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Posets-Maladeta Natural Park

Posets-Maladeta Natural Park

It is named after the two highest summits in the Pyrenees. Within this protected area, we find other interesting summits, such as Culfreda, Bachimala, Bagüeñola, Perdiguero and Ballibierna, comprising the largest number of protected summits over 3000m above sea level in the Pyrenees. It was declared protected area in 1994 by the Aragon Government, and it was declared National Park in 1998.

This highly interesting protected area is located in the northern end of the Chistau Valley, comprising more than 33.000 hectares, and a stunning complex of 13 glaciers, 95 mountain lakes of glacial origin and several awesome waterfalls. This area includes the villages of San Juan de Plan and Gistaín, (within the Chistau Valley, in Sobrarbe County) and Sahún, Benasque and Montanuy (in the Benasque Valley, in Ribagorza County).

Drained by the Cinqueta River, the Chistau Valley preserves its livestock breeding traditions and the sustainable use of natural resources, which turns it into an example of ancient human adjustment to his environment. This valley has grown lusher than the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, due to its several green meadows and forests and to its scarce limestone rocks. Its scenery may be considered less spectacular, though it boasts wild environments, such as the Posets Massif, over the shepherd's huts in Biadós.

Besides the green meadows, its landscape is dominated by red and black pine forests, sometimes mixed with firs. At the entrance of the valley, we find holy oaks, and some mixed deciduous forests. About its fauna, we should specially mention the existence of capercailzies, martens, Tengmalm's owls, snow partridge, marmots and chamois, among many other animal species.

There are many routes departing from the Chistau Valley towards the Posets-Maladeta Nature Reserve. Most of them should be made on foot, through high mountain trails which can be adapted to any fitness level.