Canyon of the Rio Lobos
The Cañón del Río Lobos Nature Park, situated in the provinces of Soria and Burgos, is considered to be one of the most beautiful landscapes in Spain, renowned for its spectacular relief, formed by a deep ravine surrounded by sheer walls rising up to rocky peaks.
It is home to a dense forest with masses of junipers and cluster pines as well as a wealth of fauna, including pairs of griffon vultures. It is also an important reserve for golden eagles, Egyptian eagles and falcons. The mammals include large numbers of deer, boars, squirrels, otters, badgers and wildcats.
As we were staying at Camping Cañón del Río Lobos, we decided to hike the river Trail which follows the course of the river Lobos from one end of the natural park to the other, covering the 25 km that separates the Roman bridge at Hontoria del Pinar in the province of Burgos from the source of the river Ucero at the bottom end of the Canyon in Soria province. This is undoubtedly the main walking route in the park, in terms of both length and because it takes you through the very heart of this protected natural area, the canyon itself.
For us this was an ideal choice of hike as we did not have worry about parking the VW van, or the entrance fee of €4 where road ends and turns into a track and car parking area. We walked amongst spectacular scenery together with seeing various birds of prey that sawed above us catching thermals as they seemed to follow us along the ravine in all its splendour towards the Chapel of San Bartolomé. The Chapels settings beauty is difficult to described in words, you just have to see for yourself.
St Bartholomew’s Chapel
St Bartholomew’s Chapel sits on a bend in the river, nestled under breathtakingly beautiful rock walls, flanked by pretty Lilly ponds, and guarded by a legion of Griffon Vultures whose nests pack the narrow rock ledges, it is no surprise that this enigmatic chapel has long been associated as an absolutely magical setting.
The chapel was built in the 12th century in Romanesque style. It is noted for its decorated stone corbels depicting enigmatic figures and symbols, and above all for its two identical rose windows with fine tracery forming five overlapping heart shapes, now adopted as the park’s logo. The chapel is open to visitors at certain times (not for us though) On the 24th August, the festivity of Saint Bartholomew, plays host to a popular procession and noisy fiesta. Weddings are also occasionally held in the chapel.
The Great Cave and the Balcony
Beyond the chapel and below the vultures’ nests, the mouth of a vast cave invites you to enter and enjoy the view from the reverse side, framed in stone. Prehistoric engravings on the roof of the cave bear witness to the presence of man in this special place since time immemorial.
Standing high above the chapel esplanade, there is another great mound of rock shaped by the elements which draws you to climb up and explore. This feature is known as the ‘balconcillo’ (balcony), and is also riddled with caves, rock canopies and a window in the rock wall that allows you to look out over the next section of the canyon, round the bend.
Ctra. SO-920 del Burgo a S. Leonardo de Yagüe Km. 16. Ucero. 42317 Soria.
Telephone: 975 363 564