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The Best Hikings for the Famous Archduke’s Trail in Valldemossa, Mallorca 2022
The Archduke’s Trail (Camí de s’Arxiduc) is a mountain trail in the Tramuntana mountains between Valldemossa and Deià in Mallorca.
There are a few ways to access the path. However, the most straightforward ascent route starts in Valldemossa and traverses the Muntanya del Voltor natural area (permit needed).
The path is named after Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Habsburg-Lorraine, an aristocrat and naturalist who mapped out this route among others in the 19th century. He spent years studying the local wildlife in Mallorca. His contributions have made him a historic figure in this region.
Starting in Valldemossa, the circuit trail initially ascends a holm oak forest to the Mirador de Ses Puntes viewpoint overlooking the northwest coast. The path continues to the unmanaged Caseta de s’Arxiduc stone hut and down to the Coll de Son Gallard saddle.
From here, you’re just minutes away from joining the Archduke’s Trail. Once on the Camí de s’Arxiduc, you’ll continue ascending above the treeline to a panoramic ridge. Here, commences the best part of the hike. Atop the mountains dividing Valldemossa from Deià, the beautifully-engineered Archduke’s trail follows the ridge and crosses the Tramuntana mountains east. The sea views are wonderful and the trail is mostly flat.
Ultimately, the trail loops south and you’ll descend to Es Cairats valley in Valldemossa.
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Archduke’s Trail Hiking Map
Muntanya del Voltor Permit Needed
Muntanya del Voltor is a natural area made up of several private estates. The Muntanya del Voltor association was founded in 2014 in an effort to preserve the area’s natural and cultural heritage.
The ascent route described in this trail guide traverses the private lands of Muntanya del Voltor.
In order to get access, you just have to request a free permit.
They administer 50 free permits daily. You can call, email, or whatsapp Muntanya del Voltor with your desired hiking date and your name as well as the names of anyone in your hiking group. We recommend reaching out 4-6 days in advance.
Note: Within Muntanya del Voltor, bicycles, pets, and camping are not allowed.
If you are not able to secure a permit, you can also ascend to the Archduke’s Trail via the Camí de ses Basses path. We opted out of this variation, because we were told the trail is harder to follow.
Path of the Archduke Trail Description
Valldemossa to the Ses Puntes Viewpoint (1 hour)
The trail starts at the very end of Carrer de les Olivers street, which ends in a cul-de-sac. Next to residence #16, which sports a “Coto Privado de Caza” sign, there’s a chain gate. Just beyond the chain gate, there’s an inconspicuous pathway which runs along the fence.
Follow this path. Soon you’ll see a large Muntanya del Voltor map. Continue for another 6 minutes and you’ll arrive at the gated entrance to the Muntanya del Voltor natural area.
At the info shed, they regulate permits and answer questions. They also sell estate-produced olive oil.
After passing the info shed/hut, continue straight and follow the sign to “Pla des Pouet.”
Follow the wide trail and ascend the shady oak forest along long switchbacks for about 20 minutes.
When you reach a trail junction, bear left and then straight in the direction of “Coll de Son Gallard.”
The path flattens out and continues for a few more minutes to the Pla des Pouet plain, marked by an old stone well and other stone structures.
At the signed intersection, turn left in the direction of the Ses Puntes viewpoint.
It takes about 20 minutes to reach the viewpoint. As you progress, views open up to the northwest coast and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Ses Puntes viewpoint is marked by a stone barrier, originally built by the Archduke of Austria.
Ses Puntes Viewpoint to Refugi de s’Arxiduc (20 minutes)
The trail leads to sa Talaia Vella, turning away from the coast at first.
After crossing over the unspectacular sa Talaia Vella peak, the rocky, semi-forested trail continues onwards to the unmanaged Caseta de s’Arxiduc (stone hut).
From the stone refugi, there are wonderful views of the Tramuntana mountains, the coast, and Deià.
Refugi de s’Arxiduc to Coll de Son Gallard (10 minutes)
Backtrack to the main trail and follow the descending path.
In about 260 meters, keep your eyes out for an easy-to-miss footpath on the left side. This unmarked trail leads to Mirador des Garriguer. Use Maps.me to locate it. This is an optional detour.
Again, back on the main trail, continue descending a few minutes to the Col de Son Gallard (766 m) saddle.
Col de Son Gallard – Camí de s’Arxiduc – Puig Gros (1 hour)
There are several signs at Col de Son Gallard, including another “Finca Privada” (authorized access only sign), Muntanya del Voltor map, and trail signs.
Follow signs to Camí de s’Arxiduc.
The trail brings you to a stone wall, where there’s a botador (stile) which aids you across the wall. There’s also a vedat de caça (“no entry”) sign nailed to the tree.
The “no entry” sign only applies to people who don’t have the Muntanya del Voltor permit.
After crossing the wall, hike straight uphill for a few minutes. You’re now in the “public area” (where no permit is needed). This forest footpath intersects with the well-established Camí de s’Arxiduc.
Turn left onto the Camí de s’Arxiduc trail.
A series of long switchbacks steer you above the tree line up to a rocky ridge with far-reaching views. This is the start of the most spectacular section of the Path of the Archduke.
The Camí de s’Arxiduc trail hugs the ridgeline at first.
At the wooden post trail marker, bear right and stay atop the plateau. The descending trail is leads to Deià.
With great ease, the path continues east across the high plateau.
When you get the Camí de s’Arxiduc (#1) / Camí de Ses Basses (#2) trail junction, continue straight on Camí de s’Arxiduc.
The trail then continues along the ridge to Puig Gros (938 m), marked by a cairn.
Puig Gros – Refugi de Son Moragues – Valldemossa (1:20 minutes)
The trail gently descends, with sweeping mountain and sea views.
Whe path will turn south and you’ll descend towards the Torrent d’Avail stream/valley.
Now, below the treeline the trail continues to the unmanaged Refugi de Son Moragues.
The best part of the hike is behind you. You’ll now follow a wide gravel track down to the Font des Polls recreation area, marked by a sign and several picnic tables.
Continue zigzagging all the way down the valley.
After passing an info board and gate, the trail continues to descend for another 10 minutes.
When the trail divides, you can choose between the left trail, or the faster right trail. The right trail is initially gated, but you can go through.
Either way, both Es Cairats valley trails run parallel to an enclosed terraced grove of olive trees. There are some sheep that roam about the grove as well.
If you take the right trail, the path reaches the Carrer Xesc Forteza road in 10 minutes.
If you take the left path, you’ll pass the Sa Coma estate, just before reaching the Cami de sa Coma, which leads to the main Carretera de Valldemossa road.There are seven barking dogs, enclosed in the estate, that like to make their presence known.
From here, use Google Maps or Maps.me to return to your car at the trailhead, or the bus stop in Valldemossa.
Source: moonhoneytravel blog
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