The GR 93 in this stage takes us through the heart of the Sierra of La Demanda. From Ezcaray in the Oja valley to San Millán de la Cogolla in the Cárdenas valley, the route invites us to immerse ourselves not only in its spectacular scenery, but also in the history and valuable cultural heritage that we will find. The typical landscape that we will cross, made up of beech forests combined with gentle meadows and characteristic terraced cultivation areas, now abandoned, will allow us to enjoy the privileged panoramic views that the valleys, mountains and towns offer us, as different in their composition as in their beauty, as well as being home to countless animal species.
The GR 93 section 1 Ezcaray-San Millán de la Cogolla, 17.1 km long, allows us to enter the Sierra of La Demanda through the paths that join some of the valleys that make it up, more specifically from the Oja valley to the Cárdenas valley. The route meanders between the rounded peaks that surround it to jump from valley to valley using the pass that separate the peaks of these mountains, an itinerary that from yesteryear followed the people who inhabited these places in their daily lives. The route starts from the car park next to the building of the old railway station of Ezcaray, where the section of the Greenway of the Oja that arrives from Santo Domingo de la Calzada ends, and which today is considered another stage of the GR 93, which serves it to communicate with the GR 65, that of the Way of Saint James.
From here, following the course of the Turza stream, we undertake the gentle ascent among poplars that, together with other species such as maples, cherry trees, willows and hawthorns, accompany us to Turza, an old village of Ezcaray that today is gradually recovered from its almost abandonment. The pass of Larrizabala offers us a beautiful panoramic view of the valley of the Turza river and the Ciloria. As soon as we begin the descent, we will enjoy the view of the valley of the Espardaña and Pazuengos rivers. Shortly before the arrival to this locality the mountains allow us to contemplate the Valley of the Ebro with the Sierra of the Toloño and Sierra Cantabria in the background, besides the Obarenes Mounts.
After enjoying Pazuengos and knowing its old bread oven, the path, bordering the Pazuengos ravine, arrives at the Rebollar pass and shortly after at the Muga of Pazuengos from where a few steps further on you can already see the Monastery of Yuso and San Millán de la Cogolla. A vertiginous descent takes us to Lugar del Río from where, after visiting the hermitage of the Virgen del Carmen, we continue the route crossing the river Cárdenas a couple of times and continuing its course to the limits of the Monastery of Yuso, a World Heritage Site together with the Monastery of Suso.
Ezcaray can be reached by following the LR-111 from Santo Domingo de la Calzada or by this same road but from the neighbouring town of Burgos Pradoluengo. Highway LR-111, allows us to connect at the height of Haro with the AP-68. In Santo Domingo de la Calzada you will also find the N-120 and the A-12 dual carriageway between Logroño and Burgos. Ezcaray has a daily bus service, which connects it with Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Logroño. Once there, the route begins at the car park next to the old railway station building, which we reach by turning off at the junction that crosses the river Oja from the LR-111 and leads to Posadas and the ski resort of Valdezcaray.
We leave Ezcaray (0h 00min) crossing the bridge over the river Oja, in front of us we find the old railway station, now converted into a bar, with a small park where we must turn left and follow the fence of the park until we reach a wide path that leaves on our right, signposted with a post where you can read the kilometers that remain until San Millán.
Following this path we arrive at a small bridge where we must go straight ahead, the path is well defined and runs between orchards and meadows.
We are advancing leaving behind us any track that comes out to meet us, being more usual to our left than to our right.
These roads that we cross are of small dimension, the one that we carry is wider and is well marked, in some of its points it is crossed by intermittent water currents, of small entity, creating muddy zones where we have to be careful not to slip.
To our left we find another wide track that on its right side has a sign prohibiting the passage to motor vehicles in whose post is the white and red X that indicates that we should not follow.
The path narrows and widens, changing also its firm, from stones to grass successively, to start climbing moderately, between tunnels created by the vegetation itself, giving us a space of shade that on hot days is appreciated, until we can already see some houses that welcome us to Turza (1h 20min).
We leave the path crossing a narrow road and continue straight on entering the village, we are struck by its beauty and how some houses already rebuilt share space with others in ruins.
