On the slopes of the Sierra de Entiza, in the place where the river Zadorra is born, at the gates of the valley that houses the towns of Munain and Ocáriz, we find the Route of the Centennial Oaks, a beautiful hiking route in the province of Alava that gives us the opportunity to visit this unique place, exclusive habitat of a large number of diverse species of both plants and animals, some of them unique in Spain, which together with its colossal trees, some more than 500 years old, make these forests a true natural treasure.
The route of the Centenary Oaks with 6.4 km, also known as the Path of the Centenary Trees, starts in Munain, where we can contemplate its church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. From here we will set out towards the side of the mountain with the view of the silhouette of The Red Rock to whose summit the most adventurous can ascend, thus extending this route. Soon we will see ourselves leaving the soft valley where we will leave the villages to enter the leafy forest as we gain height with each step. Behind us is not only the wide valley and its villages, but also the imposing figure of the Urkilla Mountains that close off the Alava plain on the other side. The route will take us through the oak groves of Munain and Ocáriz where spectacular trees await us, many of them over 500 years old and even some, it is said, over 1000 years old. These old grandparents have given rise to an unprecedented and exclusive variety of animal species that can only be found in this type of old trees. This oak grove, in which we also find a great diversity of plant species, shares prominence with the Source of the Zadorra, thus giving us the opportunity to expand the route following the Path of the Sources of Zadorra to also visit the points where this river flows Alava. The enormous thickness of the trunks of these oaks together with the very diverse forms that both the trunk and its large branches adopt do not cease to surprise us no matter how much we see one tree after another.
The Zadorra River and the countless streams that will shape it come to greet us from time to time, although we have discarded the option of climbing to its source when we find the small rest area of the oaks, an ideal place to rest and enjoy the environment around us. The route bids farewell to those who want to climb to the Zadorra springs or those who dare to crown Red Rock to cut the slope of the mountain in search of the moment when we will return to the valley, but not before continuing to discover beautiful corners and majestic oaks and gall oaks. Before starting the descent we will find a new option to approach the source of the Zadorra. From here we will begin the fast descent that will take us to leave without almost noticing the leafy forest. Once at the limits of this natural paradise that we have just crossed, we will see ourselves again in the extensive Alava plain where Ocáriz, another of the protagonists of this Route of the Centenary Oaks, awaits us. From this town we will set off towards Munain, following one of the two tracks that connect them, to put an end to our route while we contemplate the beautiful landscape that surrounds us.
To get to Munain or Ocáriz we can do so by following the A-1 between Vitoria and Pamplona or San Sebastián. It is there where we will find the detour that will take us off the highway and leave us on the A-3138, which we must follow in the direction of San Román de San Millán. Shortly after taking this road, we will find the detours that lead to these two towns, first to Ocáriz and a little later to Munain. We can also get there by following the A-2128 from Opakua, as this road joins the A-1 at the same Salvatierra junction where we must turn off. Once there we have to follow the road we arrived at which will take us directly to the church of the town where we can park our vehicle to start the route.
The church in the town of Munain (0h 00min) marks the starting point of this Route of the Centenary Oaks or, as it is also known, the Path of the Centenary Trees.
Following the course of the road that brought us here, we will continue through the town towards the mountain range in front of us, an extension of the Urbasa mountain range that is situated a little further to our left.
The road, already converted into a paved track, quickly takes us out of Munain, leaving the church behind us.
Our track soon reaches its end, at which point we must continue for a few metres to the right, following the perfect path along which, if we so decide, we can return from Ocáriz in search of the point and end of this route.
We are now quickly faced with the detour that we must follow, and that faces us again towards the slopes of the mountain.
Without almost appreciating the unevenness, we crossed the green fields that this new path that we are walking crosses. Soon we will reach a metal gate that we must go through to continue our route.
The slope from this point begins to become somewhat more noticeable as we move away from the valley and up the mountain.
