Rio Vero Canyon excursion. June 29 2019.
This excursion is planned for the Rio Vero Canyon, one of the most spectacular canyons of the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park. The Park, located 40 km north of the city of Huesca, covers 47453 Ha and is the largest natural area of the Aragón community. Its orography ranges between 430m at the bottom of the Alcanadre River gorge up to 2077m at its highest Tozal de Guara peak. Canyoning consists of descending a canyon using a variety of techniques such as walking, jumping, diving, rappelling and swimming. The Rio Vero canyon is cut into limestones and sandstones, forming narrow gorges with numerous drops, beautifully sculpted walls, and stunning outcroppings of rocks, siphons and pools.
The walk will start in the picturesque village of Alquezar (Fig. 1). The entrance and exit to the Rio Vero Canyon feature exceptional landscape views and impressive geological formations (Fig.2). More than 60 species of plants can be observed in the canyon walls, some of them emblematic rock-dwelling endemic plants such as Petrocoptis guarensis, Saxifraga longifolia (Fig.3) and Ramonda myconi, and other Mediterranean plants such as the kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), common and savin junipers (Juniperus communis and Juniperus phoenicea) or the boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), as well as grasses of genera Brachypodium, Koeleria and Avenula, among others. Also, fascinating birds can be seen in the canyon, such as the griffon vulture, the Egyptian vulture, the kites and the lammergeyer, species which have a highest threat in the world and are cataloged as “at risk of extinction” in Europe (Fig. 4).
Figure 1. The Alquezar village, starting and ending point of the Rio Vero canyoning excursion.
Figure 2. The Rio Vero canyon, located in the Natural Park of Sierra de Guara.
Figure 3. The endemic plant Saxifraga longifolia blossoming in a wall of the Rio Vero canyon.
Figure 4. The lammergeyer(Gypaetus barbatus) flying over the Rio Vero canyon.
The route inside the Canyon is a mixture of 6 km of walks, swims and jumps along the river (Figs. 5 and 6). We will find four outcroppings of rocks (accumulation of large blocks forming holes, waterfalls, slides, siphons and caves). The first outcropping, the “Oscuros del Vero”, is one of the most photographed corners of the Huesca province. It is called the “Darkness” because in summer the sun’s rays enter for only an hour a day. The second outcropping, “La gran Visera”, is a young formation of small dimensions. Above it we find the highest wall of the Vero Canyon, the Tozal de Mallata, a vertical cliff of 275m. The third outcropping is the most sporting, including siphons, waterfalls, caves and natural rock bridges. At its entrance we will find a small gallery where waterfalls enter everywhere and make this place special. The fourth outcropping is the largest one, with blocks forming an immense labyrinth. There are alternative options for those who do not want to jump or siphon down. After our tour in the canyon, we will return to the Alquezar village, admiring the beautiful views of the Rio Vero Canyon. People will be equipped with wetsuits, helmets and a backpack. It is not mandatory to rappel. Each group (8-10 people) will always be accompanied by a qualified guide with several years of experience, which ensures a risk-free activity.
Figure 5. Waterfalls, caves, siphons and pools of the Rio Vero Canyon.
Figure 6. Sketch of the Rio Vero Canyon route (Salamero E. 2009. Guia de Barrancos de la Sierra de Guara “Sierras de Piedra y Agua”. Camping Mascún editores. Huesca, España).
Maximum number of people who can sign up for the excursion.
48 people. Groups will be composed of 8-10 people each. Each group will descend the canyon accompanied by a guide of the Atuel Aventura enterprise (http://www.atuelaventura.com/).
- 7:45 Departure from Huesca
- 8:45. Reception of the group in Bierge village. Basic information. Insurance Equipment.
- 9:30. Departure to Alquezar village.
- 10:00. Starting the hike to the ravine.
- 11:00. Starting the descent of the Canyon.
- 13:00. Lunch in the ravine.
- 17:00. Ending the descent of the Canyon.
- 18:00. Return to Alquezar village. Material delivery.
- 18:30. Return to Huesca.
- 19:30. Arrival in Huesca.
Physical conditions required
- Maximum age: 65 years.
- Maximum weight: 100 Kg.
- Fitness level: medium / low
- People with heart problems and / or prosthesis in hips, legs and / or arms should refrain from this excursion.
- No experience in canyoning is needed
The company (Atuel Aventura enterprise) has the required insurances by the Spanish Government of Aragón for Active tourism companies; it includes accident insurance during the activity and liability insurance. The insurance only covers the canyoning activity in the ravine. Travel insurance is included in the coach displacement Huesca-Alquezar-Huesca.
- Each person has to bring for the activity the following items:
- Shorts or tights, shirt, swimming suit, sport shoes in good condition, socks, towels, sunscreen. Optional: sunglasses and cap.
- The company provides the neoprene suit, the helmet and the canyon backpack with a waterproof drum. The organization will provide the picnic lunch.
- More pictures of the Rio Vero Canyon athttp://www.atuelaventura.com/
- If you have any question please contact the organizer of the excursion, Dr. Ernesto Perez (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Price of the excursion
70 € per person (Insurances, material and guides, picnic lunch, VAT included).