Climbing the Spanish Grand Canyon

We were looking for a way to break up the long drive from Barcelona to Madrid, after searching for patches of green on google maps we found what appeared to be a national park North West of the capital city.

This turned out to be the national park Alto Tajo, where within we found one of the greatest surprises of our trip the Tagus river Gorge, Spains very own Grand Canyon. In the canyon we found an incredible hike up one side of the gorge known as the Barranco Virgen De La Hoz.

To get access to the start of the hike we had to drive deep into the Gorge, this subterranean world sees very little of the warm Spanish sun, so in November it was freezing.

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The beginning of the hike lay just beyond the restaurant Hospederia. This is where we started to climb, the path up was clearly marked and built with helpful steps and handrails.

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As we begun to climb it wasnโ€™t long before we rose above the thick fog that had swept through the Gorge. Once out into the bright morning sun we realised it was far too hot for our padded jackets, so we delayered and basked on a rocky outcrop for a good half an hour soaking up the late November rays.

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The hike could very easily be completed within 40 minutes but to do this would mean not taking in the incredible beauty of the valley, we stopped many times on our way up, not through exhaustion but to simply stare in wonder at the surrounding landscape.

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We reached the top after an hour, this included stops for taking in the scenery, snacking, photos and sunbathing!

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Having climbed a few hundred metres upwards but to now only be at ground level was an odd feeling, from this point we could look down on patches of thick cloud that still blanketed the gorge.

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After a short while we descended back down through the fog and into the chilly valley below, returning to the van after 2 hours in the gorge.

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