This tour will take us through one of the most spectacular spots in Catalonia: Montrebei. We will ride through this sheer canyon along a man-made pass carved out of the rock. Naturally formed and shaped by the Noguera Ribagorçana river, the canyon splits the Montsec mountain range in two. We will ride right through the middle of about a thousand metres of vertical rock walls, sharing the area with climbers and birds of prey.
The river is flanked by imposing rock walls – the Catalonia wall on one side, and the Aragon wall on the other. We will also be able to enjoy a number of fortified buildings, watchtowers, churches and chapels perched high up in the mountains, strategically located at the entrance to the canyons where Christian kingdoms defended their positions against the Saracens.
The Montsec mountain range has one of the clearest and least polluted skies in Catalonia, which explains why the Centre d´Observació de l´Univers del Montsec (Montsec Centre for Observation of the Universe), which we will also be able to visit, is located here.
We will also be able to enjoy a kayak trip through the canyon, a unique experience which becomes a magical one if there is enough moonlight to do the excursion at night.
Routes include the route pass:
OPTIONS AND PRICES:
Difficulty level: High
We set off from the centre of Àger towards the Montsec d’Ares massif. An initially light climb becomes gradually more challenging until we reach the summit at 1,500m. Here, we turn off to the right to take the path leading to Sant Alís castle at km 17.8. This is the highest point of the route (1,657m), with spectacular views of the Pyrenees and the Àger valley.
We turn back along the same path and, on reaching the summit again, we turn right to begin a rapid descent on a paved track to Alsamora at km 31.09. We continue to descend until we reach the Canelles reservoir, where we take the path to the Montrebei Canyon. Having crossed the iron bridge at km 38.3, the gateway to the canyon, we will be able to enjoy the approximately 1.5 km of track carved out of the rock and this unique, vertiginous landscape. After leaving the Canyon, the track becomes narrow and rocky, making the ride to Corçà (km 47.74) slow and somewhat heavy going; however, the views help make this stretch less of an ordeal.
Before arriving at the village of Corçà, we come across the 11th century Mare de Déu de la Pertusa church. From here we make the final descent back to the village of Àger, at km 55.5.
DATA BTT ROUTE
An easy excursion where we set our own limits.
We set off from El Pinell, beneath the silhouettes of Nostra Senyora del Congost, a 13th century Romanesque church, and the circular defence tower from the 11th century, a reminder that this was once frontier land.
Heading south, we will cross the Massana ravine and its hanging bridge and enter the canyon, where the landscape invites us to row in silence, listening to the murmur of the wind and water.
The excursion is adapted to the physical fitness of the group: we will either begin the return journey at this point, or carry on as far as the chapels of La Perusa and Santa Quitèria de Montfalcó.
Whether you are a keen stargazer or simply curious to observe the universe, this is an unmissable visit.
The Centre d’Observació de l’Univers (Centre for Observation of the Universe) is located in the municipality of Àger. This is a large recreational facility with different sites which aims to become the leading centre for the teaching and promotion of astronomy and geology in Catalonia. The COU serves as a link between the general public and scientific knowledge, giving visitors an insight into the fascinating world of science and the environment of Montsec. The centre takes advantage of the unique characteristics of the sky in this area for observing the universe in a setting that allows us to learn about the Earth’s evolution through the geology of the mountain range.
The COU has three main areas:
This houses the reception and administration area, the permanent exhibition, workshop classrooms, the computer room and other amenities.
THE MONTSEC EYE
This facility is unique in Spain, being both a multi-media digital planetarium and a platform for direct observation of the sky. Its 12-metre diameter dome and the front wall are completely retractable, allowing visitors spectacular views of the Montsec sky.
THE TELESCOPE PARK
This area is reserved for observation of the firmament, both at night and during the day. The Park comprises two buildings with observation domes which contain two automatic telescopes, a coelostat for solar observation and a set of portable telescopes.
For the route we have chosen a selection of charming small hotels whose family welcome guarantee rest and comfort for the cyclists. All the hotels have lock-ups for the bicycles.
2 km away from Ager and surronded by nature, we find a rural hotel. Here we will enjoy a peaceful environment, close relationships and exquisite home made gourmet cooking.
In this accommodation we will set up the basis to carry on our activities. The hotel will be the starting point of the bicycle route, our vehicles will pick us up to take us to the dam to canoe and to visit the astronomical observatory, only 1km away, where we will discover the stars.