Hiking to the Elefant of Montserrat
Walking through the sprees of Montserrat and reaching the highest peak of Sant Benet, the Elefant.
The most amazing views near the Monastery of Montserrat that is reached scrambling the last 35m of the summit.
Elevation Gain: 500m Distance: 4km
Time: 4h Max altitude: 1156m
Sun / Shade
Half part of the route in the shade.
When to go
Hiking in Montserrat is possible all year round but it can be very cold in winter and very hot in summer. In winter days, snow can be present and trails can be slippery, so hiking is not recommended. In case of heavy rains, due to its geology, the small and dry rivers turn into dangerous streams and rockfalls may occur.
- Difficulty 40-90% 40-90%
The hardest scrambling area is considered II or III of climbing difficulty. In case of not doing the last part, the difficulty is way lower and is possible for those who exercise often
- Exposure 30-90% 30-90%
In the case of scrambling to the top, the exposure is very high. It can be needed a rope if you’re no used to climb often.
Montserrat Trail Overview
L’elefant (the elephant) is one of the gems of Montserrat and not only for climbers, but also for hikers. When you have a look at this curious summit you can perfectly imagine an elephant in the south face and you may think that is impossible to reach the summit without climbing the 200m wall. But from Sant Salvador Hermitage there is a path that links with the scrambling section of Elefant. If you haven’t climbed before or you have acrophobia is better to avoid this last part. Reaching Sant Salvador Hermitage and arriving at the scrambling part is incredibly gorgeous so don’t hesitate!
Montserrat Monastery – Sant Benet
Starting the hike in the Monastery of Montserrat the path that is taken begins at the end of the monastery, where there is a fountain and steps going up.
This path is the same than the one taken for doing the Sant Jeroni hike so at first has to be followed the marks of the GR… and climb up through the canyon until the path arrives at the point where it is marked the path to Sant Benet to the right. The path keeps going up but with fewer stairs for arriving at a point where it is marked a trail to the left indicating Refugi de Sant Benet.
This mountain hut is an old hermitage that now is a shelter for mountaineers and it is a good place to overnight.
Sant Benet – Elefant de Montserrat
Once you see the hermitage to the left, to the right there is a small path that crosses an old door and goes through the forest. It quickly splits into 2 and the path on the left arrives at Sant Salvador Hermitage, a small shelter for hikers used during many years by monks to do spiritual retires. It is located at the bottom of L’elefant and like many other shelters in Montserrat, a carved cave with a fire, a small window, a bench and a door. In Sant Salvador Hermitage is possible to overnight. At the left, there is a small and slippery path that goes up until a very nice viewpoint.
Before arriving at the viewpoint, at the end of the way up, to the right there is a small trail that leads to the wall that has to be scrambled. The first 10m goes straight right up through a dihedral that has a bush in the middle. When it arrives at the area of the trees has. to be climbed a small wall to the right and quickly go through the bushes until the last chimney pass that leads to the summit.
Scrambling to the top of the Elefant of Montserrat
The Pass in the chimney is around III climbing difficulty and it’s possible that you require some equipment to scrambling the last 5m. For experienced climbers is very easy but not recommended for those who are not used to climb often. The way down is on the same way and all the scrambling area has to be done in the same way because all the other walls are vertical walls.
This route can be linked with the route to Sant Jeroni Summit, the highest peak of Montserrat.
The way back to the monastery of Montserrat can be done following the same path. It is also possible to follow the GR to the “Canal de la Font Del Gat” and it arrives at the free parkings area.
-Be careful with the weather conditions because it can change quickly and in an unexpected way, especially during spring and summer. In case of bad weather conditions is better not to hike around the area due to rockfalls and floods.
-In case of setting up a tent, avoid the camping areas and nearby without permission and notice that is illegal to set up a tent in Spain. If it is wanted to take the risk, set up the tent in a remote place at sunset and wake up early to avoid forest rangers. During summertime, there are more controls.
-Your safety is our concern but always your responsibility, Hiking requires a minimum of preparation and wearing proper clothing as warm clothes, proper boots…
How to get to Catalonia: Do you need to know how to get to Catalonia? Check out our post about transportation to Catalonia.
Public transportation: If you’re using public transport, from the Espanya metro station in Barcelona is possible to take the trains called FGC or “Ferrocarrils” to get to the base of Montserrat. The lines R5 to get to Monistrol de Montserrat from where you can take a small train called Cremallera that goes up to the Monastery from where the trail starts. It’s possible to take as well the line R50 and fly from the base of Montserrat to the Monastery with a cable car called Aeri.
From the Aeri base, there is a path that leads to the Monastery and takes around 1 hour. Check out how to get from the base of Montserrat to the Monastery.
Where the hike starts: 41.591899, 1.834752
Where the hike ends: 41.605361, 1.811513
At Montserrat is not allowed to overnight with a tent but there is a mountain hut in Sant Benet, Refugi de Sant Benet. There are as well small hermitages where is possible to overnight for free like Ermita de Sant Salvador or Ermita de Sant Antoni communicating to the Natural Park of Montserrat office.
There are options for accommodation in Monistrol de Montserrat, Afur and Taganana where there are apartments and Airbnbs. Get 25€ discount on your first Airbnb experience