The municipality of Zuia, in Alava, covers a large part of the Gorbeia Natural Park, but outside this natural colossus we can also find places that will surprise us with their beauty and history. This is the case of the Path of the Encontrada in the town of Lukiano, a legendary place that hides great surprises.
The route has a whimsical layout with multiple variations along its 4.2 km. It starts from the very heart of Lukiano, next to the building that houses the old bowling alley of the town that has lived and will live through so many evenings of healthy competition. The route takes us, under the attentive gaze of the Gorbea, to one of the charming corners that Alava treasures. The calm Baia river cuts impassively through the path we are following, forcing us to cross a narrow suspension bridge, which if it were not for the relatively low height that separates it from the riverbed, more than one would have an almost insurmountable barrier to overcome.
After crossing this bridge, worthy of distant landscapes, we headed for another no less unique spot, known as the spot of The Encontrada. Where the old medieval bridge awaits us, which together with the old tower that stood where the farmhouse stands today, lived facts and events of the rich history of this land. From here we set off towards Lukiano not without first changing course to gain height and thus be able to enjoy the magnificent views that reward us for our efforts. These views allow us to contemplate not only the great Gorbea, but also the rocks that are home to the Sanctuary of the Golden Virgin before we start our descent to the welcoming town of Lukiano, where we will end the route.
To get to Lukiano, we must first go to the town of Murgia, whose access can be found on the stretch of highway that connects Vitoria with the motorway on its way through Altube. From Murgia there is a local road that connects it with Lukiano, passing first through Bitoriano. Once in Lukiano, we must follow the road that leads into the town and which will take us to the vicinity of the church, next to which is the square that houses the bowling alley building where we can park our vehicle.
The square that houses the old bowling alley of Lukiano (0h 00min), a short distance from the town's church, is the starting point for this beautiful hiking route in the province of Alava.
We go through the street we entered, when we arrived, in the town of Lukiano.
But we'll quickly say goodbye to her and head up a steep street.
Luckily the steep slope does not last long and soon we will see ourselves leaving, little by little, of Lukiano, leaving to our left the street where we will return.
Almost without realizing it, the cement disappears and we find ourselves following the wide path that will guide us to our first objective, the suspension bridge.
We began a rapid descent following the path we took in Lukiano at all times. Soon we will come across a cattle gate that we will have to go through and of course leave closed again.
As soon as we do this to our left, we will leave a new path, along which we will continue on our return.
The river already shows itself to us anticipating the encounter with the Hanging Bridge (0h 20min) that we are about to cross.
After overcoming some battered steps, this exciting stretch of the route awaits us. After overcoming the wobbly bridge, we resumed the road that had accompanied us up to this point.
This part of the route runs again without major complications, while we follow the trodden path that guides us. According to what we have been told, from this area onwards signs have appeared warning us that we are on private property. Although the official path continues along this stretch, if we want to visit the La Encontrada bridge without worrying we can do so along the return path from La Encontrada to the suspension bridge that we have explained further on. Returning along the same route as initially this area does not have these signs.
Soon the vegetation gives way to a wide meadow where we can already see the farmhouse we are heading for.
When we reach its height, the famous medieval bridge of The Encontrada (0h 30min) awaits us. Here we will have to decide whether to retrace our steps or instead venture on the path that runs along the other side of the river.
If this is our case, from now on the fence on our left will serve us as a reference to follow, just like the river.
A fence that if we follow the official path we will have to cross shortly after saying goodbye to The Encontrada. However, we can avoid crossing this plot and follow the path that borders it.
With no other reference than the river and the fence that now runs on our right, we set out to cross the meadow without getting too far from the river's edge.
At the end of the meadow we meet again with the fence, which we have to cross again looking for the concrete point where we can do it. It is possible that in the previous step the fence is closed because of the presence of the cattle in the meadow, if this is the case or if we prefer we can follow its course without crossing it since it will bring us closer to the same point, but after crossing a metal gate.
Once we are together, we will come across a generally dry stream, which we will have to wade through whenever possible, otherwise we will have no choice but to retrace our steps.
Once on the other side, a tangled path awaits us, which follows closely the line of the fence that accompanies us from The Encontrada.
A battered trail that, except for the mud it may have, does not present any major difficulties. The fence serves as a reference at all times, while the river is barely perceptible.
Luckily, soon after, our path leaves us by the hanging bridge, where we will take the road we came from Lukiano.
As we commented before, when we arrive at the cattle gate we have two possibilities again, to follow the same path until Lukiano, or to turn in round and start to gain height to return by another different itinerary.
This new path makes us gain height quickly while we don't stop following its route. A route that, like any good mountain road, winds to gain height with greater comfort.
At the top we will leave a cement track on our right to begin the descent that will take us to Lukiano.
A descent that will not end until well into the town. Our arrival in Lukiano is marked by another gate for the cattle that we must cross.
After doing so, we will continue to lose altitude, meeting the path by which we started this route.
Here we can zigzag between the houses to shorten the route a little or go straight to the street that will take us to our starting point.
A starting point, in Lukiano (1h 10min), which can already be seen as we walk the last meters of this trekking route.
If we return from the suspension bridge by the same route, this figure drops considerably.
There may be a slight variation depending on the itinerary we follow, but as there is no great difference in distance there should not be any difference in time either.
We find the Baia River with a flow nourished of course that increases the beauty of the tour, especially the section of the suspension bridge. But the mud can make things quite difficult for us in the section of the Encontrada and the path that borders the opposite side of the river.
If you are just going to visit the suspension bridge with some hiking shoes it would be more than enough, always in normal conditions of course. While if your intention is to approach to The Encontrada and return by the opposite side of the river better wear boots and long pants just in case. The place of the hanging bridge invites you to enjoy it calmly, even to have a good lunch sitting on the river stones. It is important that if you are going to do the whole route you take the GPS and the tracks of the route. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
The many variants offered by the route, added to the relatively short distance of it, make it very bearable. The slopes that we must overcome are neither too steep nor too long and, if we take it easy, we can easily overcome them.
Severity of the environment
In a large part of the route we travel along roads in good condition, being the return section of The Encontrada where all the complications are concentrated, that is, possible slips, wading of streams and wire fences. Pay attention also to the hanging bridge. Do not underestimate it and keep your common sense. Another factor to take into account is that the environment of the spot of The Encontrada is a private property where there are cattle and mastiffs that protect it.
No signs along the route so it is essential to take what is necessary to find and follow the route at all times. It is true that for someone who has prepared the route well at home and who is used to finding his way around and following the terrain, it is not too complicated, but we should never be too confident.
|1-Lukiano||0:00h||627m||0Km||30T 511712 4753219|
|2-Suspension bridge||0:20h||580m||1.2Km||30T 510983 4753383|
|3-The Encontrada||0:30h||588m||1.9Km||30T 510760 4752775|
|4-Lukiano||1:10h||627m||4.2Km||30T 511712 4753219|
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 111-2, 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.
Tras pasar el puente tibetano hay una señal de prohibo el paso a toda persona o vehículo ajeno a la propiedad. El paraje es muy bonito y pasar el puente tibetano impresiona.
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¿Did you know that...
Many years ago, near the Guereña Tower there was a hermitage known as Saint Mary of the Encontrada. We know of its existence thanks to the mention of it in the Bull of Pope Julius II, in 1508.
Don't miss out...
The nearby Waterfall of Gujuli or Goiuri, is an impressive waterfall that has nothing to envy its big brother the Jump of the Nervion. Besides, there is an easily accessible viewpoint at a short distance from the road leading to Goiuri.
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 17-03-2.019. 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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