Steep landscapes, lakes, flora, fauna and high mountain stockbreeding await you in the heart the High Pyrenees Natural Park at the foot of the roof of Catalonia.
The Pla de Boet is an obligatory stop if you want to taste the essence of the park. It is a unique landscape of pastures and sinuous waters surrounded by high mountains, waterfalls and centenarian woods.
The Pica d’Estats (3,143 m), the roof of Catalonia and a place of pilgrimage for many hikers, is without doubt the most emblematic and symbolic element of the High Pyrenees Natural Park. Around it you will find the rest of the peaks of over 3,000 metres in the Park: Sotllo, Pic Verdaguer, Punta Gabarró and Rodó de Canalbona.
Water, another living element in the park, gushes out everywhere you look during the warm months, feeding hidden lakes (estanys) and marshes, spectacular flower-covered meadows and enigmatic woods.
From Port de Boet you can relive the trade that was the traditional livelihood of the residents of the Ferrera Valley and Ariège, and the excursion to the Baiau lakes will delight you with its views of the impressive Baiau glacial cirque.
BEAR IN MIND
• Summer and autumn are the best times to visit this area. In spring and winter the snow tends to limit access to the forest tracks.
• Respect the signposting and only drive on the unregulated forest tracks. Remember that you need an off-road vehicle. If you do not have one, 4x4 taxis are available for hire.
• Camping outside controlled areas is not allowed. You can only overnight between 8 pm and 8 am; no tents can remain set up outside these times.
• You must remove all your own rubbish and leave the area exactly as you found it.
• The Pica d’Estats, the highest mountain in Catalonia and the mecca of Pyreneeism. Reaching its summit and having your photo taken next to its giant cross is one of the most important challenges for the many hikers who visit the park. The rest of the visitors can admire it at a distance from the panoramic lookout point that is easily reached from the Aixeus car park.
• Glacial geomorphology. Over thousands of years’ snow and ice have carved these valleys into their present-day relief, forming imposing glacial cirques such as those of Baiau and Aixeus, and deep, high-mountain lakes such as those of Baborte, Sotllo, Areste, Baiau and Aixeus.
• The wide biodiversity of environments fills this area with the typical Pyrenean high-mountain flora and fauna.
• The Pla de Boet is an area of stunning scenery with springs, waterfalls and sinuous water courses that feed productive pastures. You can discover it on a short circular itinerary.
• The water that flows in abundance through the valley, whether in the form of large rivers, such as the Noguera de Vall Ferrera, wild gullies, such as those of Baborte and Sotllo, or shallow waters, such as the marshes of Pla de Boet, Arcalís and Lo Mercat.
• The spruce woods that line the River Noguera in the Ferrera Valley and the area around Pla de la Selva, with its monumental spruce tree and the lair of the last native bear in Catalonia, will not disappoint you either. An extensive signposted footpath network covers this whole area and will bring you into contact with its heritage and its people.
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