Tag Archives: Natural Parks in Aragón

Moncayo Natural Park

  • Region: Aragón
  • Province: Zaragoza
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1978
  • Park surface area: 11,144 hectares
  • Towns and Villages: Añón, Calcena,Litago, Lituénigo, Purujosa, San Martín de la Virgen de Moncayo, Talamantes, Tarazona and Trasmoz

Points of interest

The Moncayo Natural Park (once called the “Dehesa del Moncayo Natural Park”) is a protected natural area located in the province of Zaragoza on the border with the province of Soria. It occupies part of the regions of Aranda, Campo de Borja, Tarazona and Moncayo. Moncayo itself is a 15 km long and about 7 km wide mountain chain and the highest summit, San Miguel (2,314 m), is the highest point in the 500 km long sistema Ibérico. The Moncayo massif also includes two other peaks that are almost identical and are located close together. They are the Cerro San Juan (2,283 m) and Peña Lobera (2226 m).

The area has quite a few walking / hiking routes and one of the most famous starts from the village of San Martín de la Virgen de Moncayo and finishes at the village of Agramonte. (See information centres below)

Find a hotel in the Moncayo Natural Park

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Flora

The lower slopes are mainly a covering of mixed scrubland and holm oak. and at higher altitude these are replaced by beech, juniper, willow, gorse and heather. There are also planted pine forest interspersed with native forest of scots and black pine. Peaks are mostly bare of trees and lower growing “alpine” shrubbery is well developed. (Especially heather and gorse).

Fauna

The mixed scrubland and lush vegetation of the Moncayo area is the perfect habitat for birdlife. (Over 100 species). This is a lesser visited natural park of Spain and also hunting is very restricted thus creating a unique and biodiverse habitat. This park is where I have had the best sightings of Golden eagles! 🙂

Of the 228 species of butterflies known in Spain, 127 inhabit the Moncaya Natural park. May to August are the best months with most species on the wing during this time.

Mammals include wild boar, red deer, genet, mongoose, fox and wild cat though they are fairly secretive and can be hard to find.

Also in the area

Monastery of Veruela

El Real Monasterio de Santa María de Veruela (The Royal Monastery of Santa María de Veruela) is a Cistercian abbey dating from the 12th century. It is situated near Vera de Moncayo. It was founded in 1146 by Pedro de Atarés. More info in wikipedia.

The wine route

The Garnacha Wine Route includes the larger villages of Campo de Borja, Vera de Moncayo and El Buste but in total there are 20 villages linked by vineyards and The Museum and much more information can be found inside the Monastery of Veruela. This should be your starting point for the route around Moncayo vineyards.

In Tarrazona, the Cathedral ‘Santa María de Huerta’ stands out, a beautiful mosaic of architecture styles whose origins date back to 13th century. Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance fuse together in which is considered to be one of the mosy beautiful Gothic cathedrals in Spain.

Information/Visitors Centers

Tourist office in Tarrazona

Address: Plaza San Francisco, 1, Tarazona

The tourist office in Tarrazona should be number 1 on your visit list. The staff are friendly and very helpful. Excellent information about walking and hiking in the area.

Monday to Friday: 09.30 to 14.15 and 16.00 to19.00
Saturday: 10.00 to 14.00 and16.00 to19.00
Sunday: 10.00 to 14.00 and 16.00 to 18.00

Interpretation Center in Añon de Moncayo

Situated on the ground floor of the town hall building in the Plaza de España this centre has an excellent exhibition about the natural park and mans influence on the environment. There is also an audio visual projection showing many aspects of the MoncayoNatural Park.

The Aragón tourist information website is here.
https://www.turismodearagon.com/en/ficha/parque-natural-del-moncayo/

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The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

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Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park

  • Region: Aragón
  • Province: Huesca
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1990
  • Park surface area: 47,453 hectares
  • Villages and towns: Abiego, Adahuesca, Aínsa-Sobrarbe, Alquézar, Arguis, Bárcabo, Bierge, Boltaña, Caldearenas, Casbas de Huesca, Colungo, Huesca, Loporzano, Nueno and Sabiñánigo.

Points of interest

The Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park (in Aragonese Parque natural d’a Sierra y as Foces de Guara ) is a natural park in the province of Huesca and covers the regions of Alto Gállego, Hoya de Huesca, Sobrarbe and Somontano de Barbastro.

Thanks to its geology this area has become somewhat a Mecca for the practice of canyoning and climbing (In fact some would say that this is the area in Europe that first developed the sport of canyoning). The ravine of the Balcés river is more than 20 km in length and has cliffs as high as 800 m. The Grallera Alta de Guara chasm which has a vertical drop of 277 m.

The whole area is noteworthy for its spectacular scenery and wildlife.

The climate is a hybrid of Atlantic and Mediterranean due to its location between the Pyrenees and the Ebro Valley . This marks the differences between the vegetation of the south and that of the north.

There are four rivers that cross the mountains and these have created the characteristic canyons: they are the Alcanadre, Flumen, Guatizalema, Vero and Mascún.

Find a hotel in the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park

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Village to village hiking in the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park

Hike between the remote villages of the Sierra de Guara natural park. The park has perfect hiking weather in the spring and autumn. Your bags are moved between hotels each day so you just hike with a daypack. 6 days hiking taking you to the heart of this undiscovered area. Wonderful scenery with deep canyons, rocky limestone spires and abandoned villages.

