About Cascada de Gerber
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.
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.
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.
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