It is located under the Galiana, separating the high plateau of the Duero from the foothills of the Iberian mountain range. It is a unique space whose area extends through the provinces of Burgos and Soria, in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León. The spectacular and deep limestone canyon that the waters of the River Lobos, after a long geological history, have excavated, is the natural gateway to the Natural Park of the River Lobos Canyon. The canyon itself is quite a spectacle, high cliffs with showy cavities tinged with the reddish color of oxide and the minerals contained in the rock and the water as it slides through it, protect the River Lobos, true and unique artisan of the gorge, which although at certain times of the year low dry in many sections, has also formed a hidden underground landscape of caves, chasms, sinks and springs not always accessible but of incredible beauty.
This natural area was declared a Natural Park in 1985 due to its unique natural characteristics. Two years later, in 1987, it was declared a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPAB), since its outcrops are the habitat of the Griffon vulture, which shares them with the golden eagle, the fisherwoman and also the short-toed eagle, the peregrine falcon, the goshawk, the kite... the eagle owl, the owl, the little owl, among others. The whole park, its flora, its fauna, caves and the Lobos River with its waters, which appear and disappear, upholstered with beautiful floating water lilies, can be visited and enjoyed along the countless hiking routes that cross it. The River Path, as its name suggests, follows the course of the Lobos River from one end of the park to the other, more or less 25 kilometers.
The Path of the Castle and the Path of the Gullurías, two circular routes that allow another perspective of the environment, that of Gullurías, specifically, of the best known area of the Natural Park but seen from above, are just some of the routes that this beautiful place offers, Although the most typical is to go on the quiet and pleasant walk accessible to everyone, which, from the car parks inside the canyon itself at its entrance through Ucero, leads to the hermitage of San Bartolomé, a 13th century Cistercian, declared a Site of Cultural Interest, a beautiful route suitable for hiking with children in the Canyon of the River Lobos.
The hermitage is located in a magical place, in a meander of the Lobos River and surrounded by a majestic natural beauty, where already in the Bronze Age there were population settlements as attested by the cave paintings and engravings found inside the Major and Minor caves, also known as Caves of San Bartolomé, which are in the same place next to the hermitage. The Major or Major cave is immense and allows to enter it without too many problems, in addition from its entrance mouth a beautiful image of the hermitage can be admired, to arrive at the Minor one, that is in the deepest thing, a lantern is needed. From the hermitage there is a small path that leads to a natural window, known as the Devil's Window, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of this area of the canyon, which is located in one of the Magic Centers of the Iberian Peninsula.
The hermitage of San Bartolomé may be the last stronghold of the monastery of San Juan de Otero, perhaps where the Templars had their centre and school of esoteric and alchemical initiation. It was built in the Romanesque style and its beautiful façade is striking, with its decorative corbels and rosettes. Among the many marks of stonecutters that has one that arouses more curiosity, is the staff of the magician, which also appears on the stones of the church of Santa Maria de Eunate. The hermitage can be visited, at a limited time. At the Visitor's Centre in the House of the Park in Ucero you can find out more about this mystical and magical place where, who knows, the visitor can be filled with the energy that this very powerfully telluric place possesses.
On 24 August there is a traditional pilgrimage to the hermitage of San Bartolomé in honour of this saint and the Virgen de la Salud, which is attended by residents of nearby villages who walk the distance as pilgrims and after the relevant religious services spend a pleasant day in the country.
The Lobos River Canyon has been used by pilgrims as one of the variants of the Way of Saint James. It is said that from the hermitage of San Bartolomé, on the night of San Juan, you can see the constellation of Sagittarius, an arrow pointing north to the Way of Saint James. It is also said that the hermitage is equidistant from Finisterre and Cape Creus, from the West and the East of the peninsula, being situated in the centre as if it formed a Tau that on a map points out magical and sacred places such as Ponferrada, Eunate, Toledo or Caravaca.
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Legend has it that the Templars kept the Ark of the Covenant in the hermitage and that on certain occasions a spectre of a Templar knight, with a beard and giving off a great glow, walks around the place and even approaches people to talk to them.
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To access any of the different points that allow us to enter the Canyon of the River Lobos we can do so by following the N-234 that links Soria with Burgos. It is in this national road where we will find Hontoria del Pinar and San Leonardo de Yagüe, being this last one the starting point of the roads that lead to the well-known Seven Eyes Bridge and to Ucero. Also from the south we can approach Ucero or the Seven Eyes Bridge from El Burgo de Osma, in the middle of the N-122, which connects Soria and Valladolid. Another option is to follow the road that connects Aranda del Duero, on the A-1, and San Leonardo de Yagüe, crossing the Natural Park by the famous bridge.
The area that usually receives the most visitors is Ucero, where we also find the House of the Park. There we will have three parking areas within the Canyon itself, Fuente Engómez, free of charge, Cueva Fría and Valdecea, free of charge. In any case we will have to access on foot from the parking lot we choose, for this we have the wide track that connects these parking areas and the path that runs through the canyon following the course of the river Lobos, the latter conditioned by the flow of the river. In addition, the visit to the Park House is included in the parking fee.
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Dimos un paseo adentrándonos en el cañón y es una verdadera maravilla. La foto es desde el mirador de la Galiana, en la carretera de San Leonardo de Yagüe.
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