Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall
This is the main day run in the Ordesa area of Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. It's a 5-star experience on a sunny autumn day and at least a 4-star run the rest of the year. Spectacular mountains, beautiful beech canopy, waterfalls, cascades, a river, high alpine meadow, and the dramatic Cascada Cola de Caballo (Horse's Tail Falls) at the finish—this run has it all.
This trail is wide enough in most places for four to run abreast. Asphalt covers a few early steep sections but most of the trail is dirt or sand, transitioning in the cirque to fitted stones and then rocky gravel. The first half of the trail is under a beech canopy which gives way to the exposed and dramatic Circo del Soaso, source of the glacially colored Río Arazas.
Though arguably a "world class" destination, nearly all the visitors are Spanish, but of the fitter variety, able to forgo a smoke until the destination.
Begin with a cortado in the Spanish fashion at the pradera de ordesa restaurant adjacent to the carpark, under the towering Punta o Gallinero and Coma Barrau to the north, or finish with a beer according to your inclination. The first 0.5 miles is flat, paralleling the north side of the Rio Arazas, with some mountain views to the north.
Continue under a pretty beech forest cover in filtered sunlight, climbing gently. Mirador de Cascada de Arripas (Arripas waterfall viewpoint) and Cascadas del Estrecho are about 2.2 miles in, with short asphalt walkways leading to the best views. The forest cover thins before the Gradas de Soaso (Soaso cascades) around 4.2 miles, revealing the towering Sierra de las Cutas o dera Cárquera to the south.
The Greenwich meridian is marked by a plaque at the Gradas de Soaso. The trees end shortly after Gradas de Soaso, revealing the start of the cirque which affords a dramatic view. There is a stone mountain hut at about 4.5 miles. Run across the cirque to finish at Cascada Cola de Caballo. This makes a nice but crowded picnic spot.
Shared By: Matthew Kidd