Between the valleys of Aezkoa and Garazi, under the protection of the Irati Forest, in full muga with France, hidden by the green slopes that surround and protect it, the Cave of Arpea awaits us. This singular gorge of the mountain reveals its entrails, allowing us to contemplate part of its history through the folds that for years have adopted the spectacular form that this singular cave gives us today.
The route, with only 1 km, gives us the opportunity to look at this mythical cave used since time immemorial as a recurring stable for livestock. The path that starts from the well-kept hut where the narrow asphalt track that brought us here ends, invites us to enter the slope of the green and rounded mountains that surround us, which are eager to try to hide this place of legend. After saving thanks to a narrow opening the fence that prevents the passage of livestock, the trail takes us up the green valley allowing us to clearly contemplate the curious Cave of Arpea towards which we are heading.
This geological pearl formed millions of years ago by the thrust of the tectonic plates is and seems a true open book that reveals us from its origins, very probably in the marine depths, to the different periods that have been happening throughout history, which perfectly describes each leaf of this colossal book. But Arpea is something more, it is the mountains and their green slopes, it is the stream that falls through the narrow valley, it is the history of the people who have passed through here, in short it is the wonderful environment that surrounds it and that together with it make this place Navarre is almost unavoidable visit for lovers of nature and hiking.
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Door to another world and refuge of lamias, tells the legend that some years ago frequented the pastures near the Cave of Arpea a father who taught his son the work of shepherding. This one among many other things told his son of the tricksters songs with which the evil lamias, the days when the fog barely let see a few meters later, tried to attract the shepherds to seize them and their flocks. And the day came when the young shepherd, with the imprudent security that his few years gave him and without being aware of his still scarce experience, decided to give a surprise to his father and after milking the sheep he left with the flock before it woke up to free it from part of its daily chores. Without noticing the bad weather that was coming on him the young man entered the mountain, but when he wanted to realize it was late, the fog covered everything. Suddenly he began to hear a sweet song, the young man, prisoner of the spell, followed the sweet voice he was hearing. Meanwhile in the shepherd's hut the father had already awakened and panicked at the lack of his son and his flock ran up the mountain in search of him, knowing the dangers lurking for his son. After a while he heard the incessant barking of the dogs that always accompanied him with the flock, but an enormous sadness invaded him when he reached them and realized that his son and his flock would never see them again. As the dogs barked and furiously scratched with their paws the inner wall of the Cave of Arpea.
To get to Orbaizeta we have to do it from Aribe to which we arrive through the NA-140 road that joins Ezcároz, in the valley of Salazar, with the N-135 shortly before coming to Burguete from Pamplona. Once in Orbaizeta, continue towards the Orbaizeta Weapons Factory. Once we reach this spot we must cross it, leaving on our left a track that if we follow it would take us to Roncesvalles itself. From the Fábrica de Armas de Orbaizeta we will see ourselves following a narrow mountain track, fortunately asphalted, which we must never leave and which ascends the mountain passing by the Megalithic Station of Azegi. Shortly after passing by this place we will begin a brief descent to go up the lost height and arrive at Col d'Orgambidé where our track meets the narrow asphalted road that we will continue along. If you follow this path to the left you will come across the nearby local road which gives you the option of getting here by following, until you reach the Thibault Cross, the same route as the pilgrims on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago from San Jean Pied de Port and continuing until you reach the signposted crossroads which marks the beginning of the path that leads to the cave. We will follow the even narrower path to the right, which without further detours will bring us to the small car park where we can leave our vehicle and follow the path of the Cave of Arpea.
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Little effort should cost to our dog to accompany us in this route of senderismo, in exchange without doubt it will enjoy a lot of stimuli that will make him more pleasant the stroll.
A small stream next to the cave can serve as a water point and if necessary refresh our friend, always with the logical precaution that requires all water flow.
The cattle graze to its wide by these lands and this, added to the signs that in the French side warn us of the obligatoriedad to take to the tied dogs, they must make us to be attentive to avoid unnecessary problems.
Total distance. 1 Km
Total time. 0h 10min
10 or 15 minutes this all we will need to make the itinerary, to this of course we will have to add the time we dedicate to the cave and its environment.
Time of year. Spectacular all year round
Except in winter conditions where it is an adventure to get here, we are before a place that invites to be visited independently whether summer, autumn or spring.
Required equipment. The camera and comfortable footwear
The theoretical simplicity of the route and its short distance should not require more than a few hiking or sports shoes and the device that immortalizes our visit to this beautiful enclave, it is always clear that weather conditions and the state of the route do not require equipment according to their circumstances. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
Slope acumulate. 20 m Slope positive. 10 m Slope negative. 10 m
As far as the physical requirement that this short route of trekking of Navarre poses to us, there are not remarkable nuances, given its short distance and the scarce unevenness that we will have to face.
Severity of the environment
The route goes through a well-defined trail that in its steepest sections has steps that facilitate our transit. Now we are crossing a green slope with a steep slope where it is not advisable to fall given the difference in level that separates us from the bottom of the valley. Attention if the path is muddy or wet and even more if it is covered by ice or snow in which case the difficulty and danger increase considerably.
Although the route is not signposted, it is more difficult to get by car to its starting point than to follow the path that leads to the Cave of Arpea. The track leaves us at the beginning of the trail and it transports us without margin for errors to it.
|1-Parking||0h 00min||875 m||0 Km||30T 648062 4766376|
|2-Cave of Arpea||0h 05min||865 m||0,5 Km||30T 648276 4766100|
|3-Parking||0h 10min||875 m||1 Km||30T 648062 4766376|
Coordenadas UTM Datum WGS84
This sketch of the route is not made to scale nor does it contain all the information relating to the area, it is merely indicative.
This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 091B-3, 1:25.000"
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems with the reception of the GPS signal. In any case the tracks are always approximate. SENDITUR encourages you to use the new technologies within your reach, using them as support and consultation in your activity, not basing the realization and orientation of the same only and exclusively on them, since they may see their functioning altered by very diverse causes, not functioning correctly and their indications may not be precise.
Muy bonita toda esa zona, os recomiendo también la cercana ruta megalítica de Azpegi
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On the slopes surrounding the Cave of Arpea the Aconitum napellus or common aconite grows in summer, which we will recognize by its large and attractive violet or blue flowers. This plant has the particularity of being extremely toxic, especially its roots, its powerful effects have been used for years for poisoning arrowheads, infusions or banquets of rival peoples.
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The nearby Irati Forest which you can access shortly after passing through Orbaizeta. This is a magnificent beech forest, one of the largest in Europe and in it you will find, in addition to the beautiful landscapes it offers, a large number of routes to walk and places to visit.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 03-09-2020. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.
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