Milany Castle from Vallfogona de Ripollès
The Sierra de Milany is a great unknown to the general public. Proof of this is that practically no one will meet us doing this route and that some paths are not very well trodden. This is precisely the grace of this mountain range: kilometers and kilometers where the beech is the lord and master of a hidden corner of the Pre-Pyrenees. A great excursion to do in the fall.
Difficulty: moderate. The main difficulty is orientation when the leaves fall. All the way is well marked with GR and PR signs, although at some points it will be good to consult the GPS.
Difference in altitude: 544 m
Time: between 5 and 6 hours depending on pace and stops
Kilometers: 16.8 km
Variants: An alternative for the descent would be through the Fuente de la Tosca and the Torrent de la Masica. So run off quite around. As other options, you can get to Milany Castle from the southern slope from Vidrá or Llaés, or from a track that approaches us.
Access: We arrive at Vallfogona on the N-260a that goes from Ripoll to Olot for Vallfogona and Coll de Canes. We leave the car in the nucleus of Vallfogona and start walking from the town towards the medieval bridge of Vallfogona.
We start the route towards the Castle of Milany. During the climb, we will follow the signs for the GR-3 / GR-151.1, one of the Caminos del Abad Oliba. We will start but going down to the Medieval Bridge to cross the Riera de Vallfogona.
On the other side of the bridge, we turn right (a signpost points us to Castillo de Milany 6 km away). We continue along a section of cobblestone road, very beautiful, between boxwood and hazelnut trees. The trail climbs and we gain altitude quickly through the forest. We will always follow the GR and yellow marks that will be especially useful in some meadows where there are other cattle and cattle trails. We crossed several fences of cattle (we get to count to 7), and we also crossed a forest track. From here, we already have a magnificent view of the town of Vallfogona and the entire valley. Soon, we found another track with a signpost.
Now we continue for a long half hour (2.5 km) along the forest track that climbs much more smoothly. This track, according to the ICC, is called Camino del Bac de la Portella. The path borders the Portella and faces south. Progressively, we leave the red pine forest and enter the beech forest, increasingly lush. Around Todos los Santos has incredible ocher tones.
After a bend in the track in the Torrent de Can Cuc, we leave the track and go up to the left along a path that goes up the side of the canal (we will find signs for the GR). During the way up the road, we will cross several old forest tracks. This section is all beech with boxwood undergrowth.
After about 20-30 minutes we will reach another forest track where we turn to the right, direction West and go up the side of the track to avoid making more turns. Finally, we find a path that goes up to Cuello de Milany where we reach the end of the ridge.
From this point we already see Milany's Castle, now we only need to finish crowning this summit by passing the side of the track and doing a small climb where a couple of pins will help us put our hands if necessary. From the castle (in restoration works as of 2019), we go up to the viewpoint of the tower from where we will perfectly see the entire Pre-Pyrenees from La Garrotxa to Pedraforca, apart from all the Ripollès and the beech trees that cover the surroundings. To the south, the Montseny and Bellmunt peaks stand out.
We descend from the castle and return to Coll de Milany along the track. Now we will continue practically all the time along the ridge to Santa Magdalena de Cambrils. Immediately, we leave the track and take a path on the left. From now on we will only look at the PR-C 59 marks that will take us to Santa Magdalena de Cambrils in a matter of 1h 15 'approx.
During this section, we will pass several fences of the cows' yarn and we will alternate stretches of meadows and stretches of beech. The forest covers a good part of the views, but it will allow us to enjoy a magnificent and silent environment.
Progressively, the path is blurred by the effect of the beech leaves, especially in autumn. We go down to the neck of the Espinal where an electric line passes. We cross the neck and continue, now uphill, until we recover the ridge thread, slightly on the southern slope. In the stretches of meadow, we will have to look at the marks to avoid losing our way.
We passed through the neck of Trevija and finally reached Santa Magdalena de Cambrils, a small hermitage on top of a hill. The beech environment is very beautiful. An indicator sign marks the various routes to get here: from Collfred, Vidrà, etc. We will continue towards Vallfogona, which marks 2h30 '.
From the hermitage, we turn back, cross a fence and go down a path heading Northwest, indicated with PR marks. The path goes down quickly. We cross a forest track and, further down, we come to another forest track that we will follow for about 300m towards the Northwest. In a curve, we will take a path (marked with PR milestones and signs) and we go down north to the Plan de Puigvassall. At this point, we turn onto a track to the left to Puigvassall's house.
When we get to the house, we skirt it to the right and continue along the path it plans and go north. Important not to deviate in any of the trails that are near the house: we are going to look at the PR marks and purple points.
In half an hour we will reach the bottom of the valley, on the concrete track that Camping Mas La Bauma. We follow it a section and further down we turn left. We pass by some camping cabins and continue down the track going down gently. From here we could continue directly along the track to the town. We follow it for a stretch, but then we take the PR path that goes down until we cross the Riera de Vallfogona and you will find the track right next to the stream. In this way, we do a little shortcut. Finally, we reach the town by track and complete this interesting circular route.
Authors photographs and text: Sergi Boixader