Tag Archives: Ordesa National Park

Walking in Ordesa National Park

2019 Ordesa National Park shuttle bus dates and times

The dates for the shuttle bus into the Ordesa Canyon from Torla have been published for 2019.

The bus operates from the visitors centre in Torla to the Pradera in Ordesa where the main hikes in the valley start. Private cars aren’t allowed into the valley during Easter, from the 29 June to the 15 September and from 12 to 13 October (2019 dates).

Since last year, there is also a shuttle bus that operates for the Añisclo Canyon that runs from the village of Buerba to San Urbez – they haven’t confirmed the dates for this yet but last year they ran on the same dates as the Ordesa bus.

2019 shuttle bus dates and times

Last days of June, July and August (29 June to 31 August) -  first bus 6 am  – last bus into valley 7 pm – last bus back to Torla 10 pm

September (1 to 15 September) – first bus 6 am – last bus into valley 6 pm – last bus back to Torla 9 pm

October (12 to 13 October) – first bus 6 am – last bus into valley 6 pm – last bus back to Torla 8.30 pm

2019 Bus prices

Standard fare:  4.50 € return ticket  – 3 € single ticket
Older than 65 years*: 3,50 € return ticket – 2,50 € single ticket
Younger than 10 years*: free
Dogs: 2 € return ticket – 1 € single ticket
* it would be necesary to show your passaport to claim the discount.

The service works pretty efficiently with buses every 20 minutes (more in high summer).

Tickets can be bought at the small wooden hut outside the visitors centre and some hotels in Torla (such as Hotel Ordesa) also sell tickets at reception.

Please note that although they do allow dogs, they have to be put in a dog carrier in the luggage area of the bus. In the park dogs have to be on leads.

Walking in the Ordesa National Park

Three ways to explore Ordesa National Park

The spectacular canyons of the Ordesa National Park contain some of the best hiking in Spain. Its kilometre deep canyons are carved out of the limestone and have awe inspiring cliffs.

Hikes range from gentle walks in alpine meadows with the cliffs towering above you, to tough trails following narrow ledges high in the cliffs. There’s something for everyone in Ordesa!

The park is a UNESCO world heritage site due it’s biodiversity, and you’ll find the rare bone eating lammergeier here as well as ancient beech forests, beautiful orchids and lots of endemic flowers species.

Let our local guides show you the best Ordesa has to offer. We’ve three hiking holidays based in the Ordesa National Park – Canyons of Ainsa, Discover Ordesa and our Ordesa Self Guided itinerary. All have excellent hotels and each explores a different area of the park.

Read our full guide to walking in the Ordesa National Park.

With so many choices, you’ve no excuse not to come and discover the delights of Ordesa for yourself!

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Hiking adventures in Spain

5 hiking adventures in Spain for 2019

Another year is upon us and we’ve chosen some of our favourite hiking adventures in Spain to give you inspiration for a healthy active holiday in 2019.

Explore the spectacular canyons of Ordesa, the limestone spires of the Picos de Europa or the undiscovered Puertos de Beceite – Spain has a wealth of mountain ranges to choose from.

Here’s five of the best adventures to take your mind off the cold weather and to start dreaming of hiking under the Spanish sunshine. One word of warning though – with the excellent Spanish food and wine you may not ending up shedding as many pounds as you hoped on our hiking holidays!

1. Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa

Trumpet gentians in the Picos de Europa

Spain’s oldest National Park and one of the most spectacular with sharp limestone peaks rising from alpine meadows. The famous Cares Gorge splits the massif in two and makes for a wonderful hike. On the southern side the Fuente De cable car whisks you up 700 metres for some great but accessible hiking in high mountain terrain.

At times it appears like a land that time forgot with shepherds still spending there summers in the high pastures, taking care of the herds and making cheese.

Our Picos de Europa guided holiday is dual centre allowing you to explore both the northern and southern sides of the park. With two hikes offered each day – an easier and a harder option this is an adventure suitable for all levels of fitness.

2. Hike the GR11 and summit Monte Perdido

GR11 hut to hut holiday

On the summit of Monte Perdido (3355m)

If you’re looking for adventure start here! The GR11 is a monster 840km trail that traverses the Pyrenees from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic taking around 45 days.

For those without a month or so to go hiking our Refugio Week tackles a week section of the GR11 covering some of the most spectacular and highest legs in the Ordesa National Park and the Valle de Tena.

As a bonus, we’ll take a side trip up Monte Perdido – the third highest summit in the Pyrenees at 3355 metres.

