It is in the Navarro Pyrenees, at the head of the valleys of Aezkoa and Salazar and surrounded by mountains such as the Orzanzurieta, Orhi and the Sierra de Abodi. The Irati Forest is an extensive territory made up mostly of beech woods but where firs and pastures can also be seen. Since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries its forest has been exploited by the inhabitants of the valleys, but in a rational and controlled way, respecting at all times the great ecological value that represents the area.
The technique used was that of successive thinnings, and always maintained a number of trees to ensure the natural repopulation of the forest. Wood was used in construction, and its quality was such that in the 18th century it was used to build the masts of ships. From the forest they also obtained leaves and acorns for cattle as well as charcoal that was used in the home of the houses. The entire jungle is a Special Bird Protection Zone, ZEPA, in addition to protected areas such as Natural Reserve and Integral Reserve. The way of working and exploiting the forests has changed a lot in the course of the centuries and in Irati it could not be any other way but always maintaining the good ways of doing things.
The Irati Forest also offers its playful and contact with nature. Walks and hiking trails along its signposted paths on foot or by bicycle, even in winter with snowshoes or skis, will lead the visitor to find paradisiacal corners in which among the intensely beautiful and changing polychromy of its flora you can hear the sound of its abundant fauna in spring, summer and especially in autumn with the bellowing of the roe deer, a time of zeal for them, with which they try to attract females, contrasting with the soundproof music of winter. If you want to contemplate the environment from above, the ascents to the mountains that surround the Irati Forest allow it, although the most emblematic and almost obligatory, being the first two thousand in the Pyrenees, is the ascent to the Orhi peak that offers spectacular panoramic views of the Irati Forest and the entire Pyrenees.
It is a tradition that in the communal forests the neighbors of the zone to which they belong receive a lot of trees or wood. The neighbors of the Salazar and Aezkoa Valleys receive, from their forests, the corresponding lots of firewood, and they can collect mushrooms and mushrooms, blackberries, blueberries and wild apples for the elaboration of liquors.
After the Black Forest in Germany, the Irati Forest is the largest and best preserved beech and fir forest in Europe.
It is not a legend, but a curious anecdote, and that is that the first truck that entered the Irati Forest to make the first forest track, was disassembled and hung along 18 km of cable. The deer with which the forest was repopulated in the 1960s were introduced in the same way.
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There are quite a few towns from which we can access, in one way or another, the Irati Forest given its size, one of them is the town of Ochagavía. We arrive at this locality following the NA-140 that reaches Ochagavía from the N-135 that joins Pamplona with Roncesvalles, finding the detour shortly before arriving at Roncesvalles, just in the section that goes from Espinal to Burguete. This same road NA-140 but on the other side connects Ochagavía with Isaba and France. You can also get there via the NA-178, which links the A-21 motorway between Pamplona and Jaca with the NA-140 in Ezcároz, a neighbouring town of Ochagavía, at Lumbier.
As you come to the town from Ezcároz, just before crossing the bridge over the river that separates us from the village of Ochagavía, you will find the crossroads where the road that will take you to the Irati Forest begins. Continue along this road, leaving the village on your right, going up the course of the river Zatoia. This road will take us without loss after a few kilometres to the Irati Houses, where the visitor information and welcome centre and the place to leave our vehicle are waiting for us.
Orbaizeta, which is in the valley of Aezkoa, has its access from the town of Aribe in full NA-140 road that the N-135 between Pamplona and Roncesvalles with Ezcaróz near Ochagavía.
We must cross the town following the road we arrived on, for a few kilometres later we leave on our left the detour towards the Orbaizeta Ammunition Factory and continue on the road on the right that leads us to the different areas where we can leave our vehicle and from where the multiple routes that begin in this area start.
SENDITUR is not responsible for any variation in the information described as well as the misuse of its guides and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to .
Yo lo visite en otoño y es una pasada de sitio, si podéis no os lo perdáis.
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