Faja de las Flores: a classic hike in Ordesa Valley

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With year-round accessibility, this stunning hike culminates in a stroll along a narrow ledge (“la Faja”) cut into the mountain face. It’s a 13-17 km (8-11 miles) route that can be circular* if you so choose, and has a cumulative elevation gain of about 1000 meters (3200 feet).

*Should you choose to ascend or descend by way of the “Clavijas de Cotatuero” be warned that most people do it with a safety harness! We have seen some unprepared hikers have to pass along the iron pegs without securing themselves, however I highly recommend that you do so. This pass takes only about 2 minutes but, as our alpinist buddies always say: “what’s your ass worth?” So get yourself a harness!
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Along the Faja…

There are two ways up to the “Faja” and both depart from the Ordesa Valley floor or meadow called “Pradera de Ordesa”. In summer the road will be closed off, so you’ll have to take a bus from Torla. From October-ish to June you can drive up with your own car, parking is free. The Pradera is the depature point for another very classic hike in the valley, la “Cola de Caballo,” with half the elevation gain but lots of water and the best valley views up close and personal.

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Can you follow the Faja path in the distance…

If you’ve never been to the quaint mountain village of Torla, your first time is going to be v magical. As you make the last few turns along the curvy road from Broto, you’ll be gifted with an UNREAL view of the “Faja de las Flores”. And if you happen to drive in with the late afternoon sun, you can die happy because the Faja’s glow is straight up blinding and totally postcard perfect. You’ll see…

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Torla

The name of this route derives from the quantity of wildflowers that you’ll encounter if you hike during Spring. But LET ME TELL YOU: Autumn is actually the best season. A bit less human traffic and all the shades of orange. Ordesa Valley is famed for the color palette that it flaunts during the Fall. And with such reason. Did you not see the panoramic photo at the top of this post?!

¡BONUS! If you’re looking for a variation in this route, you can also summit Tozal del Mallo. To do so I propose the following option: from the Pradera de Ordesa head up following the normal route for Faja de las Flores and continue on to “Clavijas de la Carriata” or “Clavijas de Salarons.”  It’s is a chimney-like rock formation that you’ll need to scramble up, there are metal pegs to help you. You’ll have another uphill scramble from here but alas you’ll find yourselves at a proverbial fork in the road. You will need to go left to reach the Tozal del Mallo (2254 m) or right to complete the Faja. If you choose to head to Tozal del Mallo, you’ll add about 3 km to your round trip Faja route.

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Clavijas de la Carriata/Salarons
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Descent from Faja de las Flores, with the famous “Brecha de Rolando” in the background. The “Brecha” is that cutout in the mountain, a gap 40 m across and 100 m high, at an elevation of 2804 m in the Pyrenees on the border of Aragón (Spain) and Hautes-Pyrénées (France)

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