Tag Archives: Aragón

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 the largest protected area in Aragón located 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.

Not to far away from the town of Huesca (not inside the park limits) you will find the small village of Riglos. In 2022 it gained seventh place in the French newspaper El Monde “Most beautiful villages in the world awards”. As you can see by the below picture the setting is simply stunning.

The village of Riglos, a hidden gem in the Hoya de Huesca
The village of Riglos, a hidden gem in the Hoya de Huesca

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

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Estepa de los Monegros National Park

  • Waiting for Declaration

Despite its apparent barren landscape this natural area (The future Estepa de los Monegros National Park) is of ​​high ecological value, home to a rich biodiversity and represents one of the best semi-desert areas in all of Europe.

The Sierra de Alcubierre mountain chain crosses the comarca from Northwest to Southeast. Its maximum elevation is 822 meters, at the mountain called Oscuro. The climate is semiarid with scarce rainfall and high temperatures in the autumn. The area has numerous saltwater and freshwater lakes, including the lake of Sariñena and the lake of Gallocanta.

The area’s cultural heritage includes several historical monasteries, including the Monasterio de Santa María de Sigena and the Charterhouse of Las Fuentes.

The proposed area for the future Estepa de los Monegros National Park covers the Aragonese regions of Los Monegros , the Ribera Baja del Ebro and the Central Region, in the provinces of Zaragoza and Huesca, and has an area of ​​28,869 hectares distributed between the municipalities of Alfajarín and Villafranca de Ebro (Central Region), Pina de Ebro (Region of the Ribera Baja del Ebro), Monegrillo, Farlete and Perdiguera (Region of Los Monegros) in Zaragoza and Alcubierre, Lanaja (Los Monegros region) in Huesca.

The natural spaces that make up the Network of National Parks in Spain form a varied mosaic of ecosystems such as marshlands, lava fields, snowy peaks, marine reserves, forests, deserts and river canyons so it is important that the landscape and habitat of Los Monegros be added to this listof protected areas.

The advance of macro-farms and mega-projects of renewable energy add to the threats to this valuable natural space as was the plan some years ago to build a huge Las Vegas casino complex (Gran Scala) so the conservation organization SEO / BirdLife has sent to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) and the Government of Aragón a proposal to declare the Estepa de Los Monegros National Park.

If declared this would be the first protected natural space designated as a National Park with characteristics of a steppe ecosystem, both in Spain and in Europe, which would place Aragón as a benchmark for observation and study of these valuable ecosystems . The designated territory represents a dozen habitats of community interest, three of which are a priority at European level, and it is home to valuable biodiversity, among which several species of flora and fauna in danger of extinction are present.

See more protected areas in Arágon here at Wildside Holidays.

See the Comarca de los Monegros website (Spanish) here: http://www.turismolosmonegros.org


Pinares de Rodeno

Created in 1995, the protected landscape of the Pinares de Rodeno is located in the Sierra de Albarracín region in the province of Teruel, Aragon. Local villages in the area are Albarracín, Bezas and Gea de Albarracín.The area covers around ​​6,829 hectares and the altitude ranges between 1,095 meters above sea level in the Tobías ravine and 1,602 meters in the Cruz de Montoyo.

The soil of the pine forest is formed on a substrate of red sandstone, called rodeno. Among the forms that the atmospheric agents have shaped. It is worth highlighting the gorges dug by the water courses, the taffoni (hemispherical holes in the rock wall) or the pilancones (large circular depressions in the rock surface).

There is also an area in which limestone rock is predominant with a softer relief and higher, flatter areas. Here there are other species of pines and holm oaks.

The main species of pine that inhabits the area is the rodeno pine (Pinus pinaster) which is characterized by having a medium height and a rough reddish bark. They have traditionally been used to obtain resin. The rodeno pine is accompanied by characteristic species such as juniper, rockrose, heather, lavender, rosemary and thyme . In addition you can find other species of trees of the genus Quercus (Carrasqueño oak, rebollo and sessile oak).

In ravines and more humid areas there are species such as poplar, willow, hazel, hawthorn and holly.

In the limestone areas, the rodeno pine gives way to the black pine and the scots pine.

The animal species found in the pine forests are typical of the Mediterranean forest such as wild boars, roe deer, red deer, fox, stone marten, hares. and squirrels.

