The mountains of Leyre, which for years has been an obligatory passage for transhumants, a silent observer of pilgrims from Somport and a witness to part of the important history of Navarre, keeps between its rocks and forests not a few hiking routes as well as beautiful corners and historical places. Being Yesa and more specifically the Monastery of San Salvador de Leyre one of them. From its very doors the Path of the Fountain of San Virila leaves a precious route that takes us into the wooded and abrupt mountain range with which it shares its name.
The trail with 2 Km is a short route that will transport us to past times following the steps of the famous abbot Virila from the Monastery of Leyre 0 Km. The great importance of this monastery has been reflected in its architectural and cultural ensemble. The route allows us to enjoy another perspective of the monastery and its surroundings. The impressive Yesa reservoir extends to our feet as if it were an extension of the monastery, rivaling both with the imposing silhouette of the Sierra de Leyre crossed by ancestral routes such as the Cañada Real de los Roncaleses that crossed it in search of more benevolent climates for their flocks in the winter months. This mountain range, through which the route runs in its entirety, shows us not only its important landscape value but also its natural value. When we walk along the path calmly and surely we will be able to hear the songs that numbed the abbot or the hammering of the birds in the trunks in search of their food.
The characteristic vegetation of this side of the mountains, holm oaks and kermes oaks, gives us few clear areas from which to appreciate even more if possible the magnificent place chosen by the founders of the monastery there in the ninth century. With luck we will not finish the route without being able to contemplate the compassionate flight of the bearded vulture, master and lord of these skies. The hidden corner that keeps the Fountain of San Virila 1 Km in the interior of the forest surprises us suddenly, almost without warning, inviting us to rest in some of the stones in which surely our abbot fell asleep. The fountain, marked out by the figures of the saint and the nightingale who put him to sleep, marks the point of return that will take us back to the Monastery of Leyre 2 Km with the uncertainty of knowing if 350 years have passed since our departure.
The town of Yesa is in the middle of the old N-240 that joins Pamplona and Jaca. Today the A-21 motorway is in charge of taking us to Yesa from one of these two towns, being in this motorway where we will find the access to the town. We can also get to Yesa by following the NA-5410 which connects it with the nearby Castillo de Javier and Sangüesa. Once there, the road that leads to the Monastery of Leyre is on the same access road to the dual carriageway, from this point the road that without further detours ascends to the monastery where we will have several areas fitted out as car parks.
The Path of the Fountain of San Virila starts next to the main car park of the Monastery of Leyre (0h 00min).
From here starts the steep road marked at the beginning by signs with various information about the area next to the one that marks the beginning of the route, and that quickly makes us leave the monastery behind. This path, which is partly used by many of the area's hiking trails, allows us to gain height quickly while observing the elongated figure of the Yesa reservoir.
Almost without time to enjoy this panoramic view we find the crossroads where we must turn off leaving this track that leads to the mountains.
Our new way brings us closer to a privileged viewpoint where a wide view of the valley that extends to the feet of the monastery is dominated. The route continues its gradual ascent leaving behind us this balcony and facing again towards the imposing mountains of Leyre.
The way leads us to a new crossroads where we will abandon it to begin to cross the route that draws the trail that will take us to the fountain.
For now, we are advancing along a wide trail without major complications that continues to make us gain height with ease.
The markings on the route are reduced to an old sign, such as that on the roads, which indicates that we are on the right course. Soon we find more decomposed stretches of trail where it struggles to make its way through the vegetation that surrounds us.
The trail suddenly meets a fork where we must clearly continue on the right, otherwise we would not have continued.
The large masses of stones that we find force the path to look for the best place to save them while giving us the impression that the route has reached its final point.
These large stones undoubtedly have their origin in the vertical walls that rise to our right forming the unmistakable silhouette of the mountains of Leyre.
The route continues with its staggered ascent, alternating comfortable stretches with others that ask for a little effort to overcome the pitfalls that put us on the road.
Sometimes the thick vegetation, other times the imposing rocks and other times both together make the route more entertaining than you would expect.
