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The Puig de Massanella, 1,364 high, is the second highest mountain on Mallorca, after Puig Major. Situated in one of the most spectacular and wild areas of the Tramuntana Range, it forms part of the municipality of Escorca. The mountain is the exclusive habitat of plants such as Helichrysum italicum sub sp. microphyllum and the refuge for extraordinary beautiful birds such as the emblematic black vulture (Aegypius monachus). Massanella is also one of the areas most visited by walkers and ramblers.
It is to be found near the Lluc Sanctuary and the ascent via Comafreda is one of the most popular high mountain routes on the island. The excursion does not present great difficulty, although it involves an 11 kilometre route and change in heights of 800 metres. The first part of the trip crosses a leafy holm oak wood where charcoal burners' huts and sites are to be found, which are most important ethnic constructions, relating to the oldest forestry activities of the Tramuntana Range. However, the highest point is completely bare, without trees, and the walk passes along paths that used to be used in former times to collect snow, an activity that has great tradition in the area and which lasted until the beginning of the XX century. Proof of this fact is to be found in the 11 snow houses situated on different parts of the mountain.
The excursion can be started at the Lluc Sanctuary or the Coll de la Batalla, leaving the car next to the petrol station. A few metres after the petrol station towards Inca, the track is taken to the right and continues for some 5 minutes, passing by the fountain of es Guix, reaching a cross roads of three paths. Taking the right hand path, after some 10 minutes you reach the barrier of the Comafreda. Here it was usual to meet up with the warden and you had to pay 4 euros (2 for residents) to cross the property. Nowadays the access is only allowed if you ask for a previous authorisation to the owners.
Although the route is indicated by "milestones" and paint marks, if you do not know the route is it recommended to take a map. First you walk by the Comafreda houses and then you continue along path on the left-hand that leads to the Coll de sa Línia. At this point, indicated by piles of stones, you must leave the track that leads to Mancor, and ascend the path on the right. Going up through centenary Holm Oaks and without losing sight of the "mile stones", the next stone pile a milestone, where two directions are indicated: one to the left towards Massanella via the Font de s'Avenc, and to the right via the Pla de sa Neu. It is recommended to chose the Font de s'Avenc and to keep the other way for the return trip. And so, by carefully following the stone signs, you continue to the left until the Font de s'Avenc, which, as its name indicates in Mallorcan, is a fountain to be found in an underground cave, with access down some steps. Continuing along a rocky path, you reach the last pile, and some 15 minutes later the peak where a trig. point is to be found and a surprising well 20 metres deep The view over almost the whole of the island are spectacular, particularly towards Puig Major and the Cuber reservoir, and also towards the bay of Alcudia and the Sa Pobla-Muro plain. On clear days the outline of Menorca can also be seen.
The ascent takes about 3 hours, plus time to rest. The descent takes a further 2 hours, following the same route except for substituting the path via the Font de s'Avenc by one that passes via Pla de sa Neu which is to be found on the left hand side on the way down.
There are two more routes to ascend or descend Massanella, amongst others, that connect with Mancor (via the Coll de sa Línia), with Puig den Galileu (via Coll des Prat and Coll des Telègraf) or with the Cúber reservoir (via the Coll dels Coloms and the Comellar des Prat).