Among the birds, the pine forests are a refuge for wren, crossbill, little owl, tawny owl, various hawk species and booted eagle. In the oak forests you will find birds like blue tit, blackbird, robin and buntings. On the cliffs and crags look out for golden eagle, peregrine falcon, kestrel and eagle owl.

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Cave paintings

There are various caves among the pine forests with important examples of Levantine rock art, among which the Prado del Navazo, Doña Clotilde and the Cocinilla del Obispo stand out . The artwork represented consists of humans hunting or cooking and scenes of animals.

Information centres

Donarque Interpretation Center (Centro de Interpretación de Donarque)

Located between Bezas and Albarracín, 30 km from Teruel, 14 km from Albarracín and 3 km from Bezas.

The exhibitions in this interpretation centre cover the rich natural history ​​of the protected landscape of the Pinares de Rodeno, especially the geological values ​​and traditional forest uses. Inside the centre we can find…

  • Audiovisual Projections.
  • An Interactive exhibition.
  • Geology of the Sierra de Albarracín.
  • Protected Landscape Units (Rodeno, Loma Rasa and Sierra Carbonera).
  • Flora and fauna of the Sierra de Albarracín.
  • Caves, cave paintings and pre history
  • Obtaining resin.

Opening times

Autumn – winter: weekends and holidays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3pm to 6pm.
Spring – summer: weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4pm to 8pm

Albarracín Cultural Park

The centre of the park is the town of Albarracín and the surroundings of this medieval villa stand out as a remarkable geological, paleontological and archaeological heritage. Albarracín, surrounded by a vast pine forest holds one of the biggest amounts of post-Palaeolithic prehistoric art in South West Europe. There are over 20 sites to visit in the area containing painting representations in Albarracín, Bezas and Tormón. There are also two large areas with engravings in Pozondón and Ródenas.

Bronze Age remains can be found in places such as Cueva de la Artesa, in the mining fields Loma de la Tejería and Tajada Bajera.

Celtiberian culture remains have been found in the town of Griegos.

From Roman times, parts of an aqueduct remains which once brought water from the Guadaliviar river down to the town of Cella.

The Middle Ages are represented by the beautiful and well preserved castles of both Albarracín and Peracense.


The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

http://grazalemaguide.com/

The Lomaza de Belchite Wildlife Refuge

The Lomaza de Belchite Wildlife Refuge is located in the Campo de Belchite region in the southwest of the province of Zaragoza, Aragón. The refuge has an area of ​​961 hectares and was declared a protected natural area in1995.

This steppe territory is the result of a very ancient process of human deforestation and subsequent agricultural (mainly livestock) use.

The current wastelands and moorlands are fragile ecosystems and hold a habitat of specialized steppe flora and fauna.

The area has suffered an abandonment of traditional agricultural practices in recent years.

The Lomaza de Belchite Wildlife Refuge is recognised as a Zona de Especial Protección para las Aves (ZEPA) and is an important nesting area for steppe birds. The main species found here are Lesser kestrel, Stone curlew, Dupont’s lark, Pipit and Calandra lark

The flora is also adapted to the steppe environment with scarce arboreal and shrub vegetation resulting from the extreme weather conditions in the area.

There is very little rainfall, strong winds and sudden changes in temperature during both winter and summer.

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Access is on the A-222 road, with a parking area, explanatory panels and a signposted itinerary that starts from this point.

At the time of writing this article a permit is required in order to o be able to enter the refuge area (Ask in one of the information centres below)

Information Centres

There is a tourist office in the town of Belchite that should be able to help you with access to the area so it is reccommended to visit here first.

Address: Calle Becu, 2 Belchite

Interpretation Center of the steppes of the Ebro valley (Belchite)

This center is located in a superb building on the outskirts of Belchite next to the Ethnic Museum.

The center has a large room with the exhibition on display and another adjoining video room. In addition, it offers various interactive panels, with sounds and aromas of the steppe, models, audiovisual projections for groups which allows a first approach to these natural spaces before visiting the La Lomaza Wildlife Refuge and the El Planerón Ornithological Reserve.

The Interpretation Center is open to the public on weekends and holidays, from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 20:00.

On other dates you can arrange a visit by calling 679 55 20 90 beforehand.

The website for the town of Belchite is here.
https://belchite.es/


The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

http://grazalemaguide.com/