Karrantza is the largest valley in Biscay, a place where nature shows us its most fascinating side. It is located on the border with Burgos and Cantabria, protected by the Montes de Ordunte to the south and by the Parque Natural de Armañón (natural park) to the north. This route runs along the Sierra de Ordunte mountain range, a mountain range of more than 20 km, crowned by several peaks exceeding 1,000 m. It is a demanding route that will lead us to strive to access real watchtowers in this beautiful enclave. The route that begins in Turtzioz, with a continuous upward progression, runs through karst landscapes.
Thanks to these stone massifs, Armañón benefits from a microclimate that has allowed Mediterranean oak and beech forests to develop a few kilometers from the Cantabrian coast. The route, which is of moderate difficulty, is bordered by the Remendón oak grove, a forest of huge and centuries-old specimens, the largest in Biscay. From here, you can view Armañón Peak, a rounded peak inhabited by horses, pottokas, sheep, and cows that graze. Turtzioz shares ownership of the Armañón Natural Park with the Karrantza Valley. From there, a descent of about 12 km begins to the Bi-630 highway, where you can access Ambasaguas, a place to rest and regain energy for the challenging stage the next day.
At this point, we start again with a long and continuous upward progression that crosses the forests to quickly make way for the grasslands of this livestock environment. The first remarkable point is at the height of Ubal. Continuing along cattle tracks and roads, you climb to a second level near Cotobasero Peak, about 15 km from the start of the stage. The ascent continues to the forest and ends up at a steep zigzag slope that perches us in the shade of Mount Peñalta and Odunte.
From there, the progression will go downhill to briefly return to the Brena Pass through which we will very quickly access the next mountain called Balgerri, an ideal place to take a break and access this summit with a breathtaking view of the Karrantza Valley.
The route continues along the line of peaks where Portillo de Gospeñata, Pico del Ilsa de Pedranzo and Mount Maza Pando stand out, in a continuous descent that will bring us closer to the slopes of Mount Kolitza, a spectacular spot to enjoy an impressive landscape. The route continues its descent towards the BI-630 highway junction, where we can stop to rest in Traslaviña on this challenging day.
The last stage, just under 20 kilometers long, aims at the starting point of this incredible journey through the Betaio mountain range, which will once again leave a landscape of awe before our eyes. A beautiful segment of the course that finishes the stage with enough time to celebrate in the area around Turtzioz.
Distance: 91 Km
Grade: 3365 m
Itinerary type: Loop
Estimated time: 3 days, 2 nights
Type of terrain: Tracks, concrete roads, trails and asphalt
Leave a Reply ·