At the foot of Cavall Bernat de Montserrat

At the foot of Cavall Bernat de Montserrat

It might seem that the least known and often wildest part of Montserrat is the westernmost area, between Can Maçana and Sant Jerònim. But between Sant Jerònim and the Monastery we also find very unprecedented routes and solitary strength with spectacular views of the entire Tebaida area, and especially on the most emblematic rock of the entire massif, the Cavall Bernat.

  • Difficulty: low-medium. It does not present any special difficulty but it is wilder than the routes that go to Sant Jerònim.
  • Elevation: 650 meters
  • Time: 1h15 'uphill (1h30' at a gentle pace or 50 'at a brisk pace) Between 1h15' and 2h back along the circular route.
  • Kilometers: 13 km.

Variations: there are many variants: from the Pla de Santa Anna you could follow all the hermitages of the Plan de la Trinidad (Sant Dimes, Santa Creu, Santísima Trinidad). You could also go up the Camino Viejo de Sant Jerònim and do the route in reverse or shorten the route and return along the Camino Viejo de Sant Jerònim instead of the route to the Funicular and Sant Miquel. On the other hand, from the Coll de Sant Salvador you can climb the Elephant or from the junction of the Camino Nuevo with the Camino Viejo de Sant Jerònim, you can reach the peak of the massif in about 20 minutes.

You can start from the Monastery or from outside the paid parking area. From the Monastery car park, skip the route for about 30 'in total, but starting from the bottom allows us to save the € 6 for the car park and enjoy the Camino de los Degotalls.

So we begin by going up the Degotalls path, well indicated and well trodden. The path starts from a curve in the road and climbs steadily until after about 10 minutes it meets the Degotalls path, where it begins a gentle glide along an emblematic tourist route, in a shadowy area of curiously inclined holm oaks.

In about 15'-20 'we will arrive at the foot of the Montserrat Monastery and from there we will go up towards the Old Way of Sant Jerònim, which is taken at the back of the enclosure, from some stairs with a fountain. We follow the path of San Jerónimo that climbs strongly and with hundreds of steps. We pass through the well-known French Pass that evokes the passage of the Napoleonic troops through Montserrat.

After about 20'-30 '(it depends on the pace) we will arrive at Pla de Santa Ana, ancient remains of the hermitage of Santa Ana. This point is a crossroads. We take the one that climbs to the right, along the Camino de la Raíz that would take us to Santa Cecilia and Can Maçana. We will not go that far, as we will only follow this path for a few minutes. The route continues to climb steeply based on steps, with a viewpoint over the Monastery and soon we find the deviation to the left to go to the hermitage of San Benito.

We take the path that goes up to the hermitage of Sant Benet, at the foot of the Prenyada rock. Attention: once at the hermitage, to follow the path you will have to go back about 5 meters until you find again the path that goes up with yellow markings towards the hermitage of San Salvador. We enter a well-preserved holm oak forest and the path forks upwards. We follow the route that goes upwards and we begin a "difficult climb" that winds around the slope to the hermitage of Sant Salvador, very curious since it is built inside a cleft in the rock. From the hermitage, we return to the path that in about 5 'will take us to the neck of Sant Salvador, with excellent views of the entire Tebaida region.

Now we go down a good stretch until we reach the neck of the Canal Plana. It is convenient for us to follow the yellow marks that will avoid any deviation. In this place, the most well-trodden path goes down to the left, but we will continue to the right along the ridge all the Luciérnagas mountain range. From time to time you can see some signs in the form of red dots coming from the roads that drill through the canals from the north slope.

At the head of 1h30 'on the way we will arrive near the Cavall Bernat. Here we can deviate from the path along a well-marked path that will take us to the foot of Cavall Bernat. We can also contemplate it from the Luciérnagas sawmill to have a more aerial and spectacular view of the whole.

We will resume the original path, following the yellow markings again until the crossroads with the path that leads to Sant Antoni, which breaks to the right and follows a channel of holm oaks with a fairly sharp ground (account) and a significant climb. Here the marks are blue until reaching the hermitage of Sant Antoni, an excellent miranda del Cavall Bernat.

We return to the original path and in about 10-15 'we will reach the junction with the Old and New Paths of Sant Jerònim, just after having passed under Cabo de Muerte. From here we can return to the Monastery via the Camino Viejo (more direct) or take a walk with good views along the Camino Nuevo that will take us to the plane of the Tarantulas where the Sant Joan funicular is located. From here we can go down by funicular (an option that is not a hiker), or by the cement track that in about 25-30 'reaches the hermitage of Sant Miquel (highly recommended to visit the viewpoint of the Cruz de Sant Miquel, on the right-hand side ). And in about 15 'more, we finally arrive at the Monastery, on a route that is really worth it. The return can be done by the road or by the Degotalls path.

Authorship of photographs and text: Sergi Boixader

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