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Ascent to Gorbeia from Pagomakurre

Within the Gorbea Natural Park there are numerous routes that ascend to the top of the mountain that gives its name. But if there is an ascent to the Gorbeia that can be considered as the classic route to crown its summit, this one is in the slope belonging to Biscay. The recreational area of Pagomakurre is the meeting point for many of the mountaineers and hikers who visit this natural space daily.

Gorbeia from Pagomakurre

The route of ascent to the Gorbeia from Pagomakurre with its 12.2 km total, allows us to climb this Basque mountain not without effort. The route leaves from the cosy Pagomakurre, to be gaining height with calm, following the track that connects it with the fields of Arraba. Throughout this part of the route we can enjoy the silhouette of the mysterious massif of Itixina and the landscape that forms the valley that extends below us. In the pastures of Arraba, in addition to the two refuges there, a magnificent panorama awaits us, inviting us to take a break to enjoy it.

Campas of Arraba, Gorbeia from Pagomakurre

We save the steep passage that extends under the Gatzarrieta rock to put course towards another of the refuges that populate the natural park of the Gorbea, the refuge of Egiriñao and next to him the small hermitage of the Virgin of the Snows. From there the real ascent to Gorbeia awaits us, which takes us to the Aldamiñoste pass under the watchful eye of the steep Aldamin. From there, we only have to overcome the last slope that separates us from the summit of the Gorbeia, where its unmistakable cross and a spectacular panoramic view awaits us, which compensates the effort made to crown its summit.

Gorbea Cross in the fog, Gorbeia from Pagomakurre

The Legend

Legend has it that this area of the Gorbea is often frequented by the colossal Basajuan. A being that lives in the depths of the forest and using the protection provided by the days of fog, comes out of hiding in search of a soul to take with him. The shepherds of the area know this well, as they have allies who warn them of the presence of the Basajuan so that it does not take them away, their flocks, who in unison make their cowbells and bells ring out when they feel the presence of the Basajuan. So you know, be careful on foggy days, lest the Basajuan come and take you away. And above all, be on the lookout for the ringing of the cowbells and bells of the flocks that graze in the pastures.

How to get to Pagomakurre

To get to Pagomakurre we must first go to the town of Areatza, which we will find on the old N-240 road linking Bilbao and Vitoria, or to the town of Orozko. And it is in the highway that unites these two populations where we will find the beginning of the asphalted track that ascends until Pagomakurre. Once there we will have several zones where we will be able to park our vehicle to begin with the route.

Pet area, mountain with my dog

We are in a natural park with specific legislation for pets, which asks to take our dog tied up to avoid disturbing the fauna that lives here.

The route, if our friend usually accompanies us to our ascents, should not suppose any major complications. We will have several fountains where he can drink and we will be able to replace the water that we must always take to him.

The cattle and the dogs that protect them are almost constant protagonists along the route, so it is advisable to be attentive to avoid bothering them or avoiding scares.

Description ascent of the Gorbeia from Pagomakurre

From Pagomakurre to the Campas of Arraba 2.6 Km

The zone of parkings of the recreational area of Pagomakurre (0h 00min), in the Natural Park of the Gorbea is the departure point for many of the routes that cross it.​

To climb the Gorbea we leave the Pagomakurre car park

We will have to cross the parking to go in search of the track that ascends towards the fields of Arraba.

We start the road that takes us from Pagomakurre to the Campas of Arraba.

This wide path from the first moment warns us of the continuous unevenness that we have to save to reach our first objective.

We didn't leave the main road to the Campas of Arraba.

We advance leaving on our right the vertical walls of the Itxina Massif. There will not be many paths or crossroads that we will encounter, and in none of the cases should we abandon the course of our path.

The unevenness is evident

Little by little the slope begins to become more evident, forcing us to make an effort to keep moving forward.

The Pagomakurre road has some shortcuts

In some of the curves that the path draws, we will come across trails that shorten the route in part, in exchange for a greater slope to overcome.

The Campas of Arraba are almost there

After a while the path seems to reach the end of this stretch of ascent, marking our arrival at the Campas of Arraba (0h 00min).​

From the Campas de Arraba to the Gorbeia 3,5 Km

As soon as we arrived at the fields we came across the first crossroads.

In the Campas of Arraba we follow the path to the left towards the Gorbea

We follow the path on our left which borders the boundaries of these pastures.

In the fields of Arraba we can recover strength before going up to the Gorbea

The conditioned walk allows us to enjoy the landscape around us and catch our breath.

We left another detour to head for the Gorbea

Almost without realizing it, we find ourselves at another crossroads where once again it is the path to our left that we must follow.

We left the Campas of Arraba

We quickly start a new stretch of ascent that takes us to the hillside of the Gatzarrieta rock.

There are several trails we can follow

There are several possible paths or trails that we can follow to go around this rock. The new trail, much more comfortable, makes it a little lower than the rest of the trails, which are much more broken and slippery.

All the trails come together a little later

But in any case both options come together again somewhat later to continue towards the desired summit.

