully east of the south wall.
When you get to the gully make sure you cross the gully and follow the trail on the right hand side of the gully. This trail has a lot of loose gravel, but is much easier to hike than the gully itself.
A little before you get to the col you turn right and follow a path right (east) towards the summit. This path is marked with green paint. The summit is marked by a concrete cairn.
The descent route follows the ascent route, but there are plenty of alternatives down the north side of the col.
20. May 2009
This Wednesday was the fourth full day of our Alicante holiday, and the plan was to visit the highest mountain in the area, Aitana. I left Gran Vista early in the morning and took on the long drive to what I had found to be a good trail head for Aitana. When I got to the trail head I was stopped by two men, of whom one had a machine gun, and I understood I was next to a military area. I asked the guards if it was possible to walk up to Aitana from here, but their knowledge of English was close to zero, as too often is the case with the Spanish, and his gestures with the gun made it clear to me that it was no point trying to just walk past him. I did a second attempt, by point, speaking English, and using the few Spanish words I know, trying to find out if there were alternative trail heads for Aitana, but all they did was to tell me that I would not get past this point.
I got back into the car, extremely disappointed, and had another look at my road maps. I was pretty convinced that it was possible to get to the summit of Aitana, and the map even showed it as a view point. But after a few minutes I gave up and decided to hike Puig Campana instead, not terribly far away. The problem was that I wasn't very well prepared for Puig Campana in terms of trail head and route, but I remembered something about "Font del Moli" in Finestrat, and a route up a gully.
After having driven to Finestrat I followed the signs for "Font del Moli", and when I got to a tourist office I stopped and asked if this was a good trail head for Puig Campana. The guy at the tourist office didn't have English as his first language, but he managed to tell me that I could park just above the tourist office and follow the road uphill. I was a bit surprised that I couldn't drive further up, since the road was definitely suitable for driving, but I decided to follow his advice. Neither did it help that I wasn't able to understand much of the signs around the parking, except for words like "Prohibido" ...
I started my hike at 08:35 on what looked like being a very warm and nice day. But as far as I could figure it out I would be climbing the gully in shadows. After having walked around 1 km, and having messed around a little, I got to a small car park where there were four cars parked, and there was a path starting here. I decided to get onto this path, and also cursed myself a little for not having driven up here. After another 300 metres I noticed a small path turning off to the right, but from what I could see I should stay straight ahead, but a couple of hundred metres along this path I was convinced that I should have turn right at the last junction. So I turned around and found the path I passed a few minutes ago. After a little while this path I passed a group of five hikers, which I had met during my small de-tour a little earlier, and it turned out that they had made the same mistake. They were a team of Dutch climbers, planning to climb the south wall, and I chatted a little with one of them. When I told him about my plans to hike the gully he said he wasn't sure that was very doable. I immediately got a very tense feeling, as I wasn't ready for two major set backs in one day. But I decided to keep going, and left the Dutch behind in their modest tempo.
Soon after I overtook two men, of whom at least one looked very Spanish. I started with the usual "Hi; do you speak English", and the guy confirmed. We then had a longer chat, and I had found my man! His English was very good, not only by Spanish standards, and he seemed to know Puig Campana like I know something like Skulstadhornet at home. He confirmed that the gully was indeed a doable route, and he gave me a number of alternatives for my descent. I thanked him, and proceeded feeling about five stones lighter.
When I got to the gully I passed across to the right hand side, and soon understood what I had read and heard about loose rock, stones and gravel: it was very much two steps up and one down. But it was not difficult, just cumbersome and strenuous. And that is something I'm able to deal with. The gully took me about 30 minutes of hard work to complete, and from then it was easy hiking in much flatter terrain towards the summit.
At the summit it was the usual story; good views distracted by hazy conditions. While taking my summit photos I considered the descent options, and decided to follow the gully also back down. The main reason was that I considered it to be the quickest, and I wanted to get back to the family for tennis, swimming and football. Little did I know at the time that I would also end up doing Serra Grossa in the afternoon.
While walking back down, passing the south wall, I could see climbers in the below half way up the wall, and I assumed it was the Dutch team. But I had by now other things on my mind; I remembered that the car was almost out of petrol so I had to find a petrol station before I could head back. But I assumed that wouldn't be a problem. But it was. After having circled around Finestrat three times, based on directions given by the guy at the tourist office and a police officer who wasn't any use in English, I did one final attempt at asking someone for directions. This time I was lucky as I managed to stop three English ladies. They were able to tell me where to drive, and at the petrol station I also treated myself with the usual post hike Coke and chocolate. Then it was time for the motorway back to base, after a fairly eventful and good day.
A final note is that I have later learned that Aitana is indeed accessible for hikers, but from the east side, and not the west where I tried.