The Ichnite Route in Soria
Model of a dinosaur. Villar del Río
Dinosaur footprint in Santa Cruz de Yanguas
If there is one type of animal whose history fascinates man, it is dinosaurs. If you are also curious about the largest land animals that have ever roamed the Earth, we recommend visiting the Tierras Altas de Soria district, in Castile-León. You'll be able to see the ichnites: trails left by dinosaurs millions of years ago. This is an experience that will take you back 150 million years.
There are three Ichnite Routes in Soria, created to discover the numerous sites in the area (with a wide variety of ichnites left by dinosaurs, birds and flying reptiles). In two of them, East and West, you can drive through in your own car. There are another two routes to cover on foot because they are hard to access by car. Both the East and West Routes end (or begin, depending on the direction you take) in Villar del Río. There is an interesting Palaeontology Centre that has reconstructed a life-size dinosaur nest, and children will be able to dig a "site" with dinosaur eggs. On the East Route you'll be able to see four sites. If you start the route in Valles de Valdelalosa (in Valdelavilla), you'll find a great number of pterosaur ichnites (fossils of flying reptiles) and you'll enjoy the beautiful view of the summit of Moncayo. Four kilometres away you'll find Las Adoberas site, after crossing some of the cobbled streets in the town of Matasejún. You'll enjoy the spectacular scenery. In Ventosa de San Pedro, some 10 kilometres away, is the next stop - San Roque site, with a life-size replica of an Iguanodon. And lastly, in the Fuentesalvo site (in Villar del Río, some 15 kilometres from Ventosa de San Pedro) there are several trails that seem to show the movement of several dinosaurs in groups.
On the West Route you'll be able to see six sites. We suggest you start at Salgar de Sillas. There is a trail of six ichnites left by a sauropod, which are over a metre long in some cases. Then, 15 kilometres away, you can visit Los Tormos site. You'll find an interesting replica of a Rhamphorhynchus. The next stop is Santa Cruz de Yanguas site, which also has a replica of a Stegosaurus. About six kilometres away, you'll find Lacorte-El Frontal Fountain site (in Bretún), with a spectacular life-size model of an Allosaurus, one of the dinosaurs that used to roam these lands some 150 million years ago. The last two sites also belong to the town of Bretún: La Matecasa (with a replica of a Triceratops) and La Peña (with a very clear trail left by a theropod). Both the routes on foot that start at the Villar del Río Palaeontology Centre lead to the Valdegén (with theropod ichnites) and Serrantes (with theropod and bird ichnites) sites. Once you are an expert on dinosaurs, you can make the most of your trip to Soria and go hiking (one of the best routes is the one that runs along Cidacos River), visit the castles of Mangañas, Yanguas and San Pedro Manrique, and discover the examples of Romanesque art from the 12th and 13th centuries. For more information you can check the website for the Ichnite Route in Tierras Altas in Soria .