Discover all the secrets of the Aragonese Pyrenees’ greatest treasure
The Pyrenees is a spectacular range of mountains that conveniently forms a natural border between Spain and France. It goes from the Atlantic Ocean (western end) to the Cap de Creus in the Mediterranean Sea (eastern end), and right in the middle is where “the Country of the Pyrenees” can be found, Andorra. Throughout the whole of this incredible chain there are bountiful opportunities for hiking, trekking and following along MTB trails which lead you to endless peaks, valleys and lakes for pure enjoyment.
Ibones de Anayet together with the aesthetic silhouettes of the Pico Anayet and its neighboring Pic Midi d’Ossau, form one of the most typical pictures of the Pyrenees. The route starts from el Corral de las Mulas, passes through the Anayet Formigal ski resort, and reaches the Ibones de Anayet, a group of small lakes as the remnants of glaciers. From there, with a more exposed step (secured with fixed chains), and with a climb up a couloir, we can climb the Pico de Anayet (2,545m), which in fact is actually the remains of an ancient volcano that collapsed, only leaving behind its chimney.
One of the most beautiful natural reserves in Catalonia is that of “Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici” National Park. This is a beautiful and easy excursion, suitable for families with children, which takes your feet through the Valley and “Estanys de Gerber” (lakes), left behind from glaciers. The route starts from the car park of “La Peülla”, passes by the “Estanyola de Gerber” (deep blue waters where the surrounding peaks are mirrored), continues by the Gerber ravine where we find the “Estany Petit” just before reaching the ample Gerber Lake (surrounded by various peaks greater than 2,500m).
At 2,428m, La Mesa de los Tres Reyes is the highest point in Navarra. At its feet lie the Ansó and Hecho valleys, an area of natural spaces such as “La Selva de Oza” or “La Foz de Fago” and beautiful stone farmhouses with ancient traditions. Its summit is right at the crossing point between the ancient Kingdoms of Navarra and Aragon (Spain) and the Viscount of Béarn (France). Its name is the symbol of the union point of the three territories, where the legend tells of the three kings getting together there to discern about the future of their lands.
La Pica d’Estats is the highest peak in Catalonia. At an altitude of 3,143 meters, together with its neighbors, Pic Verdaguer (3,133m) and Punta Gabarró (3,114m), all rise imposingly in front of the Estats and Sotllo lakes. This is the time-tested route that starts from La Molinassa car park, passes through the “Vall Ferrera” (Ferrera Valley), where the Vallferrera refuge is. From there, it goes on to the Sotllo ravine until that path takes you to the Estats and Sotllo lakes where most people stay for the night. The following day, the trail continues with a hike up to the Riufred pass and ultimately reaches the roof of Catalonia. The second part of the journey consists of a rewarding descent which revisits the same route taken on the way up.
This itinerary in particular has some of the best views of the Ordesa Valley since it allows us to discover it from a high altitude, passing through the most emblematic sites of the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, such as the “Pradera de Ordesa” (Ordesa Meadow), the “Camino de los Cazadores” (Hunters’ Path), the bridges and waterfalls that dot all along the Arazas river, the “Circo de Cotatuero” (Cotatuero Cirque), the panoramic Calcilarruego Viewpoint, the practically aerial “Faja Pelay” (Pelay Belt), the “Bosque de Las Hayas” (Beech Tree Forest), the “Cola de Caballo” (Horsetail) waterfall and the “Gradas de Soaso” (Soaso Tiers).
The summit of the Carlit is one of the most emblematic peaks in the Pyrenees. The great beauty of its surroundings, the 12 lakes that encompass it and the final climb make it a very special mountaintop for nature lovers. This is the classic route that starts from Les Bouillouses lake, follows the GR10 passing by some lakes, goes up the Grava Valley, continues along the scree to the “Estany Gelat” (Frozen lake) and with an easy climb reaches the roof (2,921m), which offers spectacular views on a clear day.
One of the most beautiful itineraries to reach the summit of the Puigmal mountain and to discover the Núria Valley. Although the route begins with a steep climb from Fontalba to the top of Puigmal (2,913m), the terrain is not very technical, so the only requirement to enjoy these spectacular panoramic views from the main mountain ranges and surrounding valleys is to be in good physical shape. The itinerary continues descending towards the Núria Valley, famous for its Sanctuary and the Rack Railway which connects the valley to the nearby villages of Queralbs and Ribes de Freser. From there, the trail returns back to the starting point along the “Camí de Fontalba” path.
This spectacular loop trail around the Ulldeter Valley Cirque, starts from the Vallter 2000 ski resort and regales the hiker with three peaks: Pic de la Dona (2,702m), Pic de Prat de Bacivers (2,845m) and Pic de Bastiments (2,881m). It is one of these long-established routes which you would never get tired of, for the privileged views of the peaks of Vall de Núria, the French Pyrenees and the Pre-Pyrenees, and for the great panorama of Catalonia, even bestowing views all the way to the sea coast comprised of the Costa Brava, Cap de Creus and the Gulf of Roses on a cloudless day.
The Pic d’Anie or Auñamendi (2,504m), is very significant for its pyramidal shape and for being the first Pyrenean mountain to exceed 2,500m moving eastward from the Atlantic Ocean. Its summit offers a spectacular panoramic view which includes the mountains of la Mesa de los Tres Reyes, Peña Forca, Castillo de Acher and further afield the Bisaurin and Pic du Midi d’Ossau. Despite being entirely on French territory, it is the sacred mountain of the Basque people, because according to their mythology, there lives the goddess Mari or Yanagorri, female representation of Mother Earth and natural forces.
Standing out on the Aragonese pre-Pyrenean horizon and rising on vertiginous 300-meter walls, stands the top of the Peña Oroel (1,769m). Reached from the starting point of the “Parador de Oroel” and boasting a fantastic viewpoint, this peak offers a picture-perfect landscape of the Huesca Pyrenees. The legend that comes with this mountaintop has it that the reconquest of Aragon originated here, as bonfires were lit as a sign of the start of the rebellion. Returning from this mythical summit, the itinerary continues on to the la “Senda de los Lobos” (the Wolves’ Path).