Enclave:

Escuan - La Valle path - Mallos bridge

  • Distance :
  • Starting Point :Escuan village.
  • Total climb/descent :300 m
  • Route type :Linear
  • Time :2 hours (route out only)
  • Difficulty :Easy

Mapa

Description

There are few landscapes in the National Park that bear such a clear mark left by humankind as the Escuan Valley. This is a simple route amid woodland, fields once cultivated for crops and old mallatas (shepherds' refuges). Along the way, you will see majestic birds of prey and carrion birds up in the sky, particularly lammergeyers.

The path, signposted as the GR 15 (Sendero Prepirenaico [Pre-Pyrenean Path]), heads west off the main road shortly before you arrive in Escuan. The first stretch of the path traverses former cropland and terraced hillsides, known locally as fajetas, now abandoned and taken over by blue broom and box. You will come to a barrier (10 minutes) and boards marking the entrance to the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park.

The path is in excellent condition and you will gradually find you are climbing upwards, but without effort. The route takes you through magnificent forests of Scots pine, gall oak, beech and a wide range of plants in the undergrowth, among them service trees, hawthorn, maple and snowy mespilus.

An hour after you set out, the forest begins to thin and open spaces become more evident. Almost immediately, you pass alongside cropland given over to pasture, surrounded by stone walls. A number of simple buildings known as mallatas (refuges with animal pen) can still be seen here.

You will go alongside a spring (1 hour 30 minutes) and shortly afterwards come to La Valle (1 hour 45 minutes), the name given to a vast tract of pastureland dotted with woodland at the foot of Cuello Viceto to the west and the Sierra de las Sucas to the north. The eye is drawn to Gurrundu Cirque and Sarra Cirque. Carrion birds are commonly seen here, such as the Griffon vulture, the Egyptian vulture and the lammergeyer, as there is a feeding station nearby where National Park rangers leave food for them.

Continue northwards, leaving the livestock passage behind you. Once you have crossed the meadows and descended slightly, you will see the sign for Mallos Bridge. Cross a gully and continue along a path amid box trees and beech forest. After a gentle descent, you come to the end of the route at Mallos Bridge (2 hours 30 minutes), a metal walkway suspended over the deeply cut chasm of the Yaga River. Next to it on the edge of the abyss is a huge yew whose roots delve deeply into the cracks in the rock.

Recommendations

Take water with you, even though there is a spring en route. Comply with the National Park signs to avoid nuisance to birds of prey.