With its more than 27,000 hectares, it extends along the headwaters of the rivers Veral, Aragón Subordán, Osia, Estarrún and Lubierre and is located in the northwestern corner of the Aragonese Pyrenees. It is a natural border with France to the north and Navarre to the west. It is part of the region of La Jacetania and includes the municipalities of Aísa, Ansó, Aragüés del Puerto, Borau and Valle de Hecho, so we have a large number of places to see and things to do in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys.
The action of the glaciers modeled its relief excavating cirques, U-shaped valleys and beautiful mountain lakes known here as ibones, which are undoubtedly some of the places to visit in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys. Slender and steep mountains were also preformed, such as the Bisaurin peak with its 2670 m, the Aspe 2643 m, the emblematic Mesa de los Tres Reyes 2428 m or the Castillo de Acher 2384 m among others. The limestone rocks and their karstic modeling that occupy much of the territory have given rise to deep chasms and caves, and if the light falls on some of the characteristic red sandstones in some areas of the park, which come from materials of the Primary Era and that print a beautiful and striking reddish color, it seems that we are facing a beautiful landscape picture.
The Western Valleys have seen how their territory has been populated since ancient times, numerous megalithic monuments (5000-3000 years BC) found in the headwaters of their valleys attest to this. The Romans also left their mark on the area, of which bridges and roads can still be seen, including the Roman road Caesaraugusta-Benearnum, which gave rise to the primitive Way of Santiago that entered Aragon through the Puerto del Palo. Of the mark left by the Visigoths, the monastery of San Pedro de Siresa, built over an ancient church, is another of the places we have to visit in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys. Although nothing remains of the old monastery other than the church, its size is a good indicator of its importance. In the 12th century Alfonso I granted a letter of immunity and freedom to the inhabitants of the valley, as well as privileges for the use of the mountains and pastures. The Western Valleys also saw part of the childhood of Alfonso I the Battler, first King of Aragon.
The numerous and attractive routes of hiking in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys will make us discover places of incredible beauty.Its relief, valleys and mountains, its diverse types of soils and subsoils, the small plains or plateaus where the water flows forming meanders, as in Aguas Tuertas, and that have been formed by the dragging and deposits of materials, which are in charge of the rivers that cross the park, or the spectacular forests, are just some of the attractions that invite us to visit the Natural Park of the Western Valleys. Let's take our backpacks, put on our boots and answer the question: what to do in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys? Let's go into the lush Oza Forest; in the Gamueta beech forest, considered by many experts as the best mountain forest in the Aragonese Pyrenees, and with the largest group of monumental trees in the region; let's walk through the valley of Aguas Tuertas; let's tread the summit of the Bisaurín peak, La Mesa de los Tres Reyes, or the Castillo de Acher, among others.
The GR11, La Senda de Camille or the route that takes us through the valley of Los Sarrios to the Ibón de Estanés, or reach the westernmost ibón of the Pyrenees and the only one in the basin of the Aragón Subordan river, the ibón de Acherito, located at the foot of large and steep rocky outcrops that form the border line with France give it an unmistakable image, are some of the routes of hiking in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys that will bring us closer to also observe, or perhaps we are the observed, the varied fauna that populates the territory. The butterflies Plebejus pyrenaica and Erebia Gorgona, as well as some coleoptera such as Rosalia alpina, very striking and scarce. The bearded vulture, a species listed as endangered, the white-backed woodpecker, the black woodpecker, the red kite, the capercaillie, the king of the high peaks, the chamois, the wild boar or chabalin, the fox or rabosa, the wild cat, the badger, martens, or even bats put their note of color and increase the curiosity for what to see in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys.
Beautiful and monumental mountain villages are the ones to visit in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys. Aisa, with cobbled streets and old houses and boasting the oldest dolmen in the Pyrenees. Ansó, noted for its architectural heritage, has one of the best preserved urban centers of the Aragonese Pyrenees, declared of Cultural Interest by the government of Aragon is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Aragüés del Puerto, whose town center is dominated by houses from the 16th century, a period of splendor in the Pyrenees. Borau, with narrow cobbled streets full of details, and its 16th century church. And the Valley of Hecho, where stone houses with balconies adorned with beautiful flowers, slate roofs and typical chimneys make up the architecture of this magnificent village. Villages that keep alive their folkloric manifestations and dialectal varieties of Aragonese.
The Pyrenean traditions and culture of the people who inhabited the villages located in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys have remained very much alive throughout time. Signs of identity such as the typical costume or traditional music, a characteristic and beautiful popular architecture, a typical pastoral gastronomy such as migas, ternasco, cheeses or the famous "Chesitas" cookies, as well as the use of dialects of the Aragonese language, such as Ansotano in the Ansó Valley and Cheso in the Echo Valley, are present in the daily life of these localities.
The Western Valleys are one of the 18 protected natural areas of Aragon. Declared a Natural Park in 2006, it is also a Natura 2000 Protected Area. Site of Community Importance (SCI) of the Western Valleys, is a privileged place for birds and has the protection status of ZEPA, Special Protection Area for Birds. The park is one of the last refuges of the brown bear in the Pyrenees. We can walk the hiking trail "La Senda de Camille" and follow in the footsteps of Camille, one of the last native bears and that had in this area its natural habitat. The Natural Park of the Western Valleys also stands out for its megalithic wealth, prehistoric remains that we can still see and know as the Corona de los Muertos or the Dolmen of Aguatuerta.
Legend has it that during the Muslim occupation the Holy Grail was hidden in the Aragonese Pyrenees, being the monastery of Siresa, in the Natural Park of the Western Valleys, for its hidden and protected location, one of the places chosen to guard it.
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Although there are several accesses from where we can enter this natural park, we could say that the main one is the road that goes into the Hecho Valley. We can also arrive from the neighboring valley of Roncal, another option is the road that goes up from Jaca to Candanchu through Canfranc.
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