This is a superb opportunity for intermediate and experienced riders to explore the Northern and Southern valleys of the Gredos mountains. This is excellent terrain for riding, mostly open fields with magnificent views and paths that follow the course of rivers. The small villages along the trail display the architecture, traditions and way of life of the people who, isolated in this remote place, have had their characters shaped by their unique surroundings.
The Sierra de Gredos mountain range, situated south west of Madrid, features a large area with Regional Park Status. The surrounding region comprises of the provinces of Avila, Toledo and Cáceres, in the regions of Castilla-León, Castilla La Mancha and Extremadura. Trails in the Gredos Valley take you through a very characteristic part of Avila, truly rural Spain, and this medieval town is surrounded by walls constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was and still is a very religious place, with a grand gothic cathedral, charming squares and beautiful, quiet streets which are very pleasant for walking around the historic town.
Originally, only shepherds moving their flocks had reached the remote alpine valleys of this mountain range. It wasn't until 1905 that the Sierra de Gredos became an area of interest when King Alphonso XIII created the Gredos hunting reserve in an attempt to protect the wild Spanish Ibex, of which only a few were left. Today the Gredos mountains have one of the largest remaining populations of this goat and it is thanks to Alphonso XII that there are now byways in place to reach the highest peaks of the Gredos, its glaciers and its lagoon (Laguna Grande). Roman roads can also be seen here as although they did not settle in the Gredos, they created mountain passes for the movement of troops.
As riders explore this fascinating part of Spain, they will be impressed by the diverse display of flora and fauna through the Tormes, Corneja, Alberche and Tietar river valleys. The landscapes here are full of light and colour, where wild nature shows its splendour. There are opportunities to ride up slopes of oak, pine and chestnut trees, cross rivers of pristine waters, discover wildlife from rocky overlooks and gallop across pastures and open fields. The climate here is influenced by the altitude at which you are riding and summers can be very warm and sunny, with autumns somewhat cooler. Spring rides are spectacular with millions of wild flowers and snow in the mountains from May until early June.
Maria, the host of this ride, has been arranging trails in Gredos Valley for a number of years. She is at home with the customs, natural history and culture of the region and this makes her a wonderful travel companion throughout the holiday.