Adventures in the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve
The Aragonese Pyrenees offer the perfect setting for outdoor sports, and include several national parks and protected nature areas. These are home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, many of which are native to the area.
Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara (Huesca)
Each year, people in search of excitement in the great outdoors head for Aragón. This Region in northeastern Spain is home to the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve. With more than seventy different river gorges, it is a top European destination for the sport of canyoning. You have been warned: its stunning landscapes are a real adventure in themselves.
In the province of Huesca, between the Ebro River and the mountains of the Pyrenees, there is a stunning limestone range, with deep canyons, gorges and caves. This is the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve, where the sport of canyoning first started in Spain. What is more, it is the largest protected nature area anywhere in the Region of Aragón, outstanding, amongst other things, for its rich, varied autochthonous vegetation. You will also be interested to know that this is a designated ZEPA (Special Bird Protection) area, one of Europe's most important birdlife sanctuaries: its rugged, rocky walls make the perfect nesting place for many birds of prey such as the golden eagle, peregrine falcon and the bearded vulture.
Nevertheless, the Sierra de Guara Mountains are known for another reason amongst European sports and hiking enthusiasts: their stunning landscape. River water and wind erosion have carved out amazing relief with narrow canyons and impressive gorges, outstanding for canyoning fans. Their caves, grottos and waterfalls are hard to resist for those looking for outdoor adventure. Exploring the depths of canyons such as El Mascún, Gorgas Negras, La Peonera, El Vero and El Balced is an experience that will leave you keen for more.
What you should know
If you have ever thought of trying canyoning, then the Sierra de Guara Mountains are a perfect setting. In general terms, spring, summer and autumn are the best seasons for this sport. First of all, the best thing is to head for any of the reserve's three visitor centres to get information on the activities available and the companies that run them. They can be found in the villages of Bierge, Arguis and Santa Cilia de Panzano, all less than 40 kilometres from the city of Huesca. You can choose from a broad range of programmes with different levels of difficulty: from beginners' outings suitable for all the family, to options for technically advanced levels. The necessary requirements: you must be over 7 years old and know how to swim.
Prices usually include the necessary equipment (canyoning wetsuit, helmet, harness, ropes...), sports insurance and specialised guide. What you do need to take are a swimsuit, towel, change of clothing and hiking boots. If you prefer something more peaceful, then don't worry because here you will also find signed routes for hiking, biking or horse riding. Furthermore, at the Sierra de Guara Nature Reserve you can visit places with interesting monuments such as Alquézar and Barbastro, along with the Vero River Cultural Park, with its valuable prehistoric cave paintings, designated UNESCO World Heritage.
Come and conquer the Guara Mountains and Canyons. Sport, culture, excitement, adventure... Are you up to the challenge?