11 Jun 2012 0 comments Lídia Penelo

A trip to Aigüestortes National Park

It is the only national park in Catalonia. Its impressive skyline and magnificent alpine views with 3,000-yard peaks, harbor an intriguing wealth of flora and fauna. But, beyond the mountains, plants and creatures, Aigüestortes is known for the water, with over 200 lakes and dozens of streams. One way to enter the park is through the Vall de Ruda, where you will find slush until June. It’s right here where you can begin a hike that will take you to a small mountain refuge called Saboredo, located at the 2,310-meter mark right next to the Baish Lake and not far from impressive Lake of Sant Maurici.

One of the rivers in Aigüestortes

As you go up, the valley narrows and the path, wide enough and clearly marked, enters a black pine forest that follows a river hidden most of the year under the snow.  As you move forward, the valley opens up again, offering a spectacular view of the Peaks, Ratera and Gerber, among others. Depending on the month of your visit, most likely you will find a coat of snow laid over the landscape. And you can probably spot a skier or two in the distance. Once you are near the refuge, we recommend enjoying the melting of the lakes.

The Black Lake

The end point of this hike is, as we said earlier, the Saboredo refuge. A well-equipped and cozy house with the basics covered: bunk beds, mattresses and blankets, running water, electricity, kitchen, emergency radio and a first-aid kit. Seamlessly integrated in its environment, Saboredo refuge is run by Federación de Entidades Excursionistas de Catalunya.

Besides the route we’ve taken, you can access the refuge through the track of Salardú, a four and a half hour trek, or through Port de la Bonaigua.

Beyond the Vall de Ruda, you can discover other corners of the park. Places like El camino de los Enamorados (Lover’s Path), la Roca de la Quemada (Burnt Rock) or the Lake of Sant Maurici are excellent to witness unique glacial phenomena, typical of U-shaped valleys like the one you’ll find in Aigüestortes.

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