July 5, 2017
Where Ordesa Canyon is rough and wild, Anisclo is fairytale like and colourful. The Ordesa canyon is made by glacier ice while the Anisclo canyon is formed by water. The river Rio Bellos runs through the Anisclo canyon and colours in some places blue-green and forms pools in other areas. The Anisclo canyon is a lot smaller and steeper than the Ordesa canyon, and the cliffs come in different colours here. Anisclo canyon is also part of the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park.
From Torla you have to drive to Sarvisé, where you turn left in the direction of Fanlo. You drive past Fanlo, then past Nerin, following the signs for Anisclo canyon. After the exit road to Sercué, you wil see a bifurcation in the road, just when you reach a small parking space adjacent a mirador (viewpoint) over the Rio Asa deep down. Here you take the road to the left, that goes down, and follow it until you reach the small parking lot where the walk into the Anisclo canyon starts. The parking lot is really small, I think there is place for about 15 cars. In summer months the parking spaces are taken up quite quickly and other cars end up parking at the side of the road. When we visited in June in the middle of the week, there were not too many cars. Still, the parking lot itself was already full, so we parked a bit further at the side of the road.
From the parking lot you can choose between two paths, one to the right, another one to the left. Both eventually come together on the GR 11 walking route through the canyon. The walk that starts on the left can be done as a short circular walk of 45 minutes that passes a waterfall and the chapel of San Urbez. The walk that starts on the right takes you in 4 to 5 hours to the end of the canyon. From there you have to return the same way to get back to your car. So if you want to walk all the way, better leave early in the morning to finish the 8,5 hour walk before dinner time.
After the 7 hour walk and thunderstorm experience of the day before in the Ordesa valley, we needed to recuperate a bit. We decided to start the walk through the canyon and turn back whenever we got tired. The weather forecast predicted some rain in the afternoon. After being soaked the day before we were not looking forward to another open air shower. So if the weather turned bad, we would go back to base.
We crossed the bridge over the canyon, looking into the beautiful green-blue water down below. The path continued on the right side of the river, carved out in the cliffs. A bit further we passed the chapel of San Urbez, a pelgrimage site. The chapel is built right in to the limestone rocks. The villagers from the Vió Valley go to the shrine of San Úrbez at Sastral Cave four times a year on pilgrimage. A bit further there is a path to the left, that connects to the circular path and goes back to the parking lot.
The path continues next to the river, where the river comes down over the rocks in smaller and bigger waterfalls. You cross the river over a bridge next to yet another small waterfall, and continue further on the left side of the river. The sun was beating down on us in the afternoon, so we eventually turned back, took the little path on the right (direction parking), to join the parking lot using the circular route. Here you cross the river all the way down in the canyon, and see another waterfall a bit further. Again we were surprised by vultures and/or eagles soaring above. We reached our car just before it started to rain!
This is a walk for all levels, you make it as hard as you like. It just depends on how far you want to walk into the canyon. The path is well marked and the climbing is not too strenuous.
Make sure you leave prepared, the weather in the mountains is unpredictable:
Packing list for day walks:
To wear: zipp off walking trousers, t-shirt, hat, sunglasses and waterproof mountain walking shoes. To pack: rucksack with a fleece, raincoat, raincover or poncho, scarf and gloves, waterproof trousers, sunscreen, first aid kit, map, your passport and insurance card, your mobile phone, camera, 1 to 2 l water (you can refill at mountain streams, but not if there are cows or sheep grazing nearby), snacks like cookies, muesli bars, dried sausage, dried fruit and nuts, fresh fruit.
Nothing I mention in this list is unnecessary. You will not always need everything, but if you get stuck into a storm like we did, you will feel so grateful you packed all of it!
In the local supermarkets or tourist shops you can easily find the Mapa excursionista on a scale of 1:25.000.
For a blog post on walking Ordesa valley: