Cascada de Gerber

Puerto de la Bonaigua / Aiguestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park / Catalonia Pyrenees, Lleida, Spain

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 2
Cascada de Gerber

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Cascada de Gerber was an unexpected waterfalling surprise as we made the long drive across the Pyrenees from Torla to Espot. We didn't even know this waterfall existed when we were planning the Pyrenees part of our trip. However, it wasn't until we were actually making this drive while in the field when our daughter noticed the waterfall as I was busy concentrating on the steep switchbacks while driving. Only at this moment did we decide on the spot to figure out how best to experience this waterfall. And it turned out that we would experience it in two different ways - one right at its base and the other from across the valley along the road.

Let's first start with the route to its base since that was what we started with. This started from a very small trailhead area at the end of one of the switchbacks off the east side of the Bonaigua Pass (see directions below). Once we found the right pullout (confirmed by a small sign) and got out of the car, we followed a lush dirt trail following alongside a small stream. It was a combination of boardwalk and conventional trail. It didn't take long before we reached a junction by an interpretive sign (talking about waterfalls in the Pyrenees while claiming Cascada de Gerber was 125m tall) where we turned right and went up steps leading right up to the mirador. The mirador itself was very wet and misty as it was smack in front of the rush of one of Cascada de Gerber's sloping and twisting drops.

It was so misty at this mirador that I managed to scramble towards a spot that was a little less misty, and that was where I was able to at least take a photo without killing the camera. We had to be real careful here because it was very wet and potentially slippery. In any case, this was an example of being a bit too close to a waterfall so we didn't linger here for long. Probably in lower flow, this might be a good way to experience the falls, but not when we were there in late June 2015. And we were back at the car barely 10 minutes after we had gotten started.

Of course, our misty experience left a lot to be desired so when we continued driving, we were actively looking for pullouts that would've given us a more satisfying view of the falls from across the valley. Fortunately, there was such a pullout (which I'll get into later in the directions), but the problem with the view from here was that there were power lines cutting right in front of the field of view. So in order to clean up the view and get the photo you see at the top of this page, I had to scramble down the grassy embankment from the road and onto a mushy cow pasture full of a minefield of cow dung. Eventually, after a couple minutes of scrambling, I'd get far enough beneath the power lines to get that satisfying view of Cascada de Gerber surrounded by trees covering the mountainside.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

The town of Aínsa was a nice way to break up the mountainous drive between Torla and Espot, as this was one of the charming Aragonese villages the region was known forThe town of Aínsa was a nice way to break up the mountainous drive between Torla and Espot, as this was one of the charming Aragonese villages the region was known for
Looking back in the direction of the dramatic Val d'Aran and Vielha as we were making the steep drive up to the Bonaigua PassLooking back in the direction of the dramatic Val d'Aran and Vielha as we were making the steep drive up to the Bonaigua Pass
The destination of our long drive between Torla and Espot (via the Gerber Valley) was Estany de Sant Maurici (shown here), which was a beautiful (albeit man-made) lake backed by rugged mountainsThe destination of our long drive between Torla and Espot (via the Gerber Valley) was Estany de Sant Maurici (shown here), which was a beautiful (albeit man-made) lake backed by rugged mountains
During the drive between Torla and Espot via Aínsa and Val d'Aran, we spotted some surprise waterfalls along the way such as this one in the Val d'AranDuring the drive between Torla and Espot via Aínsa and Val d'Aran, we spotted some surprise waterfalls along the way such as this one in the Val d'Aran

This was another waterfall we spotted while passing through the dramatic Val d'AranThis was another waterfall we spotted while passing through the dramatic Val d'Aran

Driving towards the Bonaigua PassDriving towards the Bonaigua Pass

The easy-to-miss trailhead for Cascada de Gerber by the road up the Gerber Valley to Bonaigua PassThe easy-to-miss trailhead for Cascada de Gerber by the road up the Gerber Valley to Bonaigua Pass

At first the walk from the trail to the mirador was on a lush dirt path surrounded by many trees and bushAt first the walk from the trail to the mirador was on a lush dirt path surrounded by many trees and bush

Then the trail followed along this boardwalk where it crossed over a stream and some marshy areasThen the trail followed along this boardwalk where it crossed over a stream and some marshy areas

