From Núria to Queralbs through pasture fields and old mining roads. Route 20 Ripollès

Region
  • Ripollès
Towns
  • Queralbs
Difficulty
  • High
Time
  • 5h 45min
Distance
  • 16km
Hide elevation maximum
  • 2.156m
Hide elevation minimum
  • 1.202m
Ascent
  • 267m
Descent
  • 1027m

The route begins in the valley of Núria. From its Sanctuary head towards the lake going along its right bank and passing by the chapel of “Sant Gil”. Once you arrive at the R113 sign Creu d'en Riba turn to your right towards Queralbs through Fontalba and “Collet de les Barraques”. From here the zigzag path steeply climbs up to afterwards get flatter above the valley. You will pass along the “Coma de les Perdius” and “Coma de Gombrèn”, where you will see the remains of old shepherd's huts.

After a short climb you will leave Núria´s valley behind to enter into Fontalba's valley. You are now on the hillside of the Puigmal peak, and the path goes along its width glacial valley while crossing the Puigmal stream. All over the hillside you can see many water springs. Once ont he other side of the valley and after crossing the stream, the path climbs gently towards “Collada de Fontalba”. Shortly before the car park, the path turns uphill to your right taking you above the river Freser valley. From this point the views are jaw-dropping, towards the East, the twin Torreneules peaks and Balandrau peak dominate the Freser's gorges. Towards the South, “Serra Cavallera” range, the Taga peak, “Sant Amand” and the “Serra d'Estremera” range.

The path gently starts going downhill while surrounding the southern slopes of “Puig de la Dou” mountain. In summer it is usual to find livestock in this area. You must be careful and follow the yellow and white marks as there are many different livestock paths in the area. You have to cross the “Collet d'Estevenís” pass, then pass by the Mantegosa hut and finally descend rapidly to the Estremera stream. Cross the stream by a wooden lever and you will arrive at the “Font de l'Home Mort” spring.

On the other side of the stream you will see the end of a track. Leave the marked trail for a while and follow the track downhill for 1,800 meters until arriving at the signs of the Saragossa mine. This iron and arsenic mine is the highest in the area. To carry downhill the minings a pair of aerial cables were installed and a four and a half kilometres wagons road was built. From here, the route mostly follows the same path that followed the extracted ore in the old busy days.

Leave the track to rapidly descend towards the bottom of the valley following a windy little path. Cross the stream by a metal bridge and on the other side you will arrive at the end of the wagons road that coincided with the lower station of the aerial cable. Follow the wagons road gradually narrowing abovethe valley. Little by little the valley opens up and the path widens. Just before crossing a stream by a bridge you will see the red and whitemarks of the GR (a GR is a long distance hike).

You have to follow the marks until Queralbs. The track keeps descending and while taking some shortcuts you will soon enter Queralbs passing by its Romanesque church of Sant Jaume de Queralbs, R115 sign. Go down by the church street passing by the main square and finally following Pla street you will arrive at the Plaça del Raig, R114 sign, the end of the route. You can optionally return to Núria with the rack railway from Queralbs.