The Sierra de Gredos are a mountain range in central Spain which spans the provinces of Avila, Salamanca, Caceres, Madrid and Toledo. It's highest point is Pico Almanzor at 2,592m and it has five river valleys - Alto Tormes, Alto Alberche, Tietar Oriental, Tietar Occidental and Valle del Ambroz. The Gredos mountains are a stunning natural landscape, with lagoons, gorges, crags and cliffs. The terrain varies enormously as the different facing slopes are home to many species and you'll ride through pine forests, holm oak woodlands, open pastures and clusters of broom. There are medieval villages dotted through the mountains, with Roman bridges and 12th century castles to explore.
These beautiful mountains were the birthplace of your hosts on these trails. Emilio was born in El Barco de Avila and is the grandson of one of the most important Avilan cattlemen in the area. He is a knowledgeable guide and horseman and personally guides every trail. His wife, Mamen, was born in Bohoyo, and assists on all the trails, helping with transfers and the special picnic lunches you'll enjoy each day.
Their horses are home-bred and are well-loved. Mainly Andalucian and some cross-breeds, they live together in a herd with plenty of freedom - roaming through 500ha of pine forests on the Gredos Mountains. The same horses and guides also offer our Extremadura rides and split their year between the two areas.
The mountainous terrain dictates the pace of the rides, with trots and canters possible across the open areas, but walking required for the steep and rocky sections. You'll usually ride for c. 4 hours in the morning and then a further 2 hours in the afternoon, with a chance to relax in the countryside during lunchtimes.
There are a number of different itineraries to choose from in the Gredos Mountains. The Castles of Gredos is a progressive trail in a westerly direction, following the Tormes river valley; whilst the Four Valleys ride heads in a southerly and easterly direction, where the mountains are higher and the pace slower. The Gredos to Salamanca trail crosses from the Avila province into the Salamanca province, and the horses return by vehicle. The Crystalline Waters itinerary is centre-based with one overnight on a trail, so you can unpack and relax, returning to your hotel each night.