Among the mountains of the Pyrenees a treasure is hidden: the Ibones of Aragón. This word has its origin in the Aragonese language, and that is how the locals called these Pyrenean gems.
They are lakes of glacial origin located on the tops of the Pyrenees mountains that regulate the rivers of the surrounding mountains. There are more than 200 of them and they date back to the glacial period. Their uniqueness and scarcity make them unique in the Peninsula.
Both the landscapes and the water levels of each of the lakes of Aragon change a lot depending on the season. Most of them remain frozen in winter and part of the spring. However, there are others that stay frozen longer.
One of the main characteristics of the Ibones of Aragón is their scenic value. These lakes are surrounded by meadows, forests and rocks, and depending on the lake, they can be of different colours. Embraced by the mountains, they are home to numerous flora and fauna adapted to low temperatures. One of the most important species in the area is the Pyrenean newt.
The value of the Ibones of Aragón has been recognised in two categories: they have received the attribute of Protected Natural Area and are within the Inventory of Unique Wetlands.
There are three ways to access the Ibones of Aragón. Firstly, there are lakes that can be reached by car; this is the most frequent option for families and hikers. Some of them are Baños or Llauset. Another option is to go by tourist train, as is the case of Tramacastilla de Tena. And finally, you can go through the ski slopes to the Ibones de Asnos or Escalar, for example. Depending on the access to the lake, you can get there in one way or another, using the tourist and sports infrastructures available.
We can also classify the access according to the difficulty. If you want to spend a weekend with your family on a trip, the Ibones de Aragón are the best option. There are lakes that can be reached in an hour or an hour and a half walk, such as Billamuerta or Espelunciecha. If the family is more intrepid, there are also routes of two to four hours such as those to the Acherito or Escarpinosa lakes.
Although there are lakes for families, not all the lakes in Aragon are easily accessible. Some of them require mountain experience and people who want to get to them must have done adequate physical preparation. In many of them there are mountain refuges where you can rest and take a break before continuing to walk. Some of the lakes with complicated accesses are those of Estanés or Barrancs, which can be reached from the La Reclusa refuge.
Chelaus also responds to the Aragonese word. It is the word that refers to the Aragonese lakes that remain frozen almost all year round. They are usually located in the upper part of the mountains and are difficult to access. The Chelau de Monte Perdido is one of them.
From what you have read, there is no excuse for it. The Ibones de Aragón are the plan you have been waiting for. They are nature, pure air, wonderful landscapes, sport and family. Do not miss them and discover this natural treasure.
Text: Fátima González-Besada Gómez
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