Find out more at Hike Pyrenees


Flora

One of the most notable characteristics of the vegetation in the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park is the contrast between the north and south slopes. On the northern slopes gall oak occupies large areas, followed in height by the forests of scots pine and beech groves. At higher altitudes there are forests of black pine and spruce.

On the southern slopes the Mediterranean forest takes control with holm oak being the predominant tree along with scots pine at higher altitudes.

Around the natural park the scrubland is also one of the most important plant formations especially boxwood heathers and kermes oak.

In 2020 the “millenary holm oak” close to the town of Lecina in Huesca was elected “Tree of the Year in Spain”. Head for the town of Lecina. There is an easy marked footpath taking you to this emblematic tree.

The old oak tree of Lecina
In 2020, the millenary holm oak from the town of Lecina in Huesca was elected “Tree of the Year in Spain”.

Fauna

The steep ravine walls in the area facilitate the nesting of numerous species of cliff dwelling birds such as the Griffon vulture that is easy to identify by its characteristic circling flight when ascending in thermal currents. Keep your eyes open too for Bearded vulture and Golden eagle.

Among the mammals are wild boar, fox, wild cat, dormouse and beech marten

The common brown trout frequents the river stretches anfd look out for Pyrenean newt in springs and ponds.

Also in the area

There are cave paintings from the Upper Paleolithic in the Fuente del Trucho. In the cave with a 20 m mouth opening and a depth of 24 m there are several panels with more than 100 cave paintings on the walls and ceiling as well as rock carvings on the floor. You can distinguish horses, bears, cervids, goats, negative hands and trilobed signs painted in red and black with an age between 25,000 and 30,000 years.

(The Fuente del Trucho cave is located at an altitude of 640 m, close to the fountain of the same name near the confluence of the Trucho or Arpán ravine and the Vero river, between the municipalities of Colungo and Asque. Currently the cave is closed to the public but there is a partial replica of it in the Vero River Rock Art Center in Colungo.) SEE INFORMATION CENTERS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE FOR DETAILS.

Canyoning and climbing

One of the most popular sports activities in the Park is canyoning . The gorges of the main rivers, Vero, Mascún and Alcanadre attract numerous visitors making the area well known for this sport throughout Europe. Among the hundreds of ravines the most famous are:

  • Barranco del Vero.
  • Mascún ravine.
  • Barranco de la Peonera.
  • Gorgas Negras ravine.

Information/Visitors Centers

Hiking Trails.

You can download pdf documents for hiking trails in the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park at this link. (They are in Spanish but contain good maps and images)
https://www.aragon.es/-/parque-natural-de-la-sierra-y-canones-de-guara


The natural park has several options for the interpretation of natural and cultural values and there are three interpretation centers that belong to the Aragón Natural Network. These centers provide interpretation and environmental education of the ecological diversity of the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park. They offer services such as the reception of visitors, basic information about the park, educational exhibitions and audiovisual projections. (ALL ARE WELL WORTH A VISIT)

Arguis Interpretation Center (Pascual Garrido Interpretation Center)

Location : The village of Arguis 23 kilometers from Huesca
Theme : The River Forest and the Fluvial Environment.

Audiovisual Projection, Interactive exhibition covering the subjects of Rock, ice, snow, canyons and cliffs

Information Office of Santa Cilia de Panzano

Location : In the town of Santa Cilia de Panzano, along the Aguas a Bierge road. 32 kilometers from Huesca.

Information on the natural values ​​(flora, fauna, geology, etc.) of the Guara summits. There is also a neighboring building with information on cliff dwelling birds (Casa del Buitre)

There is an interactive exhibition covering the subjects of the Mountains, Fauna and Flora and also Man and his relationship with the natural environment.

Interpretation Center of Bierge

Location: in the town of Bierge by the access road to the town of Rodellar, a few meters from the crossroads, the first detour to the left. 40 km from Huesca.

There is an excellent exhibition that is adapted to motor, visual and hearing disabilities and it focuses on the natural and cultural values ​​of the Natural Park.

An audio visual projection about the area and an interactive exhibition covering the subjects of the Karst Geology, Birds of prey, especially the bearded vulture, Flora of the Natural Park, Prehistoric and cave paintings and more recent cultural and traditional uses of the land.

Calendar and Hours (Subject to change)
Autumn – winter: weekends and holidays, from 10 am to 2 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm
Spring – summer: weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Vero River Rock Art Center

The Cave Art Information Centre invites you to take a fascinating trip through the Prehistory of the River Vero, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The extensive educational resources allow you to discover the creative genius of human beings, their beliefs and lifestyles.

The centre has three exhibition areas, equipped with recreation facilities, models and audiovisual resources available in different languages.

  • Museum House (“Casa Museo”) provides general information about cave art, the cultures of the inhabitants of the River Vero, and the natural environment.
  • Archaeological Park (“Parque Arqueológico”) has several reproductions of Neolithic huts and burial constructions, such as dolmens and tumuli.
  • Fuente del Trucho Cave Space explores the mystery of life through the art of the only cave in Aragon with Paleolithic paintings.

Web: https://parqueculturalriovero.com/en/museum-centres/cave-art-centre
Address: Las Braules, 222148 in the village of Colungo.

The tourism website of Hoya de Huesca is also an excellent source of information (Credit for the image at the top of this page)
https://turismo.hoyadehuesca.es/en/la-hoya-de-huesca/natural


Wildside Holidays – Spain

The top wildlife, activity and walking holiday companies in Spain. Small family companies living and working in Spain. Local guides are the best!

http://wildsideholidays.co.uk/