A section where the Cascada de Gerber trail traversed this rock slide areaA section where the Cascada de Gerber trail traversed this rock slide area

The interpretive sign by the trail junction where we would go to the right and up the steps to the miradorThe interpretive sign by the trail junction where we would go to the right and up the steps to the mirador

Climbing up the steps and approaching the misty chaos at the mirador Cascada de GerberClimbing up the steps and approaching the misty chaos at the mirador Cascada de Gerber

As we were getting closer to the mirador, the spray from the Cascada de Gerber was intensifyingAs we were getting closer to the mirador, the spray from the Cascada de Gerber was intensifying

This was probably the cleanest view that I could get of Cascada de Gerber from near its miradorThis was probably the cleanest view that I could get of Cascada de Gerber from near its mirador

Carefully going down the wet steps beneath the mirador Cascada de GerberCarefully going down the wet steps beneath the mirador of the falls

Julie and Tahia back at the car and tight parking space after our short little excursion to Cascada de GerberJulie and Tahia back at the car and tight parking space after our short little excursion to the falls

After the short hike, we then hopped back in the car and went looking for a place to pull over on the C-28 for a better view of Cascada de GerberAfter the short hike, we then hopped back in the car and went looking for a place to pull over on the C-28 for a better view of the falls

This was the view of the Cascada de Gerber from the C-28 roadThis was the view of the falls from the C-28 road

Looking back up the C-28 road towards the Bonaigua Pass from the stopping spot for Cascada de GerberLooking back up the C-28 road towards the Bonaigua Pass from the stopping spot for the falls

Contextual view of the pullout, the cow pasture, and the power lines where I got my best views of Cascada de GerberContextual view of the pullout, the cow pasture, and the power lines where I got my best views of Cascada de Gerber

A clean look (without power lines) of the Cascada de GerberA clean look (without power lines) of the falls

The whole time I was scrambling on the cow pasture, I had to keep an eye out for cow patties like thisThe whole time I was scrambling on the cow pasture, I had to keep an eye out for cow patties like this


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Misty sweep looking at the falls from an unsanctioned spot before scrambling towards the official lookout where I get blasted by its mist


Examining the falls from a distance under power lines so I could better appreciate its full size


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Since we visited the Cascada de Gerber as an unplanned excursion while driving between Torla and Espot, we'll briefly describe the whole driving route that we took, but we'll devote most of this driving description as we get around the Bonaigua Pass area.

From Torla, we headed south on the A-135 for about 2km to the N-260 road. Turning left onto this road, we then followed it further south as it eventually veered eastwards for the next 117km. The town of Aínsa was around the 44km point and the road passed through a scenically narrow gorge along the way.

The easy-to-miss trailhead for Cascada de Gerber by the road up the Gerber Valley to Bonaigua Pass Then, we turned left onto the busy N-230 road headed north into the Val d'Aran (which eventually continued towards the French border). We followed this road to the busy mountain town of Vielha for 34km (including a long tunnel) before turning right onto the C-28 road as it would climb up to the Bonaigua Pass at round 22km east of Vielha. Beyond the ski lifts at Bonaigua Pass, we then descended the C-28 road for the next 7km or so as we'd eventually find the small car park and trailhead for Cascada de Gerber, which was on the very bottommost switchback. So overall, this long drive took us about 3.5 hours not counting the stops.

As for the more contextual view of the falls, we had to continue on the C-28 from this trailhead for another 500m. There was a long pullout on the left side of the road past a gutter, where we were able to stop the car, get out, and scramble lower to get a cleaner look (without the power lines) at the Cascada de Gerber from across the valley.

Beyond this pullout, it was another 13km or so before the C-28 junctioned with the C-13. Turning right onto the C-13, we then drove for about the next 4km to the turnoff for Espot on the Lv-5004 road on our right. We'd follow the Lv-5004 road for the last 7.5km into the town of Espot. Overall, the drive between Cascada de Gerber and Espot would take about 30 minutes.

To give you some additional context, Espot was 204km (3.5 hours drive) east of Torla, 261km (over 3.5 hours drive) northwest of Barcelona, and 311km (under 4 hours drive) northeast of Zaragoza.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES






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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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