A while ago I shared the 3 best trails for beginners , now it is time for some more hardcore Enduro trails. Therefore I present you with what I think are the 5 best Enduro trails you can ride straight out of the front door of your hotel, tent, caravan or camper in the Ainsa and Boltaña area.
Ruta Pumariello y Las Cambras ZZ-001 - 14 km - 480 meters of climbing
This 14 km long trail is the shortest trail on the list, but don’t let the length of the trail fool you. For starters, the climbing on this trails is hard. When you leave Ainsa on a small tarmac road, the first climb on the backside of Bosque de Usana starts easy though a riverbed with little to no water, but after leaving that river it only goes up steeper and steeper, heading into the Sierra de Banaston up to the highest point of the trail Pumariello. Take a little time to regain your breath and prepare for the very technical first descent of this trail. Fornocal stage 7 of the EWS 2015. Short but super fun and the features just keep on coming.
After a steep pista climb up to de Corral de Raso, the beautiful second descent to Las Cambras starts. The descent starts pedaly and flowy but the more you go down the more technical it becomes. Don’t forget too enjoy the stunning views over the lake. Be sure to tell me if can you make it through the big bumpy rockslab at the bottom of the descent :)
After passing Las Cambras you follow the road passing the church of Banaston, where a very short but steep descent waits that brings you at the bottom of a steep valley. Which you have to climb out to get to Usana. Enjoy this little village before you take on the final descent towards Ainsa, I live here! If you see me come and say Hi!
Ruta Miradores de Ainsa y Morillo ZZ-004 - 16,35 km - 624 meters of climbing
A Mirador is Spanish for viewpoint, and this trail has plenty of those. Departing from the bridge over the Ara River, your legs are immediately in for a shock. Just behind the hotel Maison de Ainsa a very steep climb brings you up to a feeding spot for vultures. When you are lucky they might be there. The climbing continues over a pista and after turning left the pista turns into a sendero (singletrack) , after a while the views start to appear. The first part of this trail will meander alongside a cliff edge with amazing views over the lake and the Pyrenees. When you reach the tower ruin, the trail takes a hard right and throws you into a very loose, technical descent ending at the campsite of Morillo de Tou.
Leaving the campsite a long dirt road climb takes you back towards Ainsa. The last bit of climbing goes on technical singletracks over the Partara mountain. Don’t forget to enjoy the views at the Partara bench at 859 meter. The last descent takes you over foresty narrow singletrack with some switchbacks towards the Eña river, which you have to cross to get up on the dirt road that connects to the road back to Ainsa.
Ruta Bajo Peñas ZZ-007 - 25,6 km - 825 meters of climbing
This trail starts the same as Pumariello y Las Cambras ZZ-001, only the Bajo Peñas continues climbing where the ZZ-001 takes a right into the Sierra de Banaston. After a km of climbing your reach a pig farm. You smell it when you get there! At the pig farm the trail takes a left onto singletrack and after a technical climb your reach the first descent. Starting easy it quickly turns into a rocky tricky descent until your reach the beautiful “bobsled” track at the bottom. After crossing a stream and climbing out the canyon you reach Los Molinos. Here starts your 3,5 km road climb to Oncins which lies on the base of the majestic Peña Monteñas, believe me it is worth it.
When you are lucky the restaurant in Oncins is open for coffee or lunch. From Oncins it is almost all down to Ainsa for 10 km over at least 4 different types of terrain. The first part towards Torrelisa is pretty rocky with amazing views over Sobrarbe while you go down. It is worth to stop and look not only in front of you but also to the back. Don’t forget to stop in Torrelisa and have a look around. The village has a water tap, refill here when you are low on water.
After a short up a straight open descent brings you to a forest descent with a lot of flow! It is tons of fun. The bottom of this forest is steep and loose. Now you have to climb your way up to El Pueyo de Araguás. This just takes 5 minutes and after crossing some meadows you reach the famous Zona Zero Badlands. Enjoy the natural flow of the badlands and a cold local beer is waiting at the end of the road in Restaurante Alberto in Ainsa. Cheers!
Ruta La Coasta Doble ZZ-010 - 23,3 km - 976 meters of climbing
This trail starts and finishes in Boltaña and you climb up the same mountain twice. The first climb is the hardest one an takes you over a dirt road full of rocks and pebbles. It will take you approximately 1h15 min depending on your fitness. The reward comes in the form of one of the best and hardest descents of Zona Zero. This was stage 5 of the Enduro World Series 2018. It start of pretty flat and it becomes steeper and steeper when you reach the bottom. It is difficult to find the rhythm in this descent because of all the rocks and slaps you find along the way. The views over the valley and the Pyrenees are amazing.
When you’re back down in Boltaña the trail takes you back up via the road on the east side of the La Cuesta mountain. Again you need to climb for over an hour. This time the climbing is more friendly and you pass the beautiful village of Campodarbe. Here you take a left and a final 15 minutes of dirt road brings you to the top. The descents starts calm and flowy in the open top part of the mountain. On a bit of dirt road the singletrack in the forrest starts. If you love natural flow, then this is your trail. It is all forrest, flow and switchbacks to the bottom of the trail. Again it gets steeper the closer you get to Boltaña. You end at the same spot as the first descent with a big big smile. Oh and in summer your reward is a swim in the turquoise blue water beneath the bridge you have crossed already 3 times, passing the Camping La Gorga.
Ruta Viaje al Coño del Mundo ZZ-020 - 20,6 km - 977 meters of climbing
This is one of the hardest trails of Zona Zero, it brings you all the way to el Coño del Mundo loosely translated the Pussy of the World. It starts from the Monastery hotel just outside Boltaña with a very long climb to the legendary abandoned village Morcat. To make it a little less hard I recommend to climb up to Morcat via the variante (see link). Climb via Sieste to Cas Matias and there true left to Morcat. It will still be hard but a little more enjoyable.
Morcat is an amazing place with jaw dropping views. The first descent towards the canyon of el Coño is the most difficult. Steep, rocky switch backs… everything you want in a technical trail. Once you hit a stream with a canyon on your right side, you reached the famous Coño, the trails goes right but , to see the pussy in its full glory you go straight and ride around it, until you see a mountain bike sign that says to leave your bike behind (Well that was a sentence I never thought writing haha). Here you walk down and you enter the canyon where you can enjoy the beautiful pools and el Coño del Mundo.
Check out MCTrail Riders video for a close to real experience of this trail.
After you have enjoyed this spectacle the trail continues in the forest along side the cliff face of the canyon. Again very technical and passing more pools on your way down. Now it is time to climb your way back up to Sieste. This singletrack goes up and down and there will be some hike-a-bike parts. The trail stays left of the village and brings you to the final descent. The Vuelta a La Madelena is great descent to end a long day on the bike.
These are my five recommendations around Ainsa and Boltaña. The trails are for the intermediate to expert Enduro rider that doesn't mind climbing. They have everything you want in a epic day of Enduro mountain biking. These are just 5 trails of the 1.000 kms of trails here in Zona Zero. It would be my pleasure to show you around in a day or days of guiding!