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Alcoy - Griffon Vultures in Barranc del Cint

On the north-west side of Alcoy, there is a mountain area where you can see griffon vultures soaring over the peaks.

The entrance to the area is through a characteristic V-shaped gorge which is visible from a long distance. The tour starts at the ruins of a factory.

Follow the sign for Barranc del Cint and the yellow/white/red signs.

A paved path leads straight into the Barranc del Cint gorge which splits the Sierra de Mariola in two with the peaks Les Pedreres on the left and Pic del les Àguiles on the right.

Eventually you enter an area with a narrow passage surrounded by beautiful rock formations. Here there are stone-paved paths and stairs.

Already here you will be able to see Griffon Vultures soaring above the sky.

Continue on the marked path until you come to a crossroads (see picture below) where an information board has been set up. It's a long hike before you get there.

At the intersection, choose the path that goes up to the left. It leads to a long climb in forest terrain.

Continue along this road until you reach two red-marked logs on the right. Here you take the path that goes up to the left (see the picture below).

This path leads up to the top of Les Pedreres. Here you will see information signs informing you that you can hike in the area during certain parts of the year, but at the same time asking you to pay attention to the wildlife by speaking softly and avoiding making noise.

As you approach the top, you will come to a sign on the right informing you of the Projecte Canyet de les Pedreres. If you go down to the right along the fence around a project area for Griffon Vultures, you will be able to see vultures relatively close.

If you continue straight ahead towards the top of Les Pedreres, you will also be able to see the vultures in flight quite close to you. If you look back, you can see them sitting in a treetop.

This area was protected in 2005. It is now a nature conservation area for Griffon Vultures with a total ban on hunting.

Griffon Vultures have lived naturally here for centuries, but it became extinct at the end of the 20th century because human activity destroyed the food base.

In order to increase diversity, in 2000 it was decided to release 15 Griffon Vultures here. They were brought from other places in the Sierra de Mariola.

At the same time, a feeding station was created to ensure that the birds received enough food to survive.

Today this is a viable colony with around eighty individuals. They are curious birds that pay close attention when you enter their territory.

The griffon vultures feed on carrion. They have a fabulous sense of smell and can fly many miles to feed on a dead animal.

That is why you can see them hovering for many miles around. Several of them also nest in the surrounding mountains.

The Griffon Vulture is a large bird, nearly a meter long, and has a wingspan of nearly 3 metres.

Remember to bring binoculars if you have. It makes it easier to see the birds. The photos above were taken with a telephoto lens.

More excursions:

Excursion of the week: Barranc del Cint in Alcoy and the mountain peak Les Pedreres with Griffon Vulture colony.

Suitable for: Everyone in normal physical shape, including children. There is a relatively large and long climb which can be strenuous, but this is a safe trip without dangerous parts.

Length: 10 km in total (round trip), approx. 2.5 - 3 hours. The top of Les Pedreres is 1053 meters above sea level.

Getting there: Write "Area recreativa de Preventorio Alcoy" on Google Maps. You will then come to a small car park on the right-hand side, close to the entrance to Barranc del Cint. The tour starts at the ruins of a disused factory on the right side of the road.

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