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High on the Faja Pelay

The Pyrenees through September

September here is a beautiful month. The villages are winding down after a busy August and we start waking up to fresh crisp mornings. The leaves on the trees start to change colour and the hill sides turn a mixture of orange and red. We’ve even had a dusting of snow on the higher peaks.

Below is a selection of photos from the guided holidays we ran through September -

Discover Ordesa

We had great week hiking with the Ordesa crew with fresh snow on the tops of the mountains, my first sighting of a wild boar whilst out guiding and an ideal location for final drinks of the week! Thanks for coming guys!

Valle de Tena explorer

A great team from many corners of the world and a few familiar faces too. We explored the abandoned villages of Serrablo, rang the bells  on our Santa Erosia hike, reached the tops of some impressive peaks and even spotted a snake which had managed to elude us for many years. Read our blog about the snake we spotted here

A bespoke 8 days of hiking

We welcomed Carolyn, Bill, Dave, Deb, Isabel and Drew from New York to the Pyrenees with a personalised 8 day itinerary taking in both the Valle de Tena and Ordesa as well as local wine tasting and tapas evenings. Many thanks to the 6 for their company!

Peaks and Passes

and finally… It had to happen, our last guided holiday of the season. We had some amazing views from some of our highest guided peaks in the area and went out with a bang summiting the highest of these on our final day – Pico de Bacias 2760m

Mountaineering in the Pyrenees: 25 Classic Mountain Routes

Not only do I enjoy long and strenuous treks in the high mountains, I enjoy mountaineering in almost, if not all it’s forms, from bouldering, through to sport climbing, ski touring, alpine climbing, and climbing in the Greater Ranges.  Enjoying all these disciplines generally mean a number of things, including:

a) the next trip is always planned
b) day’s off are spent doing more of what I love
c) new guidebooks to an area I frequent excite me

Here, in the Spanish Pyrenees, one of the trickiest things when it comes to climbing and mountaineering, is finding information for particular routes and areas, as the information (route diagrams, photos and descriptions) might be found hidden on a blog somewhere on-line, in a routes book in a local bar or cafe, in a guidebook, which may be out of print, or through word of mouth.  It’s a very different story to back in the UK, where every mountaineering and climbing route can be found in up to date and by and large, easy to get hold of guidebooks, normally without fail.

I was therefore quite excited to see that Vertebrate Publishing had recently translated into English ‘Pyrénées, les plus belles courses’ by mountain guide François Laurens.

None of the routes mentioned in the guidebook are new, far from it, but up until now, much of the information for these 25 mountaineering routes, only really existed in French or Spanish, and whilst there will be plenty of you who are reasonably handy when it comes to understanding either of these two languages, mountaineering descriptions can often use very specific terms, for which the exact translations may prove crucial when actually trying to follow the exact line when out in the mountains, so an English guidebook is hugely welcome.

The 25 hand-picked routes, many of which are ridge traverses and rock climbs span much of the Pyrenees, although are largely concentrated to the higher, central Pyrenees (Aragon on the Spanish side, and the eastern end of the Pyrenees Atlantiques, Haute Pyrenees and Haute Garonne on the French side).   The format for each route description will feel very familiar if you’ve used the more well known guidebooks, for the Alps, by the same publisher.  For those that haven’t, fear not, this guidebook is very easy to use, unlike many of the older, monochrome (and out-of-date) guidebooks available for the area.

The descriptions start with the essential facts: starting points, difficulty, timings, best time of year, required gear and first ascensionist, followed by a brief history of the route, before giving a detailed description of the route, and just as importantly, the decent.  Coloured photos and topos and maps are used throughout.

There’s no doubt, that this guidebook gives an inspiring selection of some of the classic mountaineering routes in the Pyrenees, however, I do have a couple of thoughts:

Firstly, the guidebook is quite francocentric, with only a fraction of the routes being easily accessible to those on the Spanish side, of which all bar one are in the central and eastern parts of the autonomous community of Aragon.

Secondly, the Pyrenees cover an enormous distance and area, and to have only selected 25 routes for such an extensive range seems like a slightly wasted opportunity to open up what are some of Europe’s most beautiful mountains to the rest of the world.

Gudiebook Mountaineering in the Pyrenees

Hiking around the Lacs d'Ayous

Sunny July, hiking in the Pyrenees

Once more we have reached the end of another busy and enjoyable month here in the Pyrenees and we really do need to ask our selves where has this month gone! It’s been fantastic to see familiar faces returning for their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th holiday with us and we’ve also got to enjoy the Pyrenees with many others. The flowers and in particular the blue iris through July have been stunning and the weather has been beautifully hot giving us the perfect reason to go swimming in the rivers and streams whilst out and about.