The small clearings allow us to look out over the valley and contemplate the magnificent landscape that surrounds us.
The slope during the route is almost concentrated in the abrupt steps that we have to face while in the more open areas the ascent is almost not appreciated.
Under normal conditions it could be said that at no time do we encounter sections that make it really difficult for us to progress, although this perception will surely vary with each person who faces them.
Almost without realizing it, we have been bridging the distance that separated us from the fountain, surrounded by the vegetation that barely lets in the sun's rays.
The Fountain of San Virila (0h 25min) receives us in its singular spot marking us the point of return of the route and the theoretical place where the legend attributed to this saint was given.
From here we just have to return on our steps taking care not to miss the right course and that will return us to the Monastery of Leyre (0h 40min) where the route ends.
This figure corresponds only to the route and is indicative.
It is the time that we dedicate to enjoy each corner and the calm with which we take the route what can most alter this figure, being advisable to give us a certain margin especially if our physical condition is not the ideal one, this way we will have enough time to carry out the route.
The route, except on days when snow or ice cover this area, is perfectly accessible, allowing us to enjoy the lush forest that surrounds it. On clear days, in the clearings through which the path passes, we will be able to contemplate magnificent panoramic views of the monastery and the reservoir.
The path does not have great difficulties but appropriate footwear for this type of terrain will provide greater stability and safety. For the rest and except adverse conditions it is not possible to emphasize many more details than the habitual ones, to adapt our clothes to the conditions of the time of the year in which we realize the route, to take us the camera of photos to be able to capture the beautiful views that sometimes the footpath offers us. For people less accustomed to somewhat steep trails can come well to take some canes to help them balance during the tour. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
The route, due to its distance, allows us to face it with sufficient calm so that neither the difference in level that we must overcome nor the small difficulties that we are going to encounter should make us lose our breath. For someone who is accustomed to hiking routes, this is a pleasant walk that leaves us wanting more, but watch out the less accustomed people is better to take the slope and reefs that we will find without haste, so they can enjoy even more of the environment that surrounds them.
Severity of the environment
Much of the route follows a mountain trail without great complications in which, yes, we find some short stretch where the trees and large rocks leave us a somewhat rough terrain but that in normal conditions and prudent logic only represent a fun challenge for the less mountaineers. It goes without saying that we pass through a mountain terrain and although the trail does not look for exposed or steep areas if we leave it we may find greater difficulties. Pay attention to the roots of the trees, especially if they are humid and to the mud if it had rained because they can play a trick on us.
With the crosses marked with large signs the path is relatively easy to follow although once past these crosses the lack of marks on the route can make us doubt the good course followed. The most abrupt sections will be where we can have more doubts because the feeling that the trail does not have continuity beyond that point are added to the different routes that have been formed in some of them and can lead us to more complicated steps than we normally have in front of us. On our return is when we can most often cross with what seems like small trails that give continuity to ours, nothing further from reality, in many cases only take us to an area without exit from which we will have to return to take the right path.
|1-Monastery of Leyre||0:00h||769m||0Km||30T 649952 4722018|
|2-Fountain of San Virila||0:25h||879m||1Km||30T 649384 4722420|
|3-Monastery of Leyre||0:40h||769m||2Km||30T 649952 4722018|
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 175-1 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.
Un bonito paseo entre la zona boscosa de una ladera que te acerca a un lugar mágico y de leyenda. Me lo pase formidable y disfrute mucho con el paisaje y las vistas tan espectaculares
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¿Did you know that...
Virila truly existed, it is known that he was abbot of the Monastery of Leyre back in the tenth century, his relics still being found in it. This sanctified cleric was born in Tiermas, in the province of Zaragoza, and ignoring his famous history, he lived around 80 years of age.
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A visit to the Monastery of Leyre is one of the most important at national level, whose origins date back to the 9th century and which adds to its important history a rich architectural and cultural heritage such as the Porta Speciosa, the Pantheon of the Kings of Navarre or the well-known and unique Crypt.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 15-05-2016. 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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