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Monastario San Juan de la Pena s(u)

It's not a pass, not even an Alto, But it turned out to be the highest and most interesting part of my route over Puerto de Oroel. There are two monasteries along the way, and the scenery is a happening thing further down on the northern side.

1.START-END SOUTH:Triste on shore of Embalse de la Pena, Rio Gallego
2.START-END SOUTH ALT:jct with route to Puerto Oroel
3.TOP:Monastario San Juan de la Pena s(u)
4.Santa Cruz de la Seros
5.START-END NORTH:jct N240 Hu-V-2301, not far from Rio Aragon


From South:
A1205 leaves the river Gallegos and climbs to Bernues, a picturesque collection of old houses around a church. At the exit of the village, A1205 continues to Puerto Oroel. But the profile continues on A1603. An ever so gentle traverse follows up the maze of green aunt hills. Whenever you think you reach a summit, there is another one just a little higher, around the bend.

The turnoff to Botaya is one of those summt-appearance points, until you actually get there. By this time the road traverses the highest ridge, flanking the valley of the Rio Aragon, the main ridge of the Pyrenees forms an imposing backdrop behind the valley.

Before reaching the actual top the road enters a forest and heads straight for the facade of a hermitage in the forest. The Monastario San Juan de la Pena is the highest point, though you would not have guessed it from the deep forest surrounding it.The building itself strikes me as having a little bit of an institutional look, with a made-for-movies-like facade attached to one end.

From North. But this is the interesting side from a scenery pespective. It is not just the backdrop of the Pyrenees across the valley, but also the best distant views of Monte Oroel, which looks like the stereotypical view fo the Titanic sinking fast.

The second monastery looks maybe a bit more intriguing, at least to an average tourist like myself. It is a smaller structure built into an alcove.

Back on the bike, the road makes a large U turn traverse inside a low hanging valley with great views downvalley.It is a fast descend. Another village on the way down is worth a look: Santa Cruz de la Seros

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

Dayride with this point as highest summit


( < Col St Pierre Martin | Alto de Zuriza > )

Mon San Juan de la Pena s(u) , Puerto de Oroel : just north of Jaca > A1205 south <> out and back a few km beyond Parador de Oroel >> Puerto de Oroel > A1603 north > Mon San Juan de la Pena s(u) > Cruz de la Serra < N240 east back to starting point north of Jaca : 43.4miles with 3990ft of climbing in 4:22hrs (garmin etrex30 r5:22.10.18).
Notes: the day also included a hike to the top of Pico Oroel: hike+bike:
48.3miles with 5800ft of climbing in 6:01hrs