We walk along a concrete road that leads us to the area of the church where we can take a breath and regain strength.
Continuing up the street, the cement road disappears, giving way to a dirt road where we advance to the last houses where we are presented with a crossroads, in which we continue straight.
The path changes and we think we are walking along the bed of a small ravine, where we must choose the sides to make our passage more pleasant, escorted by vegetation, we go up to a crossroads. At this crossroads, continuing a few metres to the right, we will see the frames of a large door, at which point we must turn left and continue straight ahead, leaving the door behind us.
We then begin to climb towards the Larrizabala pass along a path that gradually turns into a trail. Looking back we can enjoy the panoramic view of Turza from here.
To our left we are accompanied by a fence wall that will serve as a guide until we reach an open space where the path widens but also fades, in this place there are several paths, but we must continue climbing towards the hill where shortly after another stone wall appears to guide us again.
Near the end of the ascent we see a stone construction on our right, which is actually a water tank, we direct our steps towards it, before turning left towards a metal fence where there are usually loose animals.
After passing through its double gate, which gives us the feeling of entering a private enclosure, the path turns right to follow the fence.
It is common to find this whole area very muddy, dirty and slippery, due to livestock, so try not to fall.
The route starts the descent of the Larrizabala pass passing by a trough and descending parallel to a fence with barbed wire, after having walked about 500 m leave the wire fence on our right and continue on the path on the left that continues our descent along this trail.
A little further on the path passes by a curious watering hole made with an old bathtub, to become wider as the descent softens until it reaches an area of meadows where, now accompanied once again by a fence and meadow walls, we will reach the bottom of the valley, to the meeting of the river Espardaña.
An old wooden bridge is used to ford the river at the gauging station and continue along the track which, leaving a detour to the right behind, leads to a gate. Shortly after, cross a stream over another small bridge and take the wide track on the right.
We then began a new ascent that constantly makes us gain height allowing us to contemplate the valley on our left.
After passing by another watering hole we reach the height of a livestock facility, where a crossroads invites us to turn left, as following the track on the right would lead us to some antennas at the top of the mountain.
It is at this point, we begin the descent for this track that without leaving it in no moment it approaches us definitively to Pazuengos (2h 35min), in whose entrance a post indicates us the remaining kilometers in both senses, we remain 8.1 km to our destiny, San Millán de la Cogolla.
We enter the village of Pazuengos and our steps lead us towards the center, in front of the town hall there is a small park with a fountain and some benches where we can make a stop on our way to regain strength.
We leave the village behind the church, where there is also a fountain, and turning left we head towards a small stream where there is a gate that we cross to take a path to the left, which gradually ascends away from the town.
We pass the remains of a watering hole that is no longer in use and we enter a beech forest where we go through several ravines until we reach a high point where the forest disappears, and where the vision of the most significant mountains of the region, as far as height is concerned, indicates that we have reached the Rebollar pass.
Here, after admiring the landscape, we return to our path that crosses this hill in a southeasterly direction to enter a forest of rebollos, descending gently until it reaches curves, where the descent becomes more pronounced.
The trail, which is well marked, takes us to the exit of the forest, a clear area where we have no choice but to stop our march to admire the views from this privileged balcony.
If we look to the left from our position we have a privileged image of San Millán and the Monastery of Yuso that is shown to us in all its dimension.
We begin the descent with the vision in front of the Monastery of Yuso, accompanied to the left by a barrier of trees and to the right by the ravine, we must continue by the hills until arriving at a barrier of rocks that force us to border them until leaving them to our left.
The path now passes between two rocks, taking a trail along the slope of the mountain. Until, turning right and zigzagging, we descend directly towards Lugar del Rio (3h 50min).
The itinerary goes out to the road where it turns to the left, following it to enter the village, to its entrance we find the hermitage of the Carmen, which we leave to our right and to our left a source.
Shortly after, turn right onto a wide track that leads to the river. This crossroads is marked with a signpost and leads to a bridge crossing the river Cárdenas.
Going now along the right side of the channel, separating us more and more from it, we reach the height of a detour where we leave the wide path to turn to our left taking an ascending path, sometimes a little blurred, that surrounds the ravine and that climbs halfway up the slope to a hill.
