Recreation Trail: Vall de Madriu long-distance route

RECREATION TRAIL: CIRCUIT LLARGA DISTÀNCIA VALL DEL MADRIU

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Level

Very difficult

Distance

33 km

Between the 18 and 19 km mark, there is a short technical section along a crest, which without being difficult, requires that we take care and use our hands.

We start the route in front of the Escaldes-Engordany Tourist Office, heading up the road until we reach the GR, which takes us into the Madriu Valley, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004. Without leaving the GR, and gradually making our way up the stone path, we pass through Bordes d'Entremesaigües and Bordes de Ramio, examples of the historic livestock farming carried out by the inhabitants of the valley. We pass two free shelters, Fontverd and Riu dels Orris, and it is from the second that we commence the final section to reach Refugi de l’Illa, a manned shelter.

From the shelter we quickly reach Port de Vallcivera, leaving behind Estany de l'Illa. At this pass, on Catalan-Andorran border, we leave the GR and turn off to the right, following the track along a section with no defined path, but we will clearly see a small hill which will allow us to reach Tosseta de Vallcivera (2848m). We descend Coll de la Portelleta to quickly ascend to the highest point of the route, la Tossa Plana de Lles (2916m).

We reach Pic de Setut along a wide crest, where we begin the trickiest part of the route. From the small hill to the side of the peak we begin our descent along a scree, to later go around it to reach Port de Setut. To reach it we will find two paths where we will need the help of our hands, and once through, we will ascend Collada Fonda and Tossal Bovinar, reaching them from the right-hand side of the scree. From this point we gently go up to Pic dels Estanyons (2834m), the highest peak of the route, and from where, along an open and very evident grassland, we drop down to Refugi dels Estanys de la Pera, a shelter that is manned during the summer months and at weekends.

At this shelter we retake the GR, and heading upwards it takes us to Port de Perafita, where we once again enter Andorra through Vall de Perafita. Without leaving the GR, it will bring us to Pot d'Entremesaigües in Vall de Madriu after leaving Refugi de Perafita behind.

From the bridge, all that remains is the initial section of the route, which quickly and without difficulty takes us back to the starting point.

WATER:  Escaldes Engordany, Refugi de Fontverd km 5, Refugi de l'Illa km 13, Refugi dels Estanys de la Pera km 22, Refugi de Perafita km 27, Font d'Entremesaigües km 30. There are rivers and ponds to cool off in along the route, except along the crest.

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