The Irati Forest is not simply nature in its pure state, it also keeps in its interior the traces of the industrial activities that have been developed here for years. The interpretative path of Errekaidorra leads us through the forest, following the cross-border line that joined both sides of this place, bringing us closer to the different activities that used to be carried out here in the past. Works that, with the trees as protagonists, made an effort to extract from these abrupt lands the enormous and appreciated woods by means of ingenious and varied systems that were used according to the terrain to be saved. A walk that also allows us to enjoy the true natural heritage that this region treasures. Beeches, white fir or some other yew join the red voles, Pyrenean newts or deer, among other spices to show us a space of great environmental value.
The route with 10 Km takes us from the Houses of Irati 0 Km, epicenter of a great quantity of routes that cross the park, leading us by the interior of the forest through the different activities that were given here. This route allows us to verify the almost perfect harmony that nature had and the activities that were carried out in it, sample of it is the first stop of the itinerary that takes us to know the Waterfall of the Cube 1,3 Km. This place of great beauty entertains us with the capricious forms that the playful river has created, but we must return to the way to continue with the route until the next stop, the zone of the Oars. These forests and in particular their beeches have been very coveted and famous due to the great quality of the oars that came out of them, oars used in the galleys and in different boats and of which in this point we have several examples. After giving us a small idea of the work carried out here by the woodworkers, we return to the path that will take us after a good distance, enjoying the colourful landscape that surrounds us up to the Mast. For years, when the colossal galleons furrowed the seas, the forests of Irati provide the unbeatable trunks of their firs to make the enormous masts that supported their sails in the wind.
Again and after contemplating the great mast that we have in this place we continued the march to find us almost at the moment with one of the ingenious systems created for the transport of these great trunks, the Lock. Without modern means of transport to distribute the material they generated, the river became one of their allies. By means of different dams called locks they governed to their interest the flow of the river to be able to transport their trunks great distances following the course of the water. Once again we will continue our journey to face a long stretch that transports us to French lands without the landscape showing us signs of this change of country. Our walk meets the road that gives access to visitors coming from France, time to change course and start the return, now following by its other bank the course of the river. As it could not be otherwise the coal industry also enjoyed a special importance in Irati and sample of it is the next stop where we can observe and learn the methods used for its manufacture in the area known as the Ashes. Almost to the moment in the parking of the French 6,1 Km, they will join to us the people who arrived up to here following the French slope, to return to introduce us in the leafy forest in search of the following surprise of the route. The path now takes us to the Cables, an ingenious system used to extract the trunks of the French slope, in which they came to travel more than 19 km suspended in the air.
We have little left of the journey, perhaps the most uncomfortable and difficult to follow, but also the one that most introduces us to the heart of the forest. Las Vías is the last of the stops, where we can discover another of the systems used to move the huge logs, although for various reasons, including the relief of the terrain, were less used in Irati. From here we only have to follow the course marked by the river accompanied by the circular layout of another of the trails that start from the Houses of Irati 10 km, where we go and where our interpretative trail ends.
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The Irati Forest is dominated by the Lord and the Lady of the Forests, she usually wears elegant costumes, he, tall and hairy, walks to his appetite and both watch and protect their domains. It is known that they live in the cave of Mount Orhi, because on St. John's Day smoke comes out of the chimney inside the mountain.
There are quite a few towns from which we can access, in one way or another, the Irati Forest due to its amplitude, but to follow this route we must go to 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 NA-140 road, but on the other side, connects Ochagavía with Isaba and France. You can also get there via the NA-178 which, at Lumbier, links the A-21 motorway between Pamplona and Jaca with the NA-140 in Ezcároz, a neighbouring town of Ochagavía. Once there and as you reach the town from Ezcároz, just before crossing the bridge over the river that separates us from the town of Ochagavía, you will find the crossroads where the road that will take you to the Irati Houses begins. Continue along this road, leaving the village on your right, going up the course of the river Zatoia. This road leads us without loss and after a few kilometres to the reception and information centre for visitors and the place to leave our vehicle.
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Our friend can accompany us on this tour as long as we have him tied up. For the rest it is a simple route although the distance, of not being accustomed to this type of walks, can come to him to pass bill.
We will only find water points at the beginning of the tour so it is important not to forget to bring some water and food as we certainly need it especially in summer. The access to the river, except at the beginning, is not too simple but next to the welcome booth we can let you enjoy a well-deserved bath in the river.
To the animals that live in this area we have to add the cattle, although this is usually in the pasture areas. It is also very likely to find us with other pets who are enjoying this pleasant walk.
