GR 93; The Rioja Mountains
Along its 190 kms this trekking route crosses the various mountain ranges and valleys of La Rioja such as Sierra de la Demanda, Valle del Najerilla, Camero Nuevo, Camero Viejo, Valle del Cidacos, Valle del Linares and Valle del Alhama, so joining the Cantabrian landscape of Ezcaray in the west with the Mediterranean landscape of Cervera in the east. The way crosses the main rivers of La Rioja: Oja, Najerilla, Iregua, Leza, Cidacos y Alhama-Linares. It’s a path over the foothills from one valley to the next via passes not touching the summits, following the old horse trails joining the different neighbouring villages.
This way over the mountains area of La Rioja goes through 34 villages, including abandoned villages such as Torremuña and Valdevigas, all of which have their story to tell of lords, manors, villas with the height of their importance being the time of “transhumancia” (seasonal sheep migration) and the textile industry. The villages of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Ezcaray, San Millán, Anguiano, Ortigosa, Laguna, San Román, Munilla, Enciso, Cornago, Cervera and Valverde have been chosen to start and end stages as they have the necessary food and lodging facilities.
Each of the stages is structured very similarly joining two river valleys crossing the passes between them. Only two of the stages Laguna de Cameros-San Román de Cameros and Munilla-Enciso is the same river valley followed. When designing the route the lowest passes have been chosen so as to keep a medium level of difficulty and so be suitable for people without any special experience. At the same time the different landscapes and the large number of villages which are crossed give this route through the mountains a high ecological and cultural value.
GR 190; The High Iberian Mountains
This route allows us to reach the summits of the highest peaks in the mountain ranges of La Rioja. The first two stages reach 1.700 m above sea level across the passes of Beneguerra giving us superb panoramic views of the Oja and Najerilla valleys. In the latter the path enters the river valley and into the area known as the siete villas (seven villages) following for the most part the cañada (old sheep migration route) hich links the villages of Viniegra de Abajo, Ventrosa y Brieva de Cameros before crossing the Canto Hincado pass at 412 m. beside the Mojón Alto peak and then entering the Cebollera Natural Park to descend into the village of Villoslada de Cameros. This part between Ezcaray and Villoslada covers 64 Kms. and needs a certain experience especially crossing the Sierra de la Demanda although most people can do it if they do so at their own pace.
This route has two places where it can join the GR 93 one from Villoslada de Cameros and the El Hoyo abandoned village and the other from the Canto Hincado pass and Ortigosa de Cameros.
Besides, this route gives access, although outside its course and not signposted, to the highest mountains of La Rioja: San Lorenzo (2272 m.) and Pico Urbión (2229 m.). Coming from Ezcaray on the way to Valvanera Monastery the climb up to the summit of San Lorenzo is about 4 Kms. from the Beneguerra pass across the Ormazal pass and from there straight up to the top. In the opposite direction from Valvanera Monastery to Ezcaray the path to the top is from the forest track (1720 m.) crossing Nestaza pass and climbing to the top in about 2,5 Kms. from the main route.
To reach the Urbión peak the path is taken from Viniegra de Abajo (867 m.) following the road to Viniegra de Arriba. After about 6 Kms. the junction of two rivers is reached, Trambosrios, where the road is left by crossing a bridge to the right to follow the Urbion river along a well marked path. At the end of the path fields are crossed to reach the Urbion Lake from which a steep climb leads to the summit with a total distance of about 13 Kms.