Cