Distance: 7.6 km (round trip)
Gradient: 256 m
Timing: 1 hour and 50 minutes
All the villages in The Matarranya have a special charm and Pena-roja is not an exception. It is raised on a hill, it has steep and narrow streets which follow the orography of the land; its most important monument is the church or Santa Maria. Built in the mid XVIII century it merges the Renaissance and Baroque styles.
History is alive in the stones of the oldest buildings of the village, as the remainders of the castle crowning la Mola (when the Muslims were the lords and masters of these lands), the Town Hall (dated in the XVI century (next to it, the old prison, in perfect condition), or la Llotja, built in the XVI century to do the market and where in the mid last century sinks were place to wash the clothes.
We’ll get out of the village from the high side of the village, and as we’ll begin walking we’ll find out a wild landscape of cliffs where pine, holm oaks and aromatic plants grow. Our road, a forest track in good condition, is a cattle track used by flock of sheeps.
Dry stone walls
At the background of the landscape emerges the image of les Roques del Masmut, our aim. In the precipice on our left there are obvious signs of the lands being used as farmland not many years ago. Dry stone walls, a bit worn out now, were used to distribute the land in terraces and making the best of it.
After two kilometers we’ll arrive to a small leisure zone. A label there tells us many curious and interesting things, specially if we go with children, about carrion birds. When they eliminate the death animals, they are really cleaning the natural environment, it avoids the propagation of illnesses. Did you know that a vulture is able to eat the 20% of its weight and being the next two weeks without eating anything else?
A little bit up we will get to el Mirador de les Roques, a stone platform from where enjoying a spectacular sight. A label gives us a lot of information about this impressing calcareous and rounded rock where vultures and harriers nest.
Probably the name of Pena-roja comes from the reddish colour of les Roques del Masmut. The place name “Masmut” seems to refer to the masmuda berber people, who maybe settled here during the Arab occupation. With a maximum height of 1058 meters and vertical walls of more of one hundred meters, for its ecological and landscape interest the Masmut rocks are catalogued as LIC (community interest place)