Experience riding beautifully schooled Arab and X horses through an isolated, and almost deserted mountain range on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. Rising from the plains of Huesca, these dry karst mountains are split north to south by rivers which create spectacular canyons and gorges.
The horseback trail riding is thrilling, with steep descents down the side of canyons, to exhilarating gallops along open tracks, covering from 35 - 45km each day. The contrasting landscape of snowy mountains in the north, and lush pastures, olive groves on the slopes, and the deserted plateau in the south is remarkable. This holiday is for confident, fit horseback riders.
Guests will discover the hidden secrets of the Pyrenees; griffon vulture colonies, historic castles, and drovers tracks leading to abandoned stone villages. Prepare for a week of unforgettable horseback riding on superbly trained horses.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from JM of Crowborough on 25/08/2023
Meet at Zaragoza airport at 5.30pm and transfer to the host's base in a small village. Over a welcome meal, there will be a briefing about the horses and the upcoming trail. Dinner and accommodation at a local guesthouse.
Allocation of the horses followed by an introductory ride from Nocito. The trail uses mule paths to travel to San Urbez and the Pardina Bail. Rider's climb to the crests of the Sierra d’Aineto as far as the uninhabited villages of Abellada and Azpe. Accommodation back at the guesthouse. Today's ride will be approximately 5h 30mins.
Ride southward through the long valley of the Guatizalema to the viewpoint of Santa Eulalia la Mayor and down through the plain to Arbanies. Accommodation at a bed and breakfast (6hr 30 mins ride)
Explore the foot of the southern slopes and visit the San Cosme Monastery, and the Fabana hermitage before riding down to Panzano to spend the night in accommodation at the village inn (6 hours)
Ride south through a colourful labyrinth of hills and rivers with clear waters toward the medieval village of Alquezar. There is the chance for long canters near Alberuela de la Liena. Accomodation at the Alquezar hotel (or similar) (4 hour ride). There is an end of afternoon chance to visit a nearby medieval village.
Ride to the heart of the canyons through the Fuente Tamara, along the canyon of La Peonera, and the Barranco de Trensus before reaching Rodellar, across the valley of Pedruel. Accomodation at a bed-and-breakfast following a 6 hour ride.
Amazing ride at the foot and the slopes of the famous canyon of Mascun, with its outstanding set of stone cathedrals. Head for Nocito through the plateau of Otin and the valley of Bara. Accomodation at La Mallata (or similar) (3.5 - 4.5hr ride)
After breakfast, departure and transfer to Zaragoza airport.
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
The horses are a mixture of Spanish Arabs and Arabs which are bred in the Sierra's and are therefore very well suited to the terrain. There are around 30 horses in the herd ranging from 15hh to 16.1hh. The tack is English style with fitted saddlebags for personal belongings and the all important picnic! There is an emphasis on natural horsemanship and working with one's horse as a partner. The pace is fast (where possible) and long distances are covered each day (up to t6hrs in the saddle). It is necessary to dismount and walk next to your horse for some steep and rough areas, so bring comfortable boots suitable for walking and scrambling. This ride is a real challenge with the untold delights of discovering a totally remote and isolated area in Europe.
The host is experienced as a hiking and riding guide in the canyons, as well as a guard in the Natural Park. The focus here is on natural horsemanship; developing a privileged relationship with one's horse, which is based on the observation of - and compliance with - the social rules of the herd. By becoming integrated in the group hierarchy, riders will work to replace submissiveness and stress with respect, trust and sharing. Here, no bits, no spurs and no crops are used. Everything is done in order to make the life of both horses and riders as comfortable as possible.
Riders must be able to walk, trot and canter confidently and mount and dismount unaided. It is also helpful to be physically fit for the 3.5 - 4.5h hours a day riding and be prepared to dismount and walk your horse through rough terrain.
The weight limit for this ride is 220 lb/100 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
There is a mixture of small village hotels with en-suite bathrooms, and rural guesthouses with shared facilities. The food is traditional Aragon county fare of both excellent quality and quantity in the evening meals and elaborate picnic lunches.
Stay at the host's base for the first two nights and the last night of the trail. This is in a small, picturesque village with double or twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms. WiFi available for your use. There are no hairdryers. For the other nights, riders will be staying in twin or double rooms in local village guesthouses. The accommodation on nights 4 & 5 includes a swimming pool so don't forget to pack swimwear. There is also the option of swimming in natural pools throughout the trail if the weather is warm enough.
Breakfast: Expect a continental breakfast with juice, yogurt, muesli, cheese, ham and fruit.
Lunch: A picnic taken in the saddle bags. These will be varied and include a different salad each day, different cheeses, assorted delicatessent items, can of different fish, fruit, wine and water. The guide will always try to find pleasant places for the lunchtime picnic, close to a natural pool, a good spring or with a good view and shade At lunchtime, the horses are unsaddled to let them roll and eat. The lunch stop is usually about 2 hours which leaves time for a short siesta. Diners are enjoyed in local village restaurants that serve traditional aragon dishes with a local wine, known as Somomtano.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.
NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures
Passport and Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.
Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.
In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain
In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html
In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/spain
Spring and autumn is generally a good time to visit. The climate is very changeable in the mountains with unpredictable changes from hot and dry to sudden cold showers. You may well experience a 20 degree Celsius change in temperature over 24 hours.
COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.
You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.
Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Spain and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.
No specific health requirements, just bring plenty of sunscreen!
In Spain the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly
Electricity is available on all nights for charging camera/batteries. There is also wifi available at the evening accommodation. If you want to bring a GoPro please be advised that you will have to have permission from all other guests and guides that they are willing to be filmed.
-a pair of short riding/ walking boots (you will need to walk next to your horse over rough terrain on this ride)
-sunglasses with string
-2 pairs of riding trousers
-half chaps are recommended
-warm jacket (depending on time of year)
-long trousers (evenings)
-long sleeve shirts
-waterproofs (that work)
-a smaller soft bag might be useful to take on the trail (when not staying at your hosts base)
This is a 8 day/7 night point-to-point trail on set dates between May and October.
2024: 21 Apr; 12 May; 02, 16 Jun; 1 (FULL), 15 Sept; 6 Oct.
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This ride in the Natural Park of the Canyons and Sierra de Guara, so in a large wild area where there is a lot of wild boars, roe deer, badgers, foxes, etc.. you may see some time during the day but usually they move more at night, But during the day, you are likely to see a large variety of birds of prey -golden eagle- short toes eagle- hawks- etc.. and one of the best concentrations of Europe of necrophage birds - griffon vultures - lammergeier- Egyptian vultures- etc. The entire park area is famous for birds watchers.
Spain is a beautiful and diverse country, the second largest in Europe. The official language is Castilian Spanish but Catalan, Galician and Basque are also spoken. Territory includes two island archipelagos – the Balearics and the Canaries – and two enclaves on the North African coast, bordering Morocco – Ceuta and Melilla. The African influence can be found throughout Spain but especially in the south, for example the guitar was invented by the Spanish when they added a sixth string to the Arab lute. Music and art permeates Spanish culture, most obviously displayed in the fire and passion of the Flamenco and the stunning modern architecture found in the cities.
The famous siesta is still enjoyed by the majority of Spaniards, most shops close at lunchtime for two or three hours so everyone can escape the often scorching afternoon sun. Evening meals are served late into the evening with plenty of wine or sangria. Often meals can last two or three hours, especially if your host is serving Tapas, small and varied dishes of meats, bread, vegetables. Paella is also a delight and very popular across the country.
Spain is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for Spain is +34.