Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park
Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park is an IUCN Category II National Park situated the region of Huesca in the Argonese Pyrenees. Established in 1918 and enlarged in 1982 it now covers an area of 156.08 km² and is a cracking location for some top-quality hiking and climbing.
At 400 km from CCD it's a little too far for a day out with children and we suggest booking some accommodation for a couple of nights. We stayed in a http://www.elultimobucardo.com a mountain hostal situated in Linás de Broto near to the park. We had a family room, 1 double and 2 singles with private bathroom for and bed and breakfast and substantial evening meal for about €100 per night (2020 prices). The staff were friendly and helpful, the home-cooked food was plentiful and tasty and we would definitely recommend staying there. With 2 small children, the staff couldn't have been kinder.
The entrance to the national park is from a small village called Torla where you will find ample free parking and the Bus (Centro Visitantes Sector Ordesa); there are no cars permitted in the park itself. We would suggest buying your tickets when you arrive and jump straight to the front of the queue the next morning for your ride up to the park entrance. It's a short and "interesting" coach ride along bumpy narrow mountain roads and hairpin bends. Every now and then you'll meet a coach coming the other way.... As I said, an interesting ride.....
Once at the coach stop and entrance to the valley, there is an information office and more importantly for on the way back, a bar. Take your mobile phone and QR scanner App as all the routes are downloadable.
The hike consists of 6 km of climb through beach and pine forests following the course of the river Arasas and then a 3 km walk along an open glaciated U-shaped valley to the waterfall at Cola de Caballo. From there you can continue up (not for the faint-hearted) to the Refugio de Goriz for some even more stunning views. The round trip comes in at about 22km. As always, although the route is well marked and threre are emergency shelters along the way, this is the high Pyrenees and you should dress accordingly, take a minimum of emergency equipment and plan to hike on a solid weather forecast.
Bring a hat, sun cream, spare clothes and a picnic. Swimming is not allowed in any of the parks rivers or lakes, but you can book tours and go canyoning with professional guides with prior notice.
The next day, we decided to go for a short circular walk on the other side of the park in the Cañón de Añisclo.
The shortest route is about an hour and well worth the "adventurous" drive up there. We had the company of this little chap for some of the way... He seemed quite freindly and didn't seem to mind us tagging along.