It makes the trail much more comfortable

After crossing this craggy area of the route we will find wide pastures and a much more comfortable itinerary.

We continue straight ahead with our eyes on the summit of Gorbea

Soon we reach the height of another crossroads, which we will leave behind to continue our journey. A trail that quickly leads us to the beech forest that precedes the Egiriñao shelter.

We leave the shelter and continue to climb towards the Gorbea

A shelter that we will leave behind to begin the real ascent to the summit of Gorbea. From now on, the hardest and most demanding stretch of the entire route awaits us.

We begin the ascent to the pass of Aldamiñoste

An authentic chaos of trails and stones that leads us in constant ascent towards the Aldamiñoste pass.

We arrive at the pass of Aldamiñoste to start the final ascent to Gorbea

The trodden trail runs along the skirts of the steep Aldamin to lead us, not without effort, to the pass that separates it from the Gorbea.

We face the tough final climb to Gorbea

Once on the pass and with our eyes on the unmistakable cross that crowns its summit, we changed direction to begin the final stretch of the ascent.

The Gorbea awaits us

This area maintains the notable slope that we have been overcoming, although there is no longer a clear trail to guide us to the summit. A summit, that of the Gorbeia (1h 50min), that compensates with more than enough effort to conquer it.

We reached the summit of Gorbeia where the Cross of Gorbea awaits

Once we have enjoyed this Basque mountain, we only have to return, on our steps, to Pagomakurre (3h 15min) where we will put an end to this route.

Technical data sheet of the route

ico-distancia-totalDistance. 12.2Km

A detour to one of the refuges close to the route will hardly increase the distance to be covered.

ico-tiempo-totalTime. 3:15h

The different shortcuts that we can find along the route are not remarkable enough to affect the total time of the tour.

ico-calendarioTime of year

The beauty of the different landscapes through which the route passes makes it a recommendable route in any season. Of course, as long as we are technically and physically able to face the added difficulties of the winter periods. The weather in this area tends to change abruptly, turning a sunny and pleasant day into a stressful journey through the fog.

ico-materialRequired equipment

Of course we will have to adapt our equipment to the weather conditions and the route that we expect to find. It is advisable to take with us the GPS with the track of the route, we can not fail to carry the walking sticks that will be of great help. Even in summer it is advisable to take some clothes that will protect us from the wind and from a drop in temperature. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.

ico-dificultadDifficulty. Medium


This is a relatively short route, compared to other routes up the Gorbea. Even so, the slope to be overcome together with the distance force us to be in good physical shape so as not to suffer more than necessary. On the other hand with the necessary calm and taking advantage of the rest areas that gives us the unevenness, we can make a journey much more affordable than if we obsessed with making summit as quickly as possible.

Severity of the environment

As long as the terrain and weather conditions are suitable, the route is not too complicated. It is only in the stretch that borders the Gatzarrieta rock and the first part of the ascent to the Aldamiñoste pass that we must take the most precautions given the broken terrain. Rain, mud and of course snow and ice radically change this assessment, increasing exposure to danger in some areas.


A large part of the tour will be done on wide tracks and footpaths. In addition, at the main crossroads we have signs that guide us perfectly. However, in the final stretch of the route the path becomes much less evident and if the fog comes into play we could have problems in getting our bearings. The same happens if we leave the official route under an intense fog, the most likely thing is that we will not have easy to retake the correct route.

Important places to pass through
1-Pagomakurre 0:00h 876m 0Km 30T 516943 4769594
2-Campas of Arraba 0:40h 1082m 2.6Km 30T 516762 4767572
3-Gorbeia 1:50h 1482m 6.1Km 30T 517827 4764608
4-Campas of Arraba​ 2:40h 1082m 8.7Km 30T 516762 4767572
5-Pagomakurre 3:15h 876m 12.2Km 30T 516943 4769594

Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84

Profile of the route

Profile of the ascent to Gorbeia from Pagomakurre

ico-desnivel-acumuladoSlope: 1544m

ico-desnivel-positivoSlope +: 772m

ico-desnivel-negativoSlope -: 772m

ico-altitud-maximaMaximum altitude: 1482m

ico-altitud-minimaMinimum altitude: 876m

Cartography, maps and tracks

Map of the ascent to Gorbeia from Pagomakurre

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.

Topographic map of the ascent to Gorbeia from Pagomakurre


This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 087-1 y 087-3, 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.

Beech forest in Gorbea Natural Park
Gorbea Natural Park
Horses in Gorbea Natural Park
Refuge of Egiriñao
Wild Cardos
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Listado de experiencias
Ana Sanz
Created the 15-08-2019

Bonita y normalmente sencilla ascensión al Gorbea, unos paisajes increíbles, muy recomendable.

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The Gorbea Natural Park was declared as such on 21 June 1994, given its high ecological value and the uniqueness of its rich natural heritage. The park is located between the provinces of Bizkaia and Araba.

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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 20-07-2019. 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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