Peñas de Aia – Aiako Harria

This area is one of singular beauty from different viewpoints; from the geological viewpoint, with its remains of marine animal fossils, more than 300 million years old, from the botanical viewpoint, with its extension of beech and oak trees in the basins of the rivers that cross it, from the historical viewpoint, due to the remains that have been preserved from the main historical events and from the leisure viewpoint, due to the recreational areas and walks.

ENDARA VALLEY AND PAGOGAINA MEADOWS

We take the concrete track that begins next to the information booth and, after about 30 meters, we walk on the dirt track that goes to the right.


Along this path, which runs parallel to the road, we pass through a recreational area set in an old beech tree nursery and arrive at the Gorostardi car park. At the beginning of the track that starts on the left of the road, there is a signpost.

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Following the direction of “San Anton” we continue to the next signpost located at the crossroads of Erroiarriko lepoa.
From here, we can optionally climb up to Erroiarri crest (be careful when passing by the electric tower. DO NOT TOUCH!) from where we can enjoy magnificent views of Endara valley, Aiako Harria and the surrounding mountains. Following the marked route, from the crossroads take the track on the left towards Erlaitz. The path passes through sections of mature oak woods and open areas where new trees have been planted to regenerate the forest.

We will cross several streams bordered with alders. After crossing a small pine grove we get to a concrete track. We take this track to the right, cross a small car park next to a farmhouse and take the dirt track on the left.


We continue along this track until we reach the ridge that descends to Endarlaza. Here we turn left and go uphill along the path that goes up to Pagogaina meadows. We continue between pastures and bushes. Sheep, cows and mares graze freely in these open areas and it is easy to observe vultures and other birds of prey. We cross a small larch grove and pass by the ruins of Pagogaina Fort (19th century).


The path descends until it reaches the starting point again, where the milestone of “La Pena de Vida” (The death penalty) is located. It was placed in the 17th century as a warning: “From here, desertion leads to death penalty”.

BETWEEN MINES AND WARS

Erlaitz fort/ Meazuri mines . AITZONDO WATERFALL
From the information booth, we take the road towards Irun. After about 70 m, we take the dirt track that starts on the left and goes up to the ruins of the Erlaitz barracks.

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At the top of the hill we can see the surrounding landscape and, with due caution, the excavations that were carried out in the 19th century for the construction of the failed Erlaitz fort. We descend a gentle slope towards the Sorotxiki car park from where we take the forest track that descends to the right. The track runs through a pine forest. To avoid getting lost, we recommend following the signs that identify the route. After a series of bends and a stream, we enter the oak forest of Enbido.

It is a mass of American oak planted at the beginning of the twentieth century, with large specimens. We follow the path to the crossroads, where we turn right. We continue the path through five tunnels dug for the mining railway. Magnificent views of Aitzondo waterfall and ravine. After crossing the tunnels we continue along the railway path. Along the way we will see the remains of the mining activity (pitheads, shacks, barracks). Following the trail marks, the path climbs up the track that will take us back to the road, and finally to Gorostardi car park. We cross the road and the recreational area, then we continue along the track that runs parallel to the road. We end up at the starting point next to the Lapurriturri information booth.

ICE-PITS AND MINING

From Elurretxeko Lepoa car park we cross the road and take the wide track that starts on the other side, where we walk between pine and oak groves. At a crossroads, a path begins on the left through a beech plantation.


Optionally, if we continue on the same track, we reach the Arburu rocks from where we can enjoy beautiful views over the bay and Jaizkibel mountain. Otherwise, we follow the marked trail that starts at the beech plantation, always paying attention to the signs. The path goes through different types of tree plantations and native woods, near Lutegiko Borda ice-pit, with the remains of a vault (be cautious when approaching). We continue along the path until we reach the high voltage power line.

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Here we take the path to the left and descend steeply down the power line until we reach Sarjiñola stream. We cross the stream and follow the track that goes up the slope. Following the marks, the path takes us through a woodland resulting from old plantations of oak, pine and cypress. After passing by Sarjiñola recreational area the path reaches the road. We cross it and take the track that enters the Castillo del Inglés estate. We cross the fence and continue on the path next to the ruins of the old mining works.

We pass over the railway bridge and next to the remains of the house of the English engineer who ran the premises (hence the name of the “Englishman’s castle”). We cross the estate and go out through another gate. In the beech forest, next to the path, we find another ice-pit, Aireko Soroa. The path continues its descent until we get to the starting point in Elurretxeko lepoa car park. Optionally, we can also visit the nearby Elurretxe ice-pit. To do this, follow the road towards Irun and, about 70 m from the car park, take the path on the left, on the slope of the road. A few metres away, on the right of the trail and underneath it, you will find the ice-pit.

IRUGURUTZETA FURNACES/ AITZONDO WATERFALL/ MEAKA RURAL ENVIRONMENT

The starting point is the car park of Ibarla, opposite a recreational area. The trail begins at this point and follows the white and green marks all the way. From the car park we cross the stream through a small bridge and arrive at the old mining railway; today it’s a pedestrian-cyclist path. We walk upstream along this path for a while. The trail passes by the Ola forge, the fish farm where the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council raises salmon for the restocking of rivers, and a hydroelectric power station. 

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The Irugurutzeta furnaces are just ahead. Once at the furnaces, we follow the white and green marks towards Aitzondo waterfall. From here we can access another section of the mining railway that connects the waterfall and the furnaces by means of two inclined planes. After a climb up the first inclined plane, which is undoubtedly demanding but not insurmountable, we’ll walk on a flat section of the old railway.

Here we see the remains of the mining works, mainly iron ore, which were active until the beginning of the 20th century. The landscape closes up to form a ravine with steep slopes. After crossing a small bridge, we reach the second inclined plane, made of steps. After this second climb we get to a wide track. From this point, we can reach the base of the Aitzondo waterfall. To do so, we need to follow the track to the left and pass by the ruins of an old mining shack located next to a closed mine entrance. This section requires caution as the path is steep and can be slippery.


Following the marked trail, after the last inclined plane, we turn right along the track. This dirt track leads to a concrete road that will take us downhill. Without deviating from this road, we will reach the Ola cider farm. From here we return by the pedestrian-cyclist path to the starting point in Ibarla car park.


Other trails


The Way of St. James: Inland Route (Irun-Hernani)


Enjoy the past with the new Irugurutzeta App