The route begins next to the car park of the welcome booth for visitors to the Irati Houses (0h 00min), following the track passes by this parking area introducing us directly into the lush forest.
Our route by the track is enlivened from time to time by informative panels that explain to us the particularities of the fauna and flora that surrounds us.
Following this track and almost without noticing it, we find the sign that marks the detour down to the Waterfall of the Cube.
We leave our track for a moment to go towards this corner of the Irati Forest, following the course of the path that starts at this point. The path, which is partly conditioned, makes us overcome the difference in level that separates us from the waterfall, forcing us to go with caution in certain places, especially if it has rained, as the mud can make us slide.
It is the area closest to the Waterfall of the Cube (0h 15min) in which we will find the path in worse condition.
Once admired the beautiful waterfall we return by the same path to take again the track that, immersed in the wide forest, will bring us closer to the next destination, Los Remos.
Almost at the moment the small path on our left ascends to the nearby Remos that can almost be seen from the track. After this short detour, a long, uncomplicated stretch awaits us, following the course marked out by the way and allowing us to enjoy the colourful landscape offered by the numerous large trees that surround us.
One of the many streams with which we will meet forces our track to draw a wide curve at the apex of which we leave on our left a path to return to the lost course that follows at all times the hidden riverbed.
Our walk runs quietly along the wide track, which from time to time is marked by the furrows left by the tracks of one or other authorized vehicle or by the mud that can force us to find the best way to save it. The route, with a smooth and continuous ascent, takes us step by step towards the next stop on the itinerary.
To our left we find the area that houses the mast, which again almost comes to see perfectly from the track. We continue the advance, which coincides in this route with the signs of a GR, which can serve as a reference in the absence of another indication.
Almost at the moment we are in a small clearing of the forest the place where the lock is, moment in which we will have to approach the near edge of the river to visit it.
After visiting the Lock we return to our, for the moment, inseparable track, which in a continuous ascent returns us to enter the forest.
We will soon find ourselves at a crossroads where the GR marks painted on tree trunks indicate the route to follow. The route continues making us gain height without too many demands, at the same time that we are crossing deep water streams that furrow our way.
Another crossing comes to alter our quiet march, again are the marks of the GR in charge of pointing us the right way. This section changes its profile making us descend now surrounded by the thickness of the forest.
We arrive at the moment to undertake a strong ascent following a path that to our left climbs up the slope of the mountain. The strong ascent, which with the soil muddy and full of wet leaves can cause some slipping, is marked by the signs of the path of Irati as well as those of the GR.
This section ends in a path that seems to be little traveled, by which we have to continue and that takes us to a fence that we have to cross and that prevents the passage of animals. Once the fence has been passed, the path seems to be clearer, but we continue without any sign indicating that the course we are following is the correct one, although the absence of trails or ways that cross with us makes us trust in the good course we are following.
From here you can see how a road runs underneath us, towards which we seem to be heading. Without noticing it, we have been walking for some time in French territory, our already asphalted track joins the road that comes from Lecumberry and with the stretch that we used to see at our feet.
At this junction we leave behind the GRT9 and turn round to descend following the road and the GR12 marks, which will accompany us for a short time.
Immediately we crossed a bridge that serves us to save the inseparable river, to undertake the way of return now by its other slope.
Shortly after crossing the bridge, we will leave the GR12 on our left, as it ascends towards the mountain, while we follow the main track, where we can see the marks indicating the Irati mountain bike routes.
We continue along the road, marked on both sides by dense trees, to reach the next stop, Las Cenizas, a place that looks out to our left of the road and from which we are only separated by a small bridge, which we cross to understand a little better the work that was done here. We return to the road to find us almost at the moment with the parking of the French (1h 35min).
As soon as we reach its height we leave the track to take the path that starts next to the informative signs, at the entrance of the esplanade of the car park.
Again we see ourselves going through the thick forest following the path almost hidden by the dry leaves fallen from the trees. This section forces us to cross normally dry streams.
After a short while we find a crossroads where the path to follow if we want to see the area of the Cables, is the one on our left, as it will lead us directly to them.
We cross this beautiful zone to take up again the course of the route. Quickly we find a wooden footbridge that serves us to cross one of the streams that feed our river Urbeltza.
A threatening sign warns us of the steep slope in front of us that will take us to a forest track. This route along the wide track allows us not only to recover from the effort made but also to discover, thanks to information panels, the different changes that the landscape undergoes throughout the year.
After a good section following the course of this track, we arrive at the moment of abandoning it to go towards the Railroads taking the path that starts on our right.
