Hike the Vall de Nuria via Coma de Vaca and Camí dels Enginyers

Daio - Search Nearby - Added by Gabi Robledo

This insane hike is, what I consider, one of the best hikes in the world! Though steep and strenuous, the route weaves through the diversity of rivers, ridges, forests, plains, jagged mountains, and valleys. This hike will not disappoint and will leave you awestruck.

From Queralbs you'll be making a right turn at the harping left turn up towards the town of Queralbs. There'll be signs for Coma De Vaca. Drive down this road for about a mile where it ends at a parking lot called Daio. The parking lot in itself foreshadows the beauty of this hike with mountains towering over trailhead. 

Cross over the wooden bridge and stay right at the trail split. The left trail is where you'll be coming out. You'll hike along the river for twenty minutes before coming across the Salt Del Grill waterfall which can be very beautiful when it's running. Continue along the valley, following signs for Coma de Vaca Refugi. The further you get into the valley the steeper the trail gets and soon enough you'll be trudging up steep switchbacks. As you reach the rocky ridge of the mountainside you are at Les Marrades where you will get amazing the views are of the valley below where you just walked, of Torrenueles across the valley, which is where you are headed, and of the Coma de Vaca plains ahead of you. Just a little past Les Marrades the trail will round a corner and descend to the plains of Coma de Vaca and the Refugi. The entire stretch from the trailhead to the refuge takes about 2:30 hours. Find the trail behind the right side of the refuge and hike up the huge sloped ridge. When you reach a point where the trail turns eastward, about thirty minutes from the refuge, you have reached La Trona de Guardiola. This is a great spot to eat and have a snack. There is a good chance you will see Spanish Ibexes running down the mountainside here.

The next section, the Camí dels Enginyers, is the most strenuous but also the most mind-blowing. For 2:30 hours you will ascend and descend between rocky spires that are scattered along the mountainside. This section provides the wow factor that makes this one of my favorite hikes in the world. The trail is only a few miles but takes a while because the trail weaves in and out of the mountain's crevices and it if you aren't gaining elevation you are losing elevation. However, this is the most beautiful section so take a lot of breaks and take in the view. There is one pass, Pas Equipat, that has a handrail. It's not really necessary but those who are afraid of heights might not like this part. The last half hour of that section flattens out a bit and you can now walk faster. You'll pass a deserted refuge, Refugi Forestal, a long waterfall, and finally, you'll reach a pretty sick looking sign saying Coma De Vaca, with the skeleton of a bull's head hanging on it, pointing to where you came from. It's all downhill from here. You'll see the Alberg chair lift building to the north, that's where you're headed. It's thirty more minutes to get to the town of Nuria just below the hill ahead. Here you can take another rest on the lakeshore in Nuria. There is a ski resort where you can get food if you want. Here you could choose to take the train down but you'll be missing out on hiking the beautiful Old Road.

The last stretch goes down the famous Old Road via the GR10. It takes an hour and a half to get to the bottom. The path is clearly defined, starting from the Ermita Sant Gil chapel. It's a nice easy descent passing under a bridge, past a waterfall, and down some hairpin switchbacks with an amazing view of a steep rock face, train tracks along the mountain, a large granite monolith, colorful forest, a rushing river, and green meadows. When you reach Pont Cremal, stay left heading back toward Daio. Walk along the Trencall Esquera and enjoy the very last views of the mountains before you head into the forest on a steep descent and emerge at the trailhead where you started.

Distance

14 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

5000 ft Gain

Type

Loop

Activities

Hiking

Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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