The Arbaiun gorge has been cut by the river Salazar as it passes through the Leire mountain range. Its vertical walls have been carved by erosion over millions of years, as the river etched its course at the bottom of the gorge. It is considered the queen of the gorges
in the region both for its length (almost six kilometres) and its stunning vertical rock faces which reach a height of 300 metres in places, which it combines with rock shelves, embankments and stony areas.
The Pyrenean river Salazar describes three curves from North to South and then meanders off towards the west and south-west. In its first section, the walls reach down to the river bed, while once inside the gorge they rest on a sloping bank. Vegetation grows unbridled in the depths, occasionally emerging from the rock itself. On the sunny sides, kermes oaks, gall oaks and juniper grow, and in the shady areas there are beech, oak, pine and ash trees. In autumn, the gorge is decked in a thousand colours with every tone ranging from green to ochre including explosive reds and oranges.
If you look up towards the rocky outcrops you will almost certainly spot the nests of vultures
or other birds of prey. The colony of griffon vultures has grown so much in the last few years that it is common to see them flying over the area.
At the Gorge Nature Interpretation Centre
in Lumbier you will find details on this and other hiking paths as well as information on the flora, fauna and culture of the area. Take advantage of this opportunity to visit the nearby Lumbier Gorge
, which can be visited along a straightforward path that crosses and runs along the tracks of the long-gone Irati train, the first electric train in Spain.
Recommended route for getting to know the area around the Arbaiun gorge.