There are moments when our intuition and the search for signs help us to choose the right path, bearing in mind that first we will move away from the village almost perpendicularly but then we will have to turn left because it is in that direction where our destination is.
The road widens and begins the descent again towards the river until crossing it, and then turn right.
Accompanied by poplars and escorted in our left side by the wall that delimits the farms of the monastery, the way leaves to a track of cement next to an agricultural pavilion, in this place we leave in front of us this track that continues the course of the river, to turn to the left ascending to the encounter of the first streets of the population.
At the first crossroads, the GR markings indicate that you must turn right and then turn left again and go up the main street. You have the option of not following these last signs that take you past the village square and continue along the stone wall of the monastery, going up the street on your left that leads directly to the main street of San Millán, where you will find the GR signs again.
On leaving the Main Street, the path turns to the left to cover the last few metres before reaching the road on the left that descends towards the monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla (5h 00min), where this section of the GR ends.
This figure is indicative as there are several factors that can affect it.
Total time without stops, to whic:we can add the scarce 10 minutes that can take us to deviate a few meters of the route, to contemplate the magnificent panoramic that the route offers.
Given the height of the route in some of its sections, in winter it is common to find these covered by snow, hiding bot:the pat:and the signs. The rest of the year the itinerary offers us a magnificent and colourful landscape, in addition to being able to enjoy the leafy forests that it crosses. In rainy seasons or days, large sections of the route are practically impracticable due to the mud, whic:even in summer is common to find on the road in certain places.
Footwear and hiking clothes according to the time of year and weather conditions, sunglasses and cap, backpack, walking sticks, canteen and food. Recommended waterproof footwear, half boot type, in addition to the photo camera and binoculars. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
Wit:some short ramp of entity, the route is relatively comfortable, not supposing a great physical exigency when transiting between soft hills and to half mountain almost all the route. The steepest slopes are in the stretc:from Pazuengos to Lugar del Río and in this sense they are descending.
Severity of the environment
The route runs mostly throug:trails that give way to good tracks, the greatest complication can be found wit:mud, whic:even in summer we can find at certain points of the journey. During the rainy season, the trails and the first part of the route turn into a mudflat that makes walking considerably more difficult, forcing us to take extreme precautions to avoid skids and falls. The descent from the Rebollar to Lugar del Río, althoug:it has no complications if it forces us to be attentive to possible slips given the unevenness that we save in a short distance and when walking wit:a small ravine on our right.
Marked wit:the typical GR markings, the places most exposed to confusion are on the hills we pass, where the pat:is covered wit:grass and fences for livestock stand in our way. Another area where we will have to be attentive to the marks is in the small ascent that after passing Lugar de Río takes us towards San Millán, here we cross wit:some trail that should not divert us from the direction that we continue following in the distance the descending course of the river.
|1-Ezcaray||0:00h||815m||0Km||30T 499228 4686174|
|2-Turza||1:20h||1115m||4.1Km||30T 502822 4685211|
|3-Pazuengos||2:35h||1165m||8Km||30T 506118 4685061|
|4-Lugar del Río||3:50h||775m||13.2Km||30T 509805 4684260|
|5-San Millán de la Cogolla||5:00h||735m||17.1Km||30T 511038 4685978|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
This sketc: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 wit:the pat:is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 240-2, 1:25.000".
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems wit: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.
Bonito recorrido, merece la pena!!!
¿Did you know that...
Turza, whose name means Place of Fountains, is considered as artistic historical heritage. Around the year 100, there was a large influx of Basques who established La Contrata, a kind of insurance that consisted of if a villager lost a working animal, it would be replaced with the support of the rest of its neighbors.
Don't miss out...
A visit to the monumental complex of the monastery of San Millán, made up of the monastery of Suso, at the top, and the monastery of Yuso, at the bottom. Both are included in the Route of the Monasteries.
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.
Besides sharing with all of us your experience on the route we would be grateful if you could write to us to inform us of any erroneous or outdated information you may have found, or simply to let us know what you think at Thank you.
This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 25-05-2015. 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.
Continue watching …