This area is quite complicated to follow, a real sálvese quien pueda in which we must look for the best way to descend the slope of the mountain while trying to find some sign or a hint of path that serves as a reference. Those who do not want to venture can continue their way along the comfortable track, with which we will join again later.
Once we have managed to find the Railroads we must follow the path that will take us to the very edge of the river to continue along it. The few signs that we will find in this section mark another of the routes proposed by the park SL-NA 62ª Senda del río Urbeltza, which should not confuse us as it makes a circular route in the opposite direction to what we are taking in this section.
We went up part of the lost height following the trail, now more easily but covered by the leaves. The track comes out to meet us letting us intuit the next end of the route.
A new crossing gives us the opportunity to ascend towards the Irati Houses or to continue without deviating by the track that takes us directly to the entrance of the zone of welcome.
Once there we only have to cross the bridge that we cross with our vehicle to reach the parking lot of the Irati Houses (2h 45min) where this route began and where it ends.
Total distance. 10 Km
Total time. 2h 45min
Time does not count the duration of the visits to the different areas we pass through, although it does count the duration of the additional journey in cases where it is necessary to take a detour in order to recover the main trail.
Time of year. Autumn, spring and summer
The special characteristics of the environment that surrounds us make this place one of the outstanding forests of the peninsula in autumn, where we will find a true spectacle of colors. Spring and summer give us their lively green tones and a more benevolent climate especially in summer. The harsh winter makes it difficult in a few days to get here and in addition to radically changing the landscape makes it very difficult for us to do the tour, leaving it almost reserved for people with experience in these situations.
Required equipment. Trekking
Walking sticks, water, food, trekking shoes, the map they give us at the beginning of the tour, the camera are some of the things we can not lack in addition to adapting our equipment to the time of year in which we make the route. It is important to have the meteorological forecasts and to be cautious since for this zone the time and the temperature change with enough rapidity. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
Slope acumulate. 626 m Slope positive. 317 m Slope negative. 309 m
The distance and some hard ramp mark the physical difficulty of this route that presents a deceptive slope making us gain height in a constant way in some of its sections while we follow the course marked by the river. On the way back, we will have to face a hard ramp that with enough calm will not make us suffer too much.
Severity of the environment
We walk to a great extent on tracks in quite good condition, and it is when we leave them that we will find the sections with the greatest difficulties, as they are trocheras trails normally muddy and somewhat decomposed in some of their areas. Where more caution we must have is in the descent towards the vías, since in this zone it is not so clear the path to follow and we will descend by the slope of the mountain without more reference than the course marked by the near river, to which we will not have to go until not arriving at the vías.
Initially the route should be marked with the specific signs of this route, but for now and until they are installed we will only find them in certain points. Even so, there are several references that added to the map provided in the welcome house will help us to orient ourselves in case of doubt. The not very habitual crossings also contribute to follow the itinerary, not without the logical doubts that arise after taking time without seeing signs of the route. It is the marks of the GR with which we will coincide that will guide us in some cases and those of the BTT routes in others. As we approach the end of the route we will join one of the trails proposed by the park following the same route and finding us with its signs that are oriented in the opposite direction to ours when this path is made circular in that direction. It is in the descent towards the Vías where it is very easy to be disoriented since the path practically disappears forcing us to look for the most suitable route to descend to them.
|1-Houses of Irati||0h 00min||855 m||0 Km||30T 654353 4761319|
|2-Waterfall of the Cube||0h 15min||885 m||1,3 Km||30T 654701 4762415|
|3-Parking of the French||1h 35min||935 m||6,1 Km||30T 656209 4763397|
|4-Houses of Irati||2h 45min||855 m||10 Km||30T 654353 4761319|
Coordinates 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 117-1 y 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.
Es un bonito, entretenido y recomendable recorrido, donde además de disfrutar del paisaje que el entorno nos ofrece, encontramos singulares rincones que nos ilustran sobre la industria maderera que hubo en el lugar.
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¿Did you know that...
Formerly inhabited these lands fierce animals such as the brown bear or the Iberian wolf, organizing regular raids to hunt them. These raids were community work and had about 250 hunters with their respective dogs who traveled for several days in the woods to hunt these animals that threatened livestock in the area.
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The visit to Ochagavía, its palaces and streets tell part of the history, not only of the town but also of this region. While strolling through its beautiful streets, we cross its old bridge or visit the peculiar transept. A town full of traditions and legends that link it, for example, to the Witchcraft Route of Navarre.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 09-06-2016. 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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