OverviewIn spite of the road that leads to the summit, Monte Caro offers some fairly good hiking routes for those interested in "bagging" this highest summit of the province of Tarragona. The most basic one starts at the Colonia dels Ports, a small area populated by pleasure villas placed north east of the summit and 18 to 19 km away from Tortosa
Getting ThereThe limestone massif of Els Ports, where Mont Caro is found, stands a short distance away from the Mediterranean coast. The closest main town is Tortosa.
By car: Tortosa is placed near the mouth of the river Ebro, where the alluvial plain of its delta begins. It can be easily reached by toll highway AP-7, which links the French border of La Jonquera to the cities of Valencia and Alicante. Tortosa is placed 87 km south of Tarragona, 124 km north of Castellón and 204 km north of Valencia.
By train: use the railway line (served by RENFE (spanish national railways) between Barcelona, Tarragona and Valencia. The most convenient station is the one placed at Tortosa, though the station at L’Aldea-Amposta-Tortosa is also handy.
By plane: The closest airport is placed at Reus, near Tarragona. That means about 90 km away from Tortosa, a distance you would have to cover by some other way. The Valencia Airport is bigger and served by more airlines, but it’s placed rather a long way southwards.
Once you get to Tortosa, there’s an additional 19-20 km to the main trailhead (Colonia dels Ports) for this basic “normal” route. If you are driving your own vehicle, take the road to Roquetes and after Roquetes follow the signs towards Els Reguers. The road to the summit is properly marked ("Mont Caro") and starts to your left some three kilometers after leaving Roquetes. I’m not aware of the existence of any public transportation along the road to the summit, and therefore you might need to consider taking a taxi if you don't have your own vehicle. The best possible idea is to leave your car (or whatever transport you have used) shortly after reaching the Colonia dels Ports. When the road loses its slope and enters a flat forest area, take the right side road and look for a spot to park in.
Start walking along the small asphalted road (actually, an old forest trail covered by asphalt) that runs along the residential area of the Colonia dels Ports. After some twenty minutes you will reach the Col de Carrasqueta, easily recognizable as the road starts its descent from the mountain. There is also a small parking area to your left, and the red-and-white paint marks of the GR-7 trail are clearly visible. Follow them and walk uphill to reach the Col dels Pallers (1200 m) and your first sights of the Mediterranean sea in the hike. From this col, a couple of rocky needles (the Pallers giving name to the Col) are within easy reach to your right. Just a matter of uphill out-of-path hiking for some twenty minutes or so.
After bagging the Pallers without any need for technical climbing, return to the Col in order to follow the path that runs northeast. It's marked by signposts and some pink paint markings, and runs along the ridge, around a rocky needle and towards the summit of Mont Caro. Some great panoramas of the mouth of river Ebro can be seen while you reach the secondary summit of
Moleta Redona. Just get going, follow the marks (either paint or cairns) and enjoy the sights. There are no difficulties. The path will leave the ridge when facing the final pyramid of the mountain, to reach the summit via a forested ramp that turns left to avoid the final cliffs. The image of Virgin Mary marking the highest spot of the province and the viewpoint over Tortosa and the Ebro stand on the opposite side of the TV antennas and the summit buildings.
In order to get back to the Colonia dels Ports, begin your descent by the road. But keep your eyes open, there are good shortcuts with properly marked (red paint & arrows) paths. They always go downhill and will take you back to a spot rather close (less than a kilometer) to the junction of the summit road and the one that runs along the Colonia dels Ports.
Essential GearGood walking boots and waterproof gear, if weather predictions make its use likely. Trekking poles might also be a good idea, though not strictly necessary.
External LinksNatural Park of Els Ports: Web site offering official information (Government of Catalonia) about the whole massif of Els Ports
Refugi Caro: Information about the Caro Mountain Hut
Cycling profile of the road to the summit: Complete profile of the road slopes, useful for cyclists. The trailhead of the Colonia dels Ports is placed between km 18 and 19