Castilla y Leon information
Sierra de Gredos
Shaped by erosion of ancient glacial eras, the Sierra de Gredos, in the South of Castilla y León, is a spectacular succession of lakes, cirques, gorges, knife-edged ridges, crags, granite boulders and moraine deposits. This is the domain of the Capra Hispánica (wild goat).
The Cordillera Central is a long mountain range that rises in the centre of the Iberian peninsula and separates the basins and mesetas of the rivers Duero and Tajo. In the central sector of the Cordillera, more precisely, on the southern side of the province of Ávila, the Sierra de Gredos rises like a heavy and impenetrable granite wall. Particularly remarkable amongst its rugged vertical relief of sharp edges, raised openings and ledges, are the Circo and Laguna Grande de Gredos. This cirque and lake are both of glacial origin and are overlooked by the great stone colossus of Pico Almanzor, which at 2,592 metres is the highest point of the Sistema Central.
If the landscape makes Gredos a beautiful and spectacular mountain area, from the biological viewpoint, its habitat offers the visitor one of the most interesting spaces in Western Europe.
Due to its geographical location, large drops in altitude and the different orientation of its slopes, the Sierra de Gredos presents an authentic paradise for flora. The diverse plant species are distributed in a layer of different bands that reach their highest point in the alpine band, the most interesting, which includes a great number of endemic botanic species.
In terms of fauna, the Sierra de Gredos also stands out for its endemic species, which include one mammal, three reptiles and two amphibians. The wild goat, the Almanzor salamander and the common toad of Gredos are the most relevant.
In addition to the above-mentioned environmental value, the zone of Gredos contains an interesting collection of places in which history, art and tradition have left their indelible mark. Amongst these places are the Roman road of Puerto del Pico and the towns of Candeleda and El Barco de Ávila. This last town is also famous for its exquisite "judiones" (large butter beans).
The Circo de Gredos
One of the most classic trails for the visitor inside the Parque Regional de Gredos starts from the platform situated at the end of the road from Hoyos del Espino and enables us to reach the famous Circo de Gredos. After taking a wide stony road with great slabs of granite, which ascends towards the Prado de las Pozas, we leave behind the refuge of Reguero Llano and must then cross the cement bridge to cross the river of Las Pozas, which subsequently drops in various waterfalls through an ancient glacial valley.
The altitude, which exceeds 2,000 metres, and the dominant rocky flats have reduced the surrounding vegetation to a dense padded brushwood. The most common bushes are the Echinospartium horridum and juniper shrubs.
Following a steep climb we reach the Alto de Los Barrerones, from where the visitor can view the cirque and lake of Gredos. To reach them, visitors have to pass one or two rocky short steep slopes formed by crags and large boulders, characteristic forms of granite relief.
The only green area that can be found in the zone is formed by rock lichens. This crest of fantastic rock shapes is also the home to the star animal species of Gredos: the wild goat.
The trail reaches its end in the Trocha Real, which leads us, in the space of a few minutes, to the great glacial lake. Its cold and transparent waters reflect the high peaks which, along with Almanzor, enclose the Circo de Gredos: Risco de la Ventana, Los Tres Hermanitos, Cuchillar de las Navajas and El Sagrao. Once the visitor has admired this privileged alpine landscape, he/she can take the same road back to base.
Located between El Barco de Avila, El Puerto del Pico and Arenas de San Pedro.
It has two slopes: the northern side is Castilian, with austere, dry towns. The southern side, with summer towns, is known as the "Andalusia of Ávila".
The gorge of Gredos descends to Navalperal de Tormes.
From Bohoyo (1,142 m.) you can climb up through the gorge of the same name.
From Navalperal de Tormes (1,303 m.) you reach Cinco Lagunas (2,095 to 2,125 m.) or the Laguna Grande (1,950 m.), in about five hours. From the lakes to the peaks, around two hours.
PLATAFORMA DE GREDOS AND LAGUNA GRANDE:
From Hoyos del Espino (1,440 m.) we reach the Plataforma (1,750 m.), and from there the Laguna Grande (1,950 m.).
Access is through Hoyos del Espino passing El Prado de las Pozas: climb through the Barrerones until you reach Cuerda del Cuento. Before reaching the summit you will visit Fuente de los Covadores (right next to the path). The Circo can be seen as soon as one begins the descent.
At the foot of the Laguna Grande there is the refuge of Elola which belongs to the Federación Española de Montañismo (Spanish Mountaineering Federation).
Between the southern side from Candeleda (428 m.) and the Pico Almanzor (2,592 m.), there are only 12 km., with a total altitude change of over 2,000 m.
PICO DE LA MIRA:
From Guisando (766 m.) one can drive to Nogal del Barranco (1,160 m.) by car, and from there take a trail to the Pico de la Mira (2,343 m.).
From Candeleda to the Circo de Gredos and the pass of Candeleda, the trail is very difficult.
-Visit to the lakes: Lagunas del Barco, de La Nava and de Los Caballeros.
-Access to the passes of Candeleda, El Peón, de la Cabrilla and del Arenal.
-To the peaks: El Almanzor (2,592 m.), La Galana (2,568 m.), El Morezón (2,391 m.) and La Mira (2,343 m.).
Regional park since 1996. Regional hunting reserve.
Contains the communities of:
El Arenal, Bohoyo, Los Guijuelos, Navamediana, Navamojada, La Carrera, Cereceda, Lancharejo, Navalmoro, Gilgarcía, Guisando, El Hornillo, Hoyos del collado, Hoyos del Espino, Los LLanos de Tormes, Navalonguilla, Navalguijo, Navalperal del Tormes, Barajas, Navarredonda de Gredos, Cabezas Altas, Cabezas Bajas, Navatejares, Puerto Castilla, Santiago de Aravalle, La Aliseda de Tormes, Navacepeda de Tormes, San Martín del Pimpollar, Los Loros, Mazalinos, Los Narros, Santa Lucía de la Sierra, Serranía, Solana de Ávila, Tremedal, La Zarza, Navamures, Tormellas, Canalejas, Casas de Maripedro, Casas del Abad, Hustias, Retuerta, Umbrías, Venta de Veguillas, La Angostura, Hermosillo, Nava del Barco.
Hiking, cycling, mountaineering, climbing, cross-country skiing.