After 3+ years in Mallorca it was time to do one of the most famous treks on the island. We rallied a group of 15 of which only 13 brave souls turned up on the day and set about organising the logistics.
Torrent de Pareis is a riverbed you can hike during the dry months in Mallorca. These are also the hottest months. Rain usually comes around in September and lasts throughout the winter months. As Torrent de Pareis is in the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range it is often home to flash floods as it collects a large amount of rainwater that falls on the mountain and funnels it down this narrow valley.
To access the Torrent you have two options. If you wish to hike down the valley you start at a place called Escorca, which is on the Ma-10 that connects Pollensa with Soller along the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. There is a “Restaurante Escorca” just off the road, opposite which (in the direction of Soller) is the starting point.
The second option is to start at the bottom and walk up the valley to Escorca. To access this end of the Torrent you would continue to drive on the Ma-10 towards Soller from Escorca and when the road splits in two, follow it to the right onto the Ma-2141 towards Sa Calobra. If you reach a large reservoir called Gorg Blau you have gone too far.
Our Choice – Hike down the valley From Escorca
On this occasion we opted to hike down the valley in the belief that this should be easier . . . We all rallied together early in the morning to pile together in as few cars as possible and set off for Escorca.
We drove and reached there shortly after sunrise driving through the winding roads to get onto the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range.
In the group of hikers we had people who were born and raised on the island, those like myself who have moved there for work, those who have accompanied their other halves who moved to Mallorca to work, and one visitor (tourist) who was the only one who had done the hike a few years before. Ages ranged from 21 to 60 with various abilities and fitness levels.
We did our research beforehand and to say we received a wide spectrum of opinions is an understatement. So here I will also add my own opinion on what it takes to complete the hike without injury.
Warnings about Hiking Torrent de Pareis (according to me)
- Do not do this hike if you have a fear of heights or a fear of falling.
- Do not do this hike without rope. It’s a must-have part of your hiking gear.
- Do not do this hike in a large group if you wish to complete it quickly.
- Do not do this hike with children.
- Do not do this hike by yourself. I would suggest at least a group of 4 if it’s your first time and only lesser if everyone has experience. (This hike is through a valley, you will not have mobile signal for 95% of the time in the valley. If anything should happen you will need to hike out of the valley before you would be able to get help.) If everyone in the group is inexperienced, I recommend taking a guided tour with an experienced hiker.
- If you’re a fan of Cloud Atlas (the movie with Tom Hanks that you need to watch a few times to understand), you can arrive at Sa Calobra by boat from Soller and spend just a few hours here exploring the Torrent de Pareis.
- Do not do it if it’s due to rain, has recently rained, or you know that there is water collected in the Canyon. The rocks are really smooth due to the water polishing them nicely for the last x-amount of years.
So now that we have the disclaimer out of the way lets continue. The first 1h30mins of the hike from Escorca is following a zig-zag path down the side of the mountain. At this point you will reach a signpost where there is an intersection of Torrent de Pareis and Torrent de Lluc. This is generally pretty straightforward, as long as you stick to the path. Sometimes this was easier said than done.
The path, if you stay on it, is pretty straightforward with no big drops or climbs over rocks. As most of the mountainside is covered in razor grass you would prefer to remain on the path as those blades can cut badly.
If you reach the riverbed without having drawn blood you are already doing pretty good.
Now we leave the vegetation behind and we start down the barren, bouldered, riverbed. This at first appears pretty easy and you think to yourself this can’t be as bad as some people say it is.
Then you reach the first impasse. As the floods of years past have dislodged massive boulders into the gorge it is only natural that you would have sections where they would get stuck and lodge and make passing near impossible.
The first wedged boulder you come to gives you only one way to continue and on the rock you will see the climbing hooks on the side of the boulder.
So, we brought rope but decided we won’t need it (from reading other reviews and listening to locals who have done it before). BIG mistake. This was the first of many such points where you were limited on how you could continue. To this day I am not sure how we managed but to say I am proud of the achievements of our group that day would state it lightly.
This is one of the main reasons to go in a smaller group as you are limited to one person at a time moving through these narrow passages. With a large group like ours it added on a considerable time but also meant that we had a lot of hands to ensure everyone got through without injuries.
These impasses continued and continued and continued . . . and just as you think you must be close to the end there comes the next one. These continued to get more and more challenging and I remembered clearly one of the more abled hikers telling me that he was getting quite worried about some of our less experienced hikers completing this hike without injuries.
At this point we had passed a few places which I could not imagine us climbing back up without rope so I could only see one solution. Talk to God and ask Him to continue to help us through this and ensure we all make it through to the end.
Shortly after this, two guys and a girl, also hiking down the torrent, caught up with us. By the Grace of God, he sent this angel just at the point where he saved one of our group from slipping and falling down a hole between two boulders we had to cross over. I dread to think what would have happened if he wasn’t there holding her by one hand as she was hanging off the side of this boulder. We met them again later on, on their way back up the torrent.
After 8 hours from leaving our cars at Escorca we finally made it to the end of the gorge at Sa Calobra. What a reward to immerse our wrecked bodies in the beautiful turquoise blue Mediterranean seawater between the massive walls of the Serra the Tramuntana mountains.
Was this the most challenging hike we’ve been on? Yes, it quite possibly was. Even more challenging than hiking the Tongariro Alpine crossing in NZ. Will I do it again? Definitely!
Top tips for Your Torrent de Pareis Hike
- It is easier to trek up the torrent from Sa Calobra to Escorca but you need at least 2 able, confident climbers to get up and hook the rope at the top for the less able climbers to use.
- After the hike, make sure to stretch out very well. The first time we did it, day 2 post-hike is when you will feel it, and then the last thing you would want to do is to stretch it out.
- The hike is possible to do both ways in one day but you have to be very fit and able. Otherwise, for us more normal ability people there is a bus that runs between Sa Calobra and Escorca. If you love cycling why not hide your bicycles somewhere by Escorca, drive to the bottom, hike up and bike your way down.
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