This area, as well as almost all the route, can be very muddy, forcing us to move forward with caution and looking for the best areas to save the mudflats that we find in our path. The woodland begins to gain ground as we take height following the course of the battered path that we carry.
We cannot resist looking back at the beautiful panorama formed by the villages of the valley and the colossal mountains that close it on the other side.
Cattle are a common sight in these lands, as evidenced by the fences that mark the path and the barriers that prevent their passage. The path, after saving another gate, this time made of wood, continues its untiring ascent.
Soon we will find a fork in which we must follow the path that continues with the ascent leaving aside the one that seems to go into the greenery that begins to surround us.
Ahead of us lies the part of the route where we will have to overcome the greatest difference in level, proof of which is the zigzagging that the path draws in an attempt to save it more comfortably. Once again, during the rainy season, we find very muddy areas that make our progress difficult.
After saving this convoluted area in which, if we have been observers, we will have already been able to contemplate a rich variety of flora and some large oak trees, we will arrive at a new fork in the road.
Here on our left, protected from the cattle by an enclosure, the Rest Area of the Oaks (0h 55min) awaits us, which we will access after saving a new wooden gate.
The short corridor that leads to this beautiful esplanade may become totally flooded, forcing us to entertain ourselves in order to find the best way to cross it. This effort is rewarded when we reach this beautiful corner of the route.
Once we have enjoyed this spot and returned to the path we left when we came to the fork in the path, we will return to the route, abandoning the path that continues its ascent towards the Zadorra Fountains, to go even deeper into the leafy forest we are walking through.
The streams that run down the hillside give us the explanation of why there is so much humidity, we must not forget that it is in these mountains where the river Zadorra is born, one of the most notable in Alava.
We continue the route now following the trail that has become the path we were on, a trail that coincides with the GR-25 and makes its way through the branches and trees. Luckily the good signposting is of great help to us, since sometimes the trail to follow is not as clear as this route had accustomed us to.
We continue to gain height as we enjoy the environment around us and pass by sturdy oak trees that seem to come out to greet us. If this stretch is muddy, besides taking it easy, it is better to do it in this way than to have to assume the descent.
Soon, the slope becomes softer, allowing us to move forward more quietly as we cut through the mountainside.
Suddenly the thick vegetation gives way to a clear area from which we can once again contemplate the vast valley from which we came. When we reach this area the trail blurs into the grass, fortunately on our right we will see a new post indicating the direction to follow.
The route begins a gentle descent following the course marked by the posts along the way as we cross this unpopulated area of trees.
A few metres further down we will find, on the other side of this kind of sheepfold or firebreak, another gate that we will have to go through.
As soon as we cross it, we will have to save a small stream, usually dry, to continue with the descent we had started. A large oak tree towards which we are heading, along with the newly defined trail, serve as a reference in case of doubt.
When we arrive next to the big oak tree we will meet again with the Path of the Sources of the Zadorra at the same time that we will say goodbye to the GR-25 that continues by this footpath.
We ignore the GR mark which tells us that the trail we are following is not the correct one, in case we were following the GR, we continue our route.
This part of the route is again full of a great variety of plant species and large trees through which our trail winds.
We continue to lose height while we are surprised by large oaks, each one more spectacular if possible.
There are several streams to be crossed, some of them equipped with their corresponding wooden bridges. The trail, already more marked and wider than in previous sections, together with the signposting of the route leaves no room for doubt.
Little by little, and without almost noticing it, the vegetation around us has been changing, indicating the closeness of the valley towards which we are heading.
We advance along what now seems more like a path than a broad trail, following the marks and signs that indicate our direction. As in the rest of the route, it is very likely that we will come across some very muddy areas.
There are not many detours or junctions that we will encounter and in almost all of them we should not have major problems in following the correct route.
Just before leaving the forest, the path forks, leaving us with the doubt of going straight on or going down the right path, the right one.
If we decided to go straight ahead, we would descend directly to a cattle enclosure, where we would surely find not only the cattle but also a real mudflat totally flooded.
