It’s 8am when we pull up on the parking lot of the gorge that is labeled as Spain’s most spectacular hike. The parking is closed due to Covid – 19. Well damn. Some people before me chose to ignore the ‘Strictly forbidden to park next to the road’ – signs and I decide to do the same. Slightly worried about leaving the car on this treacherous road and the rapidly increasing temperature, we start our hike. Not a great start. This better be the most spectacular trail I have ever seen.
The gorge can only be found by following a carved – out mule track over steep slopes and impressive walls. The Puente Colgante del Siegue suspension bridge takes you to the other riverside of the gorge and marks the end of the trail. However, most people choose to slightly prolong the trail by climbing the spectacular stairs of Pasarelas de Montfalcó.
The trail turned out to be absolutely stunning, like nothing I had ever seen before. This beautiful river has carved itself a way through the Serra del Montsec mountains and has resulted in a breathtaking and unique scenery. The surreal azure blue colour of the river in combination with the rising walls on each side made this trail arguably one of the most impressive hikes I’ve ever done. The intimidating walls and narrow ridges cutting into free – fall drop offs make for an exhilarating experience. Even though you can hold on to some chains, walking next to a 50m perpendicular drop – off still made me very aware of my mortality.
You’ll find several metal suspension bridges on this trail so your dog must be comfortable with walking over see – through metal bridges. There are some pretty challenging climbs over rocks and loose rubble but in general the paths are well – passable and not too tough on their feet.
If you choose to prolong your trail by climbing the Pasarelas de Montfalcó, make sure your dog is comfortable with heights and (very) narrow ridges. Even though I planned on climbing the stairs myself I opted out last minute because of the scorching heat. I wasn’t comfortable with exposing Nova to this challenging climb in the burning sun. So I can only share what I learned from watching other people. The wooden stairs are somewhat see – trough, very steep and narrow (not even 2 shoes width at some points) so make sure your dog is up for that.
Water and shade
The path to the gorge meanders alongside the Noguera Ribagorçana river for 2 km or so. This part of the trail barely offers any shade so if you were to walk here during the hottest hours (like we were on our way back) it can get scorching hot. There is access to the water at several points during these first kilometers though so Nova was able to cool off by jumping in and out of the azure water every chance she got.
After the first suspension bridge, the path slowly ascents to the gorge so it won’t be possible for your dog to access the water anymore from here on out. So make sure to bring enough water for the both of you. However, during the morning the gorge is completely shrouded in shadow. It won’t be till noon or so before the sun will hit the gorge and will quickly warm – up the trail. So if you plan on hiking this trail during the summer months, make sure to start early so you and your dog can still benefit from the shade.
Be aware that the climb of Pasarelas de Montfalcó can be pretty challenging in the summer months because of the heat. You’ll find that there is no shade whatsoever on this part of the trail so if you want to make this climb with your dog, make sure to do it before noon.
By the time we walked backed to the car it was 1600 pm and the sun was burning on our backs. Sweat was burning in my eyes while I continuously had to keep Nova from trying to jump off the steep slopes into the cool water. As soon as we arrived at the first stretch of the trail we both ran to the water and dived in for the best swim I ever had. Sitting on a rock afterwards, I felt in awe of this beautiful display from Mother Nature. Like I was let in on a very well kept secret and witnessed an unexpected natural wonder. We never got that fine but even if we did, it would’ve been absolutely worth it.
Final Wolftrail Rating
The views of the trail definitely allow for a 5 – star rating but the suspension bridges, the narrow paths and the lurking heat might pose a challenge. However, with some preparation and management this trail makes for a highly recommended 4 – star experience that is suitable for both you and your dog!