Mother of God of Arbolo and Gerri de la Sal


Route record

  • Difficulty: remarkable
  • Minimum altitude: 585m
  • Starting/arrival: Hotel Les Brases / Sort
  • Total distance: 15.3km
  • Total ascent: +461m/ -544m
  • Nearest town: Sort
  • Maximum altitude: 817m
  • Total time: 5h

DESCRIPTION OF THE ROUTE

Linear itinerary (one way) of 15.3 km in length that follows the course of the river Noguera Pallaresa, from Sort to the sanctuary of Arboló and Gerri de la Sal. The route begins in the county capital, crosses the riverside forest of Les Vernedes and goes into the forests of holm oak and pine forests of pine to Baro. Then, cross the Strait of Arboló, visit the shrine of the Virgin of Arboló and, finally, arrive at Gerri de la Sal. It is a signposted route suitable for people accustomed to walking.

This excursion reveals the middle course of the Noguera Pallaresa River as it passes through the towns of Pallars de Sort, Baro and Gerri de la Sal. The route always takes place near the river, through riparian forests, holm oaks and pine forests of wild pine , and also allows us to know one of the architectural jewels of the High Pyrenees, the Romanesque sanctuary of the Virgin of Arboló, patron of Pallars Sobirà.

THE BEST OF THE ROUTE

  • Walk along the banks of the Noguera Pallaresa river, the backbone of the region.
  • Discover the fauna and flora of the riparian forest in El Pallars.
  • Visit the sensational sanctuary of Arboló.
  • The views we have during the route of the villages of Baix Pallars.

MORE INFORMATION

Duration:

Complete day.

Total effective time (without stops):
5: 00h in total. 3: 15h from Sort to Baro (bridge of Arcalís) and 1: 45h from Baro to Gerri de la Sal.

Elevation gain:

+461m / -544m

Difficulty:

Remarkable.

Season:
All year.
Material:
Nothing special.
Mapping:
  • Natural Park of the Alt Pirineu. 1: 50,000. Alpine Editorial.
  • Flock of Roads. Eastern flock. 1: 50,000. Alpine Editorial.
  • Topographic base of Catalonia 1: 25,000. Cartographic and Geological Institute of Catalonia (ICGC).

Observations:

  • The itinerary is marked with yellow continuity paint markings and vertical indicator posts in the detours and crossings. In any case, we must be attentive because some section can be loser.
  • To return to Sort from Gerri de la Sal you can take the bus line. Consult schedules at www.alsa.es (the bus also stops at 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 start the tour at the Hotel Les Brases de Sort (0: 00h - 693m).

From the hotel, we are following the course of the Noguera Pallaresa

towards the center of the town.

We reached the bridge of the N-260 road and crossed the river.

Just on the other side, we find a sign of the Natural Path of Sort and Valle de Àssua and the starting point of the Les Vernedes circuit.

We take this path,

continuing on the river side, but now on its left bank.

We are leaving behind the houses of Sort

and we enter the riverside forest of Les Vernedes by a comfortable and very pleasant path

To our right we can observe the aquatic birds that live in the Noguera Pallaresa, such as the gray heron, the aquatic blackbird, the great cormorant and the duck.

On our left we see the grass meadows and the poplar plantations

Path of the Les Vernedes

Cows grazing in the meadows of the Vernedes.

We arrived at the confluence of the Noguera Pallaresa and the Cantó rivers.

At this point the road turns to the left and, without crossing the River del Cantó,

we trace it a few meters up.

We came to a detour to the left, which would take us back to Sort, we left it behind and we continued up.

Then, we reach the detour to Soriguera and Llagunes, which we also left aside.

We continue in the direction of Tornafort - Malmercat - Baro.

We crossed the Cantó River  by a bridge

and we continue along a path that passes between a row of trees and dry stone walls.

We surrounded the back of Savarneda's house (0: 50h - 693m) and started to gain altitude.

We leave behind a path to the left towards Tornafort and continue towards Malmercat - Baro. We climb through a sparse forest, enjoying extensive panoramic views of the valley of the Noguera Pallaresa river,

with the town of Arcalís and the silhouette of the Giant Asleep.

We passed through  an area of boxwood and meadows  and arrived at the crossing of Malmercat.

We have a wide view of the valley, with the meadows on both sides of the river, the village of Montardit de Baix and, above, the nuclei of Montardit de Dalt, Llarvén and Enviny, under the peak of the Comet (2,445m).

Views of Savarneda and Sort

Enjoying the views

We continue to gain height.

At this junction we leave Malmercat road and follow the indications of Baro.
We go down a grassy slope where the path fades. Pay attention to the worn yellow paint marks on rocks and logs.

