Incles Valley

Vall d’incles

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The Incles Valley is one of the many superb natural sites Andorra has to offer visitors. It is located between the towns of Tarter and Canillo, and its characteristic U shape is what tells us it was formed by a glacier. Open at the end, the valley offers an intimate experience of the beauty of the subalpine landscape, which turns alpine as you go farther in. Always amidst rich flora and fauna, visitors are accompanied by pasture lands and a host of dispersed cottages as they make their way to the valley floor. The valley offers something to discover all year round. The best time to visit is around June, once the snow has disappeared, although this is not the only good time. Springtime allows visitors to witness nature's awakening, while summer reveals the landscape, flora and fauna in all their splendour. Autumn is the time of changing colours that transform meadows and forests into a stunning spectacle of shades and natural beauty, until the rawness of the winter weather is felt and the valley becomes covered in snow. 

In order to preserve its tranquillity, the Incles Valley is closed off to vehicles during summertime, the time of year when it receives the most visitors.  An electric golf buggy that runs to the valley floor is available to visitors from the middle of June until the beginning of September (before the Meritxell festival on 8 September), from 9 am to 6 pm, without interruption. Tickets can be purchased from the information booth at the side of the car park.

The Incles Valley is the departure point for various iconic routes through our mountains, such as Cabana Sorda shelter and lake; the Juclà shelter and lakes, including the largest lake in Andorra; Siscaró shelter and lake; the Incles Pass (2,260 metres above sea level, at the French border) and the Roc de l’home dret trail. To take in the beauty of the Incles Valley in all its glory, why not explore it on foot along the Camí de l’Obac, a shaded trail that runs along the forest and the river. A 2.6-km route that runs to the valley floor, the trail has a low level of difficulty that makes it ideal for walking it with children, and it will allow you to feel, see and hear the flora and fauna that make it a unique site. If you want to learn about the other trails in the valley as well, a good way to do so as a family or with friends is by playing with 'Look for them'. You'll discover the routes outlined above, get a certificate and you can even enter a draw for different prizes. To take part, just pick up a guide from the information office at the entrance to the valley or the office in Canillo, and get walking! 

Depending on the time of year, and with a bit of patience and luck, on the routes in the Incles Valley leading to the high mountains, you'll be able to see species of large birds of prey such as the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture and the golden eagle. And around the lakes and rivers, you might see different species of newts, marmots (in Siscaró) or red frogs. If you pay close attention, you might also see squirrels and deer, common Pyrenean species, as well as birds such as finches and wrens, the smallest bird in Europe (in the black pine forests). At the Incles Pass (2,261 metres above sea level), besides birds of prey, another avian attraction is the migration of passerine birds like the common chaffinch, the European greenfinch, the Eurasian siskin and wood pigeons, among others (August and September).

Another natural point of interest are the plant species of the Incles Valley, which include a wide diversity of flowers in the meadows and understorey that change depending on the slope where they are found and as you gain altitude. One important flower is the poet's daffodil (Narcissus poeticus), the national flower of Andorra, while others include lily of the valley and gentians. There are also shrubs such as broom and rhododendron, as well as black pine and fir forests.

The Incles Valley is an incredibly rich ecosystem accessible to anyone who wishes to visit and enjoy it peacefully and safely, always giving the mountain the due respect and care it deserves, because natural heritage is a treasure we must all work to protect.

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