ARTE RUPESTRE

Enclave:

Route along the River Vero Canyon

  • Estimated time :3 h
  • Distance :5,38 km
  • Total Climb-descent :Climb: 394 m ;Descent: 369 m
  • Altitude :Maximum: 819 m ; Minimun: 625 m
  • Type :Circular
  • Difficulty :Average
  • Itinerary :Virtually the entire route is signposted
  • Track/road type :The entire route is followed on foot along paths in a good state of repair.

Mapa

INTERESTING FEATURES

River Vero Cultural Park, Guara Sierra and Canyons Natural Park, the River Vero Canyon, La Choca gulley, birds of prey, the Shrine of San Martín, the River Vero Vantage Point.

PREHISTORICH ARCHAELOGICAL SITES OF INTEREST

Rock shelters containing rock art on the Tozal de Mallata (schematic art, 5000-1500 BC).

DESCRIPTION

Shepherds, hunters and the residents of Lecina who went on pilgrimages to the Shrine of San Martín followed old and remote paths. By taking this route, we will head into the Lecina Gorge, following one of the most beautiful and spectacular paths in the River Vero Cultural Park that is also a path of great discovery, since it led in 1968 to the discovery of the first rock art paintings in northern Aragon. Nature at its wildest will be our companion as we travel back to prehistoric times through the paintings in the schematic style preserved on the Tozal de Mallata.

If you set out from Aínsa or Boltaña, you must head in the direction of Arcusa and take the A-2205 highway. Do not take the exit into the town of Lecina but carry on for a further 1.8 km till you come to the Lecina Spring car park.

Once you have parked your car, take the path that drops down to the River Vero. There are various flights of steps and handrails that will make the descent easier.

In just five minutes, you come to the station where the flow of the river is measured all year round. Once you have crossed the concrete walkway, you come to a wooden sign. The left arrow points to the "Molino" (Mill) while the right arrow points to the "Fuente" (Spring). Before you enter the canyon, it is worth walking upriver for some 100 m to visit the Lecina Spring, an outlet for the underground water from the nearby mountain ranges such as the Sevil chain.

Head back to the flow-measuring station and take the path that makes its way up the right bank of the river towards the "Molino". You will gradually gain altitude and be able to enjoy a beautiful view of the first stretch of the canyon. The climb ends at a crossroads between paths that is well signposted. We will take the path to the left in the direction of the "Ermita de San Martín de la Choca" (Shrine of San Martín de la Choca). We now begin to descend towards the bottom of the gulley.

Twenty minutes after we set out, we come to Lecina Mill, now in ruins. The route continues amid ancient cropland. An arrow points our way up to the right, taking us past an old masonry construction protected by a rocky overhang. When you emerge at the top, you will see a new breathtaking view of the Vero Canyon.

You drop down again to the riverbed. This is the first time you need to cross the river and to do so it is a good idea to wear light footwear and use walking sticks that will improve your stability and safety. Continue along the left bank till you come to another point where you must wade back across. Once on the other side, you can visit the mouth of the Basender gulley, which is just a few metres from the path.

Go back to the path and continue along the right bank of the river. Every step reveals surprising spots in this pre-Pyrenean canyon. A large number of rock shelters around us contain rock art done by the first agriculturalists and pastoralists who settled in the area during the Neolithic Period. Gallinero, Lecina Superior, Huerto Raso and Escaleretas are just some of them.

You must cross the river again. You will then come to the path to the right that leads to the Shrine of San Martín, situated below the rock shelter of a natural cavity at the confluence of the La Choca gulley and the canyon of the River Vero.

After a well-deserved rest in this lovely spot, where the residents make a pilgrimage each year, continue along the path till you rejoin the track you were on before. Carry on along the right bank of the Vero in the direction of the flow of water. When you come to the river, you will need to cross it again, on this occasion for the last time. Once on the far side, walk 50 m till you come to a path that heads off to the left. Even though it is not signposted, it is easily identifiable because if you did not take it, you would have to cross the river again.

The path now begins to climb up inside an overgrown gulley that skirts the south side of the Tozal de Mallata. At the top, you come out into abandoned cropland and to a fork in the path. Take the fork to the left. A few metres further on, turn to the left till you come to a track and continue heading north.

Just 50 m further on, you come to the start of the path that leads to the Tozal de Mallata rock shelters. After another five minutes, you reach the first of the rock shelters, which some metal stairs will take you up to. We will now go on to visit the second of the rock shelters. To do so, cross a small metal walkway, follow a small path heading west and go down two flights of metal stairs, all the while enjoying some of the finest panoramic views of the River Vero Canyon and the La Choca gulley. Particularly spectacular views are to be had from the Mallata Vantage Point, which is perfectly marked out and has protective ropes. If you look carefully, you will be able to make out the Shrine of San Martín.

Once you have visited the rock shelters, make your way back to the junction where you turned off. Continue along the track to the "Punto de encuentro con el guía del arte rupestre" (Rock Art Guide Meeting Point), which is clearly signposted and has information concerning the tours. A sign points the way we must go, in the direction of the "Parking del Barranco de Portiacha" (Portiacha Gulley Car Park). A swift and easy descent brings you to a large car park. Here you will find information panels concerning the rock art tours. The path that leads to the Vero Vantage Point also starts here. Once again, the views of the Vero Canyon are breathtaking from this spot.

To return to the Lecina Spring car park, take a path that heads north, marked by two piles of stones, and drop down to the floor of the Argatín gulley. Walk for some 10 m along the bed in the direction of the flow of water and then rejoin the path that will take you back to the Lecina Spring flow-measuring station. All you have to do now is climb up the path that leads to the starting point of the route.

RECOMMENDATIONS

You must take drinking water with you and wear walking boots. To wade across the river with greater ease and comfort, you are advised to take other shoes and use walking sticks.