It is considered the highest peak in the Valencian Community par excellence, the second highest peak in the Valencian Community surpassed only by the Alto de las Barracas (Cerro Calderón), also in the province of Castellón and is part of the Network of Natural Parks of the Valencian Community.
Mount Sant Joan de Penyagolosa covers an area of 1,094.45 hectares, and its highest peak is 1,814 m above sea level.
There are many vestiges of the villages that lived and passed through Penyagolosa; thus in the surroundings of the park there are Iberian settlements, remains of Roman roads, etc.
The sanctuary of Sant Joan receives five pilgrimages a year, including one from the province of Teruel and another from Les Useres.
The Penyagolosa is the most important peak for Valencians and also a reference point for hiking. Its peaks, hills, paths and even cliffs have been part of the lives of several generations of mountaineers.
Pine forests dominate, both red and black pine, but maple, linden, honey oak, holly, wild apple and yew trees also abound, of which the largest population in the Valencian lands is found here. Rare plants grow on the rocks at the top, including the Cavanilles geranium, named after its discoverer, a Valencian botanist.
With regard to the fauna, the concentration of birds of prey, especially the golden eagle, is remarkable. In recent years the vultures have returned. Among the mammals, the mountain goat and small insectivores such as the shrew and the vole stand out. In the pine forests you can see various forest birds, such as the red-billed chough. Two butterflies stand out, the Apollo and the Graelsia Isabellae.
Located between the municipalities of Vistabella del Maestrat, Xodos and Villahermosa del Río, it is a major geographical landmark and a cultural reference point deeply rooted in Valencian tradition.
Climbing the Penyagolosa peak
Realisation time: 45 min.
Difficulty level: medium-high
Difference in level: 300 m.
The ascent to the peak is a continuation of the Red Route of the Barranc de la Pegunta.The route of the Barranc de la Pegunta begins in the parking lot of the forest nurseries, next to the hermitage of Sant Joan de Penyagolosa and goes through the micro-reserve of flora of the Pegunta to the Banyadera and the Corralico (you can see all the information of the red route here).From the esplanade of El Corralico, we will take the zigzagging path through a Scots pine forest that will help us gain altitude quickly.
Stop 1.Halfway up we find a small building. From here we have gained altitude and the first farmhouses can be seen above the mountain. Little by little we leave the wooded area, finding vegetation at a higher altitude more adapted to the cold and poor soils: creeping juniper (Juniperus sabina), nun's cushions (Erinaceum anthyllis) and Penyagolosa herb (Erodium celtibericum). From here we have the summit a stone's throw away, although it will still make us sweat a little more in its last stretch.
Stop 2.Once we reach the summit we will enjoy one of the best panoramic views of the Valencian Community. On clear days it is easy to see the Montgó and the high mountains of the Marina, the Columbretes islands and the Ebro delta.
The descent is done by the same route always following the path to avoid the erosion of the soil of this fragile and unique place.