NATURE PARKS

Nature Parks

parques-naturales

Nature in Goierri is generously displayed as soon as we leave behind the urban areas located in the valley bottom and climb to any of the surrounding mountain chains: Aralar, Aizkorri, Aratz, Murumendi... The existence of two Nature Parks – Aralar and Aizkorri-Aratz – offers an opportunity to enjoy natural green mountain tourism.

Experienced mountain climbers should spend considerable time to learning more about the variety of possibilities offered by Goierri. For those seeking more traditional itineraries that combine a lower level of difficulty with beauty and a variety of landscapes, we offer a variety of diverse hiking trails.

lareo

Zaldibia and Ataun are two of the entrances to the Aralar Nature Park. From Ataun-Lizarrusti (which houses the Aralar Nature Park Interpretation Centre) it is quite easy to access the Lareo swamp located in the middle of the mountains in a setting of great natural beauty. The route to Osinberde from Zaldibia is very interesting as the former is where the River Amundarain springs forth from between the rocks: At the CAF tanks about 2 km from Zaldibia, you can start a trip on a centuries- (if not millennia-) old causeway which provides access to the prairies and some of the summits of the Aralar Mountain Range, in the same place where the Arkaka fishing area is located.

The route leading to the famous San Adrián Tunnel and its ancient causeway (Royal Road and Way of St James) – which is easily accessible from Otzaurte Hill (Zegama) – is very well-known in Aizkorri. One of the entrances to the Aizkorri-Aratz Nature and its Interpretation Centre is located in Zegama.

All the ingredients needed to spend a peaceful day in an incomparable setting – tables, grills, restaurants, play areas for children and even the opportunity to go horseback riding – with Txindoki, Aralar and Aitzgorri as a backdrop are offered in Ordizia.

Aizkorri-Aratz

aizkorri

This nature park is home to the highest mountain in Euskadi. This natural watchtower with altitudes of more 1,500 m. forms the Cantabrian-Mediterranean watershed.

There are many natural features to highlight in Aizkorri-Aratz, starting with its geology; the carbonated nature of its materials has led very different morphologies: undulating small mountain ranges and surrounded peaks, steep areas with deep ravines, ridges, depressions, etc. Consequently, among other formations we find the 4 km long by 1 km wide Urbia Depression surrounded by rough terrain and the famous cave of San Adrián (place visited by passing kings and pilgrims), formed by older underground channels and which consists of a large, 50 m long open-sided tunnel.

aizkorri-txabolaThis varied environment is home to many kinds of wildlife and in which mountain species hold a prominent place: the Booted Eagle, the Egyptian Vulture, the Northern Goshawk, the Common Vulture and other smaller birds like jays and Greenfinches use this space. Mammals include the snow vole, marten, dormouse and wild boar.

The recommended route to visit the park is the climb to Aizkorri: this mountain road is somewhat difficult due to its slope and length, however, it contains points of interest (San Adrián cave and causeway, the prairies of Urbía, the menhir of Zorrotzarri, etc.) that are worth discovering. The San Adrián cave and causeway is on the Way of St James.

 

Aralar

txindoki

Nestled inside the Goierri Valley, the Aralar Mountain Range has a magical influence not only for locals, but also for newcomers. Its fascinating relief with high limestone elevations, its rivers and springs, rich vegetation and wildlife, and traditions full of myths and legends, cannot but captivate the viewer.

Aralar’s emblematic summit is Larrunari – also called Txindoki or Ñañarri – which stands out due to its elegant silhouette, visible from many areas and considered the most beloved and beautiful mountain in Gipuzkoa.

Human activity in the area is very old, as evidenced by the number of megalithic monumets, and it has the largest concentration of dolmens in Euskadi. It has also long been a mainly pastoral area, with significant herds of livestock, especially "latxa" sheep.

aralar-hayedo

The limestone nature of the materials, together with the presence of water, have led to many karstic processes producing abundant sinkholes, springs and underground streams. The Rivers Amundarain and Agauntza are a spectacle full of life, and boast waterfalls and pools, an excellent water quality and a well-preserved riparian vegetation. Of great geomorphological interest is the Ataun Dome (a dome-like topographic structure), where erosion has created a bowl exposes the cliffs overlooking the interior.

Animal life is the typical for high mountains, with important species being as the Egyptian Vulture, Booted Eagle, Common Vulture, Alpine Chough, Red-Billed Chough, Greenfinch, Black Woodpecker, Eurasian Crag Marten, Snow Vole, Marten, mountain wildcat, fox, wild boar...