From Sort to Gerri de la Sal by Estac, Mencui and Peramea


Route record

  • Difficulty: remarkable
  • Minimum altitude: 607 m
  • Starting/arrival: Hotel Les Brases / Sort
  • Total distance: 33 km
  • Total ascent: + 1.764m / - 1.854m
  • Nearest town: Sort
  • Maximum altitude: 1340 m
  • Total time: 9.30 h

DESCRIPTION OF THE ROUTE

Linear tour of 33 km in length (one way) that allows us to discover the charming villages of the southern sector of the Pallars Sobirà region, making routes along paths full of history, with dry stone margins and cobbled sections. The route that we propose begins in Sort and travels the slopes of the mountain of Llarvén and Estac, passes through the nuclei of Bressui, Enviny, Montardit de Dalt, Escàs, Mencui, Balestui and Peramea and, finally, ends in Gerri de la Sal. It is a physically demanding excursion - due to the high distance and unevenness that must be overcome - only recommended for hikers who are used to long distance routes.

This linear itinerary from Sort to Gerri brings us closer to the mountainous landscape of the southern sector of Pallars Sobirà, in an area of ​​transition between the Pre-Pyrenees and the Pyrenees. We walk among pine forests of red pine and holm oaks, along the paths that formerly joined the disseminated nuclei of the mountain slopes of the Noguera Pallaresa river valley.


THE BEST OF THE ROUTE

  • Step on the extraordinary historical heritage that make up the roads of Pallars, with margins of dry stone and cobbled sections.
  • The sensational views we have during the excursion of the Noguera Pallaresa river valley and the small scattered villages.
  • Let yourself be seduced by the tranquility and charm of this magical corner of the Pyrenees.


MORE INFORMATION

Duration:

Complete day.

Total effective time (without stops):

9: 30h in total: 4: 50h from the Hotel Les Brases de Sort to the village of Mencui and 4: 40h from this village to Gerri de la Sal, the end point of the route.

Accumulated drop:

+ 1,764m / - 1,854m

Difficulty:

Remarkable. Appropriate route for hikers with experience in long distance routes. The physical requirement is high due to the high level of difference and distance that must be overcome. Attentive to the orientation, in some points it is difficult to identify the road.

Season:

All year.

Material:

Nothing special.

Mapping:

  • Natural Park of l'Alt Pirineu. 1: 50,000. Alpina Editorial.
  • Ramat de Camins. Ramat de l'Est. 1: 50,000. Alpina Editorial.
  • Topographical base of Catalonia 1: 25,000. Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya (ICGC).

Observations:

  • The itinerary is long and entertaining, it is advisable to plan the excursion well and take into account the daylight hours. We also recommend avoiding the days of maximum sunlight.
  • The road is marked with yellow paint continuity markings and signposts at the intersections. Likewise, we must pay attention to the orientation because in some section it can be a loser. We recommend the use of GPS device.
  • There are water sources at Bressui, Enviny, Montardit, Estac, Balestui, Peramea and Gerri de la Sal.
  • If we want to shorten the route and end it in Baro, from the "crossing of Escós" we can take a track that takes us to the core of Escós and, from this point, we can follow a signposted path to Baro.
  • Once the route in Gerri de la Sal is finished, to return to Sort we can make a combination of vehicles or we can take the bus line. You can check the schedules at www.alsa.es. The bus also stops at the core of Baro.


HOW TO ARRIVE BY CAR

The starting point of the excursion is located in the Hotel Restaurant Les Brases de Sort. We arrive at Sort by the road C-13. The Hotel Les Brases is located on the same road C-13, just north of the town. In front of the hotel there is space to park without paying.

Travel

We started the route at first hour, to make the most of the daylight hours, at the Hotel Les Brases de Sort (0: 00h - 693m).

From the hotel we are going down the same road in direction S. We leave behind the detour and the bridge of the N-260 road and we continue down a few more meters until we arrive almost at the entrance of the town.

We go to the right along the street Joaquim Sostres, following the sign of the Natural Path of Sort and Valle de Àssua in the direction of "Bressui - Enviny". Just when we get to the first curve that the street does, we find a sign to the left that shows us the way to Bressui and Enviny.

We continue straight a few meters and find the castle of Sort.

Views of the castle.

The church of Sort.

We go down from the castle and go back to our detour.
We take this road

and we started to gain height above the town of Sort.

We lined up between dry stone walls and terraces

and soon we reached the core of Bressui
(0:25h - 838m).

We leave behind the church of Sant Miquel on the left

and we went up a narrow alley.

