At last the weather has changed, after the rainiest winter in sixty years… It was a hard time for the cyclist, but really good for the countryside. Now we’re going to discover one of the prettiest corners of the province of Castellón, Viver, and a fantastic circular route to enjoy on mountain bike. Firstly, take a RENFE Cercanías train, specifically line 5. Consult first to find out which trains allow bikes, and then go to Jéerica-Viver. When you get to the station, get off and look for the old road towards Viver, on which there shouldn’t be too much traffic.
Viver de las Aguas owes its name to the great quantity of water that runs through the town and its surroundings. In the town you can count up to ten fountains, and there are five springs in the land just outside the town, without counting the Palancia River. As soon as you enter the town, you’ll see a small park to your left, and there you’ll find the Chorrillo fountain; next to it is a decent bar/restaurant for replenishing your strength (They used to have an amazing jamón Ibérico on the bar… a bocadillo with the bread from the village is an incredible experience!).
The bar is on a main street heading towards Teresa and Bejís. Go up it a bit until C/ San Miguel, go down San Miguel, and then head right at the end. Now you should find yourself in a street lined with beautiful trees. For a short distance continue down here, with residential buildings to your right, looking out for a track to your left that will take you downhill into farmland. Once you’ve found it, head right down another track running alongside a field with a stunning caqui tree (sharon or persimmon fruit – bright orange and sickly sweet). Towards the end of September, this and other trees were dripping with fruit; now probably you’ll find some of them blossoming. Scrump discreetly…! Following this track, you’ll pass membrillo (quince) trees, and walnuts.
From here on, the track is one of the best mountain bike routes I’ve discovered in a long time, without too many complications, which means without having to be anything like professional to enjoy a really fun descent. Go a bit by instinct, but don’t worry – if you go wrong, it’s easy to get back on the right track. Cycle downhill until you come to an asphalt path which, if followed, leads you back to Viver, but just before a strange row columns that rise up each side of the road, go right onto another earth track. As well as the fun involved in going down these tracks, the beauty of the land around here is something out of the ordinary: before us we have the valley that goes down to the Palancia River, and just in front an enormous mass of rock covered with pines and bushes called La Muela.
But head back to our route. Continue heading downhill which here is quite steep and a bit dangerous (with lots of loose stones) and on the left you can see lots of caves cut into the rock. Continue downhill and at the end you’ll come to the Palancia, where the river widens and is really very pretty. If you are brave enough, the cold water is really clean and nice for a quick and refreshing swim. There is a fountain here with 12 ‘taps’ and a large picnic/paella area (although sometimes fires are prohibited). Anyway, it’s a nice relaxing space with tables and benches set under enormous trees next to the burbling stream.
After relaxing here, continue along the asphalted road and on the left you’ll see more caves in the rock. This is the start of the ascent which, if you take it easy, shouldn’t be too bad. You continue passing fruit trees, persimmons, grapevines running wherever they fancy, almond trees, olive trees, and the queen of the area, the fig tree. Once you’ve followed this, on a curve towards the right, take the road that goes straight ahead, again unasphalted. Continue upwards to complete the circle, arriving in the park just behind the fountain of Chorrillo.
Editor Manuel Aguilar,1