Below are some select photos of what’s been happening through July, if you’d like to see some more of our photo’s, visit our face book page – https://www.facebook.com/hikepyrenees

Valle de Tena explorer - This week saw Sarah back here on her 4th and Sally back on her 3rd holiday with us. Amongst other hikes we also took advantage of the uplift in Panticosa to get high into the mountains and also had a couple of forays into France.

Discover Ordesa – We had a busy week enjoying the hikes and views of Ordesa and the surrounding area, the blue iris were superb this week!

Western Pyrenees – Phil and Javier had a successful week hiking and guiding in the Western Pyrenees.

Picos de Europa - The Picos de Europa has always been somewhere we have been keen to explore so Ken and I went over for a week to research the area; it’s hiking opportunities and of course the restaurants! Next year Hike Pyrenees will be offering a dual level walking holiday in the Picos  – Keep a close eye on the website for dates and prices!

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Discovering Ordesa

Things are now quietening down now for our season here in the Pyrenees, and last week, we ran our final Discover Ordesa week.  For those seeking a bit more peace and quiet in the hugely popular (and rightly so) Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park, mid-September can prove to be a fantastic time to visit, particularly as we can drive into the main car park in the National Park, known as the ‘Pradera’ (during the peak season, there is a compulsory shuttle bus service from Torla to the Pradera). Continue reading

Looking at the improbable Faja de las Flores

Guiding the Faja de las Flores – Ordesa

The Faja de las Flores is a spectacular high level walk which traverses the northern cliffs of the canyon along a weaker sedimentary layer which is in-cut. ‘Faja’ means girdle in english and the faja paths in Ordesa traverse different parts of the canyon at varying levels. Due to their nature, the faja paths are fairly narrow and a head for heights is often needed, particularly on the Faja de las Flores which is 1km above the valley floor!

This week I had the pleasure of guiding Sean and Sue along this famous route. The weather was perfect; cool in the morning for our monster ascent from the valley floor and beautifully clear skies for fantastic views.

Sean and Sue on their way up to the start of the Faja de las Flores

Sean and Sue on their way up to the start of the Faja de las Flores

On the way up there are 2 sets of ‘clavijas’ to tackle (iron pitons placed in the rock to help on steeper sections), and about 1000m of ascent to do.

Once at the start of the route it looks as if there is no place for a path but as you get closer the eroded band shows itself and you can see it winding it’s way along the cliff face.

Once on the narrow traverse path we took our time, enjoyed the views and cautiously looking down at the valley floor.

At the other end of the traverse we we’re able to get great views of  the ‘Breche de Roland’ and the ‘Tres Serols’

We had a great day up there and after 17 km and 1150m ascent and of course descent we were all pretty tired but very happy, especially once the G&T was served!

 

Summit of Pic Peyreget

A great season so far…

Well, the 2014 hiking season here in the Spanish Pyrenees is well and truly under way, and despite the occasional late afternoon thunderstorm, things have been ticking along nicely.  Our self-guided holidays are proving to be as popular as ever, with about half of the guests hiking the 6 day Village to Village Walk in the Valle de Tena.  Other guests have explored the Ordesa Valley, Camino de Santiago and other spectacular areas of the Valle de Tena.

It’s also been busy on the guided holidays.  We’ve run a few more dual level holidays this season, allowing walkers to choose between gentle and more strenuous walks, both in the Valle de Tena and Ordesa, on each of their 5 days, giving them the opportunity to enjoy a diverse range of environments, from flower filled meadows through to rugged high mountain terrain.  Highlights have included hiking the Faja de Pelay in the Ordesa Canyon, visiting the Ibones de Arriel above the GR11 and popping over the border to walk in the French Pyrenees.

Phil has also run a new walking holiday this season, in the Western PyreneesThis holiday is split between  the two beautiful villages of Ezcaroz in the Valle de Salazar and Erratzu in Baztan, and is aimed at those looking for relaxed days in the mountains.   Many of the guests on this holiday had hiked with us before (mostly on our Lakes & Valleys holiday), and were looking to explore the Pyrenees further.  Phil will be running this trip again in September.

We’re also all looking forward to running our Refugio Week later this month, which tackles the highest peak in the area, Monte Perdido, which at 3355m, looms over the head of the Ordesa Canyon.

brecha-de-rolando

Brecha de Roland and Taillon (3147m)

Took a trip to Ordesa with Fabian at the weekend to visit the Brecha de Rolando and climb Taillon – a 3000 metre peak on the border. I’d been wanting to do this hike for ages and the great weather we’ve been having recently gave us the perfect opportunity.