Next to the fountain of Com, at the top of the street, we find a junction where we leave on the right the road that goes up towards Pujalt - Enviny - Olp

and we take the path on the left, in the direction of Enviny (signposted).

We pass in front of a house and continue on a track that goes up.

In this next section, the road marked with yellow markings will leave and recover the track a couple of times, before finally leaving it.

Direction towards Enviny.

We move through a sparse brushwood

and between dry stone walls.

We continue to gain height.

Here we can enjoy the breathtaking views offered by the environment.

Horseshoe road towards Enviny.

Cows grazing in the meadows.

We left behind a first detour that would take us back to Sort and, a little further on, we found the detour of Montardit, where we will return in a few minutes,

after visiting the picturesque village of Enviny (1: 10h - 1,150m).

Church of Enviny.

We undo the road to the detour of Montardit and we take it.

Going down to Montardit de Dalt.

We begin to lose altitude, first in direction O and then in direction S, by a path that advances between fields of culture and walls of dry stone.

We passed just above a farm

and we end up on the road, which we cross.

We enter the nucleus of Montardit de Dalt (1: 30h - 945m)

and we go down to the church of Santa Cecília.

Views of the church from the village water tank.

We go through a covered alley that forks: we continue on the left

in the direction of La Mola - Estac.

We are going down a path covered with grass,

we leave behind the detour of La Mola and continue on,

in the direction of the village of Estac.

We pass by a small channel that leads us to the bottom of the ravine of Montardit, which we must cross at ford.

Attention: in the thawing season or after the rain it can be difficult to cross it.

After crossing the stream,

the road returns to gain height

through the interior of the holm oak of La Caella.

Little by little, as we go flanking the mountain, the forest is becoming more open and sparse,

which allows us to enjoy good views of the nucleus of Montardit de Dalt.

We arrive at an area of more sandy ground and to a point where we have to go up a rocky ledge upwards (in SW direction)

leaving to our right the meadows and the farmhouse of Santa Creu.

Farmhouse of Santa Creu and the mountain of Llarvén.

We reached the top of the mountain

and we found a vertical indicator signal.

We turn left

and we continue flanking the mountain in an S direction through the sparse Holm-oak forest.

We find a hollow where there is a nice red pine forest

and then we recover the holm oak

We now approach a section where the itinerary flanks the slope towards the south until reaching a point, just when the road is oriented towards the west, that the views open towards the town of Arcalís and, more to the S, we can distinguish the silhouette of the Punxeguda Rock, the Arboló gorge and the Geganta Adormida

The Geganta Adormida.

We are going very gently up this panoramic stretch and we reach a point where we already spotted the Estac nucleus.

We now descend through a quite stony area where our path can be confused with the roads trodden by flocks of sheep. We arrive at a dirt track, which we follow to the right, and cross a small ravine.

Next, we leave the track

and we follow the signposted path advancing between walls of dry stone.

Just before reaching Estac, we connect with an asphalted road

we leave a sheep farm on the left

and we went down a few meters

towards the Davall fountain, we are right at the entrance of Estac (3: 10h - 1.170m).

We crossed Estac,

leaving the church of Sant Marçal on our right,

and continue in direction O.

Right at the exit of the village we find the indications of Mencui and Balestui, where we will go next.

We move through an open area,

between hedges and grass meadows,

paying attention to the road, which in this stretch can be loser.
We must surround some meadow since the original road has been engrossed and is not passable.

We go down gently, trying to follow the worn marks of yellow paint,

for a losing area and with quite embedded paths.

We crossed a ravine and continued to lose height between meadows and small clusters of trees.

We descend to a meadow, we cross it down

and we connect with a path that advances between dry stone walls,

rather more well defined

and that goes into a forest of oaks.

We flank the slope, with quite a slope and a reddish soil.

We are getting closer to

ravine of the Font del Llop.

We come to a fork

where we find a yellow arrow that indicates the path that goes down,
Attention !: we ignore the arrow

and we continue the route by the road above, which is also marked with yellow paint marks.

We crossed two torrents, the first one above a waterfall.

After having overcome the second torrent, just when it seems that the path is lost and before a detachment, we suddenly climb a blurred path that becomes more evident above.

We ascend in loops through the interior of an oak grove until we reach a meadow.

Here we turn left and continue gaining height until we find a vertical sign of Tourism of Catalonia.

Shepherd shelter on the way to Mencui.

We link with a more defined path and turn left. We continue climbing, now with less slope, through an oak forest that gradually opens up. We reach a small hill and turn towards the O.

We continue approaching Mencui by a path that advances between dry stone walls. But little by little the road becomes engorged and we reach a point where we have to go down to the track that is right below us.

