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Barranco del Formiga, Sierra de Guara

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Barranco del Formiga: this is one of the most popular canyons in the Sierra, and it's easy to see why: you'll find a bit of everything in a typical Guara atmosphere, and it's easy to get to and not too difficult. A beautiful descent despite the impressive crowds at the start, which can keep you waiting for over an hour... Rappels under waterfalls, estrechos, small jumps and slides, sculpted rock and crystal-clear water, a fun canyon on a small scale in a typical Sierra setting. Do it early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds!

Technical summary

Access to the place

Type ✦ Water canyon
Location ✦ Panzano, Sierra de Guara
Region ✦ Aragon
Country ✦ Spain
Length ✦ 1.5km
Vertical drop ✦ 90m
Difficulty ✦ v3-a4-III
Max abseiling ✦ 7m
Duration ✦ 3h to 3h30
Interest ✦ ★★

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 45'

Take the left-bank path which starts at the bottom of the parking lot and follow it through the forest, descending after about 15′ to the level of the torrent bed (end of the canyon). Continue up the hillside above Formiga towards the large cliffs in the distance. Finally, the path passes under a large vault, the cueva de las Polvorosas, with ruined buildings. Continue to follow a ledge equipped with a lifeline and at the end, descend to find the 5m abseil that gives access to the torrent bed. Start of the canyon.

Course 2h à 2h30

The descent heads south, with some parts very steep and others more open. The water flows constantly from top to bottom. There are a number of small obstacles: boulders, abseils, siphons and jumps of no great difficulty. The equipment is in very good condition.

Part 1 (1h to 1h15′)

After a small slide to enter the stream, we follow the left bank to enter the 1st narrow section which forms an aquatic corridor. We soon come to the 1st abseil R1 (7m) on the left bank, watered as it ends in a small reach from which we emerge by walking under a beautiful boulder stuck above our heads. Continue along the couloir to abseil R2 (7m) on the right bank, also watered and ending in another small, narrow reach. Continue swimming/walking in the water, which meanders between the nearby walls. At the end, there's a boulder to climb over (no climbing) or under in a simple siphon. You then exit into an open, sunny area.
Part 2 (1h to 1h15′)

The remainder of the canyon takes place in a more open area: aquatic walking, small jumps, passages under boulders, small slides and also a few small jumps (evaluate the depth carefully!). Finally, after passing under a footbridge (escape route), you come to the 3rd abseil (7m), which is well watered and where you can also jump (narrow!). At the bottom, swim in the reach that passes under a large hanging boulder to emerge into a beautiful corridor of undulating, folded rock. Continue into more open terrain, again with small slides or jumps and a few de-escalations. Further on, you pass a narrow, shallow aquatic corridor and gradually emerge to reach the finish at a beautiful turquoise water basin to jump into.

Back

There's another 15′ on the approach trail in the opposite direction back to the parking lot.

Map & topo

The parking lot is located on the A-1227 road between Bierge and Huesca, in a hairpin bend near the village of Panzano. GPS coordinates of the parking lot: 42°13'23.8″N 0°10'47.5″W

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