Brecha-de-Rolando-05

Fabian with the Brecha de Roland behind

The Brecha is a stunning deep cleft in the cliffs that run along the border and it’s the only easy place to pass between France and Spain in the Ordesa Park. It’s the stuff of legend and the Chanson de Roland tells how Roland one of Charlemagnes generals escaped from the moors by cleaving the breach with his sword and fleeing into Christian France.

Hoarfrost in the Ordesa Valley

Hoarfrost in the Ordesa Valley

We started at the Pradera in the Ordesa valley. During winter sunlight doesn’t reache the floor of the valley and this combined with the temperature inversions you get in such a deep valley has created a wonderful hoarfrost that is covering all of the trees on the valley floor. I’ve never seen it this thick before and it was quite beautiful.

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Ordesa Valley

Thanks for a great summer

Phil, Anna, Ken & Hannah would like to say a big thank you to all of our guests that made this summer such an excellent and memorable season for Hike Pyrenees. It makes our hiking a pleasure when we’ve such great and friendly guests – we hope you enjoyed the hiking as much as we did! We had some fantastic holidays in the Valle de Tena and Ordesa and I thought I’d put up some of my favourite photos of the season that will hopefully bring back some good memories for our guests.

Jon hiking on the Faja Racon in Ordesa

Jon hiking on the Faja Racon in Ordesa

Some of the highlights were two groups summiting Pico Posets the second highest peak in the Pyrenees and an ascent of Monte Perdido in June when there was still a huge amount of snow around.

On the summit of Monte Perdido (3355m)

On the summit of Monte Perdido (3355m)

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Private group walking holiday in the Pyrenees

Enjoying the views from Punta Del Pacino

This weekend saw the end of a fantastic bespoke trip for Elaine and friends from California and Hawaii. We often get groups who are keen for  longer trips with us and for Elaine we put together a 10 day itinerary which took in 3 contrasting places in the Pyrenees; the Valle de Tena, Bestue to the west of Ordesa and Torla situated at the mouth of the Ordesa Canyon we also included a night in a refugio high in the mountains.

Starting in the Valle de Tena we first hiked up Punta Del Pacino 1965m which had great views in all directions whilst the ground was carpeted with wild flowers. Next we walked into the valley of La Ripera and under the impressive cliffs of the Sierra de Tendenera.

Cloudless skies whilst hiking along the La Ripera valley

Refugio Respomuso situated in the scenic Circo de Piedrafita

Next came our refugio trip. We set off from La Sarra and followed the GR11 arriving at Refugio Respomuso, our home for the night. with snowy views, great company and some good beer and wine available to all, the evening flew by in a cloud of laughter! The following day saw the team split, with one group heading off towards Collado de la Fecha on the French /Spanish border equipped with axe and crampons and the other half heading back down to the valley to rest their tired legs. Continue reading

Snowshoeing in the Ordesa Valley

Snowshoeing in OrdesaOrdesa has had lots of snow this winter and you can snowshoe straight from the Pardera car park where there’s several feet of snow. The valley looks beautiful in the snow and I’ve been over there a couple of times in the past few weeks – one time with Anna and Isabel and the other with a group of student journalists from the States.

Anna and Isabel snowshoeing in Ordesa

Anna and Isabel snowshoeing

Isabel loves playing in the snow although as she was waist deep in places she was soon carried by Dad in the rucksack.

On my second visit with the journalists from Alpine Living magazine we got great views of this Sarrios (or Chamois) in the snow – he wasn’t far off and didn’t seem bothered by us. Had quite a fluffy winter coat with lovely colours.

Chamois (or Sarrios in Aragonese) in Ordesa

Chamois (or Sarrios in Aragonese) in Ordesa

The waterfalls were flowing quite fast however as not much sun gets this deep in the canyon lots ice and icicles flanked them making them look really beautiful.

Cascada del estrecho

Cascada del estrecho

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Walking in the Ordesa Valley

Views into the Ordesa Valley

Walking on the rim of the Ordesa Valley

The Ordesa National Park is the oldest protected area in Spain and an undisputed highlight of the Pyrenees. The walking in Ordesa is superb with the parks dramatic canyons and three thousand metre peaks giving spectacular views.

Walking on the Faja Racon

Walking on the Faja Racon

The Ordesa Valley is the most famous of the canyons with cliffs rising over eight hundred metres on each side and Monte Perdido perched majestically at the valleys end. This valley offers walkers the most variety with a choice of routes ranging from gentle rambles to very scary cliff edge routes. Read our full article on walking in Ordesa.

Monte Perdido at the head of the Ordesa Valley

Monte Perdido at the head of the Ordesa Valley

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