Puigsacalm from Coll de Bracons
Puigsacalm is one of the essential summits for hiking in Catalonia. At 1,515 metres, it is the highest point in the Transversal Mountain Range and is a great viewpoint of the Bas Valley, La Garrotxa and much of Central Catalonia. In autumn, the beech forests are dressed in a range of ocher colors and it is, without a doubt, one of the best times to visit these environments.
- Difficulty: easy. No notable difficulty, you just have to be a little attentive to the detours and not get disoriented on foggy days.
- Height difference: 544m
- Time: between 3h30' and 4h30' depending on pace and stops
- Kilometers: 9.5km
Variants: A circular alternative would be to start by going up the ridge, along the Els Tossells path and return along the proposed route. Similarly, the Puigsacalm can be done from the North slope, from the valley of Sant Privat de Bas or from Joanetes, along the path of the Paso de los Burros.
To get to the Collada de Bracons, we must take the BV-5224 road just before the entrance to the Bracons Tunnel coming from Vic. If we come from the Olot side, we will take the same road towards Joanetes del Valle de Bas. (the road is called GIV_5273)
From the Collada de Bracons, we start by climbing a first rocky section (which, in fact, will be the steepest of the day) to take the path that enters the beech forest heading north.
During almost the entire route, we will follow the GR 151.1 marks of the Caminos del Obispo and Abad Oliba. We will also find yellow marks to the top.
We find ourselves walking among hazelnut trees and soon we enter a beech forest surrounded by boxwoods. This forest will be the clear protagonist until almost the top. If we go at the end of October, we will enjoy the reddish colors of the leaves. Generally, the bridge of Todos los Santos is one of the best times to go (it is also one of the most crowded times).
After about 10 minutes from the beginning of the route, we will find the detour to the right to go along the Tossells path. In our case, we will ignore it and continue along the path that runs through the beech forest. During practically the entire route to the Font Tornadissa, we will hardly make any difference in level, we will walk on a plain all the time and it will not give us the feeling that we are climbing to a peak, it will be a good time to contemplate the beech forest calmly and tranquilly. After about 15-20 minutes we will arrive at the Collada de Sant Bartomeu, a small hill with a multitude of paths. There we will have to be attentive: we will cross a small wire fence in the neck and we will turn to the right following the yellow marks and the GR. We will avoid the deviations to the left and forward where there are yellow signs in the form of a cross.
We continue through the beech forest walking and following the various commas that the mountain makes. This section is especially shady and wet. After about 20 minutes, we will find a detour to the right to go towards Font Tornadissa and Puigsacalm (signpost and yellow marks). We leave the track that continues ahead and continue along the path that takes us in about 5 minutes to the Font Tornadissa, a perfect place to have a bite to eat. From this point on, the beech forest ends and the climb up the Rasos del Manter begins. If the day is clear, we will have great views up to Pedraforca. In case of fog, we must watch the orientation, with a milestone and a sign.
We will go up to a forest track, cross it and turn to the right, heading East, until we reach a sign next to the forest. We now continue next to the beech forest until we reach a gate to cross the fence. We continue along the beaten path and enter the beech forest again to climb the last section to the top after about 20 minutes. On the way to the top, we will pass through the Collet dels Clivellers, where there is a signpost and the detour that goes to the Pas dels Burros.
In the last meters before the top, we will leave the path that goes to Santa Magdalena and continue up until we reach the apex of Puigsacalm. From up here, we will have a splendid view of almost the entire Garrotxa, the eastern Pyrenees and a good part of the counties of Girona and Central Catalonia.
Before returning to the Bracons pass, we will make a second very easy summit: the Puig dels Llops, which is about 600 meters further north of the Puigsacalm. We will continue along the path that would go towards Santa Magdalena del Mont and we will climb the ridge that goes up to Puig dels Llops. From here, we will gain a great view of the corner of the valley of Sant Privat d'en Bas, with the hermitage of Santa Magdalena in the foreground.
To return, we will follow the path we came from and on the way to the top of Puigsacalm, we can skirt it from below, without having to go to the top.
Author images and text: Sergi Boixader