If we choose the right option we will descend almost at once to a new gate where our path meets the track that will take us to Ocáriz.
Once on this track we only have to continue with the descent to meet the farm where the other path that we left behind before arrives.
Once there, we will have to follow the track, which after saving another stream, now leads directly to Ocáriz.
The local church welcomes us to it, inviting us to take a short break to contemplate it calmly and enjoy the panoramic views around us. We leave behind the church of Ocáriz (1h 40min) to continue for now without detours into the town.
We will quickly reach the crossroads where we can see on our right the straight line that at the beginning of the route invited us to continue towards Ocáriz. As we explained before, we can return along this track to Munain or continue straight on, leaving the town and returning along another of the tracks that link the two towns.
If we choose this option, we will leave Ocáriz almost without time to say goodbye, leaving it behind us. A few meters ahead we will reach the beginning of the track that will lead us to our destination.
The landscape around us makes the already pleasant walk between these two neighbouring towns more enjoyable. On the horizon we can already see the silhouette of the church of Munain from where we set off. The perfect track leads us without major problems to the very doors of the town.
On our arrival in Munain (2h 00min) we will only have to cross the incipient Zadorra river to finish this Route of the Centenary Oaks.
The starting point of the route will determine the distance of the route.
What can slow down or decrease this figure the most is the state of the land and the time we spend enjoying the natural environment around us. If instead of returning to Munain from Ocáriz along the proposed route we take the track that joins the route at its start, we will have to add about 5 minutes more as this route is somewhat longer.
The route is perfectly acceptable in almost any period, although as it usually happens when we go into the woods, spring and autumn can give us their special colors. For the rest we do not have to forget that the route runs by the North slope of the mountain, reason why the humidity is more persistent.
Gaiters can be useful if we find the ground very muddy, we can also use walking sticks giving us some more support and security on this slippery surface. In the backpack we can't lack water and some food as well as protection from the sun, especially on hot days. The camera will surely have extra work to do as we encounter landscapes and places that will surely surprise us. Otherwise, we will have to adapt our clothes to the weather conditions and even in summer it is advisable to put on our boots in case we have to go through some muddy areas. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
The distance and the benevolent slope make this trekking route a pleasant one that for someone who is used to it should not involve any complications. If, on the contrary, we do not usually do too much exercise, it is interesting to give ourselves enough time to be able to take on the first half of the route with the sufficient calm required by the slope to be crossed.
Severity of the environment
To a great extent the route runs along tracks and paths where, except for specific moments, the mud will be the biggest problem we will find. The stretch of trail, in some areas somewhat steeper, is where we will find more difficulties, when we are forced to save some stream and deal, if the mud persists, with very slippery parts due to its slope. We will therefore have to be careful to avoid falls that, in addition to making us full of mud, will generate some injury.
Marked at all times by white and yellow marks that in a short stretch merge with the red marks of the GR, the route is relatively easy to follow except in the surroundings of the towns where the marks disappear and it is our intuition and common sense that should guide us, both to start the route and to finish it. The thick undergrowth in some areas of the trail will also force us to sharpen our eyes to find the posts that indicate the direction to follow, posts on the other hand quite frequent.
|30T 552632 4744011
|2-Rest area of the Oaks
|30T 554253 4742790
|30T 552478 4743070
|30T 552632 4744011
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 139-1, 139-2, 113-3 y 113-4, 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.
¿Did you know that...
According to reputable scientific studies, the forest is composed of just over 600 oaks over 500 years old, at least 20 over 800 years old and some over 1500 years old. More than 100 different species of animals, 200 fungi and 120 different lichens have also been catalogued.
Don't miss out...
The megalithic monuments in the vicinity of Salvatierra, such as the Sorginetxe dolmen or the Aizkomendi dolmen, declared to be of cultural interest by the Basque Government. Both are part of the abundant megalithic heritage that is preserved in the lands of Alava.
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 11-03-2017. 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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