Montardit

Later, when we enter the forest, the path becomes more evident again. We go down, first through the interior of a forest of red pine with boxwood and, later, we go into an oak grove

We follow a dry stone wall and, just under a farm,

we end up on the paved road.

We continue on this road a few meters up, until a curve,

where we connect with a dirt track.

We cross a torrent and go down the ravine leaving behind several detours.

Next, we go around grass meadows and, before arriving at the Soriguer farmhouse, we leave the track behind and take a path to the right that goes down to a torrent, where small birds live.

Meadows of grass in the farmhouse of Soriguer.

Nice muscari that we met.

Plunged torrent

After crossing the stream, we take a path to the left

that climbs on a reddish rock floor

and through a sparse oak holm oak forest.

Little by little, the road becomes more evident and goes flanking the slope, going up and down and adapting to the relief of the mountain.

Path through the forest

We crossed two ravines,

one of which equipped with stairs and a wooden railing.

We continue advancing

and we arrive at a new crossroads, where we take the path that goes down towards Baro and Gerri de la Sal.

We descend through a shady oak grove

until we come to some meadows

and, after overcoming the ravine of Big Rock,

we follow a path between dry stone walls

to the beautiful farmhouse of Menal (2: 50h - 648m).

We continue our itinerary in direction S, while we enjoy the postcard landscape that make up the meadows that surround the farmhouse.

We arrive at a dirt track, cross it, and continue along a path that goes under the track and along the river side.

We passed a couple of doors

and finally we connect with the track,

that we follow until the connection with the  Arcalis road.

We make a few meters on the road

and we reach the bridge of Arcalís - Baro (3: 15h - 637m).
Just across the river is the small village of Baro.

We do not cross it and continue our itinerary on the left side of the mountain, following the directions of Arboló and Gerri de la Sal.

We walk now through a track that goes over the Noguera Pallaresa

until we reach a point where the track forks: we take the road on the right, slightly downhill, and that brings us closer to the riverbank.

Baro

Noguera Pallaresa

We passed some poplars plantations

and we cross a pleasant area of meadows.

We left a detour on the right and, right after, we found a crossroads.

We leave behind the road that climbs towards Arcalís and continue towards the Sanctuary of Arboló.

Little by little, the valley becomes narrower

and the track becomes a path.

We went through a gloomy pine forest of red pine with boxwood and, suddenly, after a turn of the road,

The silhouette of the Punxeguda Rock appears before us.

We advance without losing or gaining height with the pyramidal shape in front and the river on the right.

The gorge is still narrower and the path climbs a few meters to overcome the narrow passage.

We continue on our path

Noguera Pallaresa

We go back down

and we overcome a section equipped with a railing that passes just below a rocky wall and next to the water.

Arboló Bridge

Finally we reached the crossing of the Arboló bridge, where we left the bridge to the right and we climbed towards the sanctuary.

Now the road is wide and presents no difficulty,

We quickly arrived at the place where the sensational sanctuary of the Virgin of Arboló rises (4: 15h - 641m).

Mother of God of Arboló

We visited the sanctuary and enjoyed the views of the surroundings.

On the other side of the valley we see a set of vertical risks where it is easy to observe flying vultures.

Paragliding

El Soc d'Arboló.

After recovering strength, we will take the last section of the route, which will take us to the village of Gerri de la Sal.

From the sanctuary we take a path

that goes down the rocky hillside between brambles and thickets of rosemary.

Suddenly, the landscape changes radically and becomes more arid,

the green of the meadows contrasts with the red color of the rocks in this area.

We are going down gently to the shore of the Noguera Pallaresa river

and we passed by some walls and some orchards.

Rocks of red color of the zone.

We continue along our path along the banks of the Noguera Pallaresa river, closer and closer to Gerri de la Sal.

Romanesque bridge of Gerri de la Sal.

We left behind the path that would take us to the nearby monastery of Santa Maria de Gerri and we entered the nucleus of Gerri de la Sal crossing the monumental Romanesque bridge.

Views from the bridge.

Views from the bridge towards the nucleus of Gerri de la Sal

We arrive at the Plaza Sant Felip and continue along a narrow alley on the left that leads us to the C-13 road, the road that connects La Pobla de Segur and Sort.

Narrow alley.

C-13 Road

We cross the road with great caution and go up some stairs to the Mercadal square in Gerri de la Sal (5: 00h - 615m), the final point of this beautiful itinerary.

THE WHITE GOLD OF GERRI DE LA SAL

For centuries, the exploitation of the salt source was the main economic engine of Gerri de la Sal and its surroundings. Witness to this important economic activity are the salinas -where the water remained stagnant until it evaporated, leaving the salt deposited on the terraces- and the Real Alfolí, which was the large warehouse where the salt was later treated and stored. This building, which currently houses the Gerri de la Sal Museum, is considered the largest medieval civil construction in the entire Pallars.