We continue this way up and, after a couple of turns, we find a detour that is where we would have gone if the road had been cleaner and passable.

The abandonment of livestock and the depopulation of these villages of Pallars is gradually losing the valuable heritage of roads in these lands.

We continue along the track and soon we arrive at the half-abandoned houses of the Mencui core (4: 50h - 1,261m).

From Mencui the signposted path would take us directly to the Cossant farmhouse. But at the moment of documenting this guide, this path is impractical due to a great detachment. Therefore, to get to the farmhouse of Cossant it is necessary to follow an alternative itinerary approaching Escós and Tolzó

So, we discard the direct path to the farmhouse of Cossant and down the same track where we have climbed previously and continue in the direction of Escós.

We went through the Pubill farmhouse and, after crossing two ravines, we reached the crossing of Escós (5: 35h - 940m).

Here we leave the track that continues down to Escós - Baro

and continue along the track on the right towards the forest of Tolzó.

The track is gaining height doing loops through a beautiful forest of red pine.

We continue along this road without changing the road, leaving behind detours on both sides, until we reach the farmhouse of Cossant (6: 55h - 1,339m).

Boixerola.

We are at the highest point of the entire route and, thanks to its height, we can enjoy good views of the mountains of the High Pyrenees: the Torre del Orri (2.439m), the Pica d'Estats (3.143m) and the Massif of Montcalm, ...

Views of the Pica d'Estats from the farmhouse of Cossant.

We leave the track

and we recover the marked path,

which goes under the remains of the farmhouse.

The path descends on the back in the S direction and we pass another ruined farmhouse.

We continue in the same direction until we turn to the left and begin to descend bordering the mountainous spur by the slope E.

Further down, we turn suddenly to the O and are surprised by the wonderful views of the Pla de Corts, Peramea and the Geganta Adormida.

We continue downhill among rosemary bushes

and some scorched logs, remains of a burnt pine forest.

We crossed the llau del Llop -which is the name given to dry ravines in this area-

and we went under some big limestone walls.

We walk along a pretty cobbled path

while we are going around the Rock of Sant Pere Vell.

Little by little we are approaching the nucleus of Balestui,

we passed by a cow farm

and we cross the road.

We make a few last meters and enter the charming village of Balestui (7:55 - 865m).

We left the nucleus of houses by the side of the remains of the church, without worship and half demolished,

and we went through a cobbled stretch

until a small wooden bridge that crosses the river of Ancs.

THE EMPIRED ROADS

Just as we left Balestui by the old road from Balestui to Peramea, we passed a stretch of cobbled road very well preserved. We find the cobblestones on the steepest sections of the Pallars roads, in order to facilitate the march to the cargo cattle. The cobblestone is made up of batten -the big stones that are placed transversely to the road- that contributes solidity, fixes the road and helps to stop the cattle if it slips, and the engravat -the small stones that are placed neatly between batten and batén- . The old road of Balestui was a traditional means of communication used from the Middle Ages to the 20th century by the inhabitants of the area and by the muleteers, shepherds and merchants who traveled through these territories.

Source: On foot. 13 walks and excursions by Pallars Sobirà. Volume II. Arola Editors.

Now we are entering a stress-free zone.

Once crossed the river of Ancs, we started to climb through a beautiful holm oak forest.

We leave behind a junction and the path of the farmhouse of Enjaume and Bretui, and we continue towards Peramea.

We arrived at a small hill and started to go down towards the Pla de Corts, where we already spotted Peramea.

We turn left towards Peramea.

We passed through an area with cereal fields

and we make some last meters of ascent until the precious closed village of Peramea (8: 50h - 902m).

The square of Peramea

We cross the nucleus passing in front of the fountain of the square and the Elm of Peramea.

We turn left towards the cemetery and, in the middle of the street, just behind some rubbish bins, we take the path of Gerri de la Sal.

We approach the last section of the day, which will take us to Gerri de la Sal. We descend gently between meadows, we pass by a house and then we connect with the road.

We follow the asphalted road to our left, we make a straight line along the road and, just as it is turning, we take a path that goes up and that allows us to make a shortcut. Further on we return to connect with the asphalted road, where we move a few more meters until, after a bend, we recover the road (right).

We descend decidedly by the stony skirt and covered with grass of the mountain.

The monastery of Gerri de la Sal.

Finally, we enter Gerri de la Sal through an alley and we plant ourselves in the center of town. We pass through the Plaza del Mercadal, where the Real Alfolí de la Sal is located, nowadays a museum, we go down some stairs and we reach the road, the final point of this sensational itinerary through the Baix Pallars in Gerri de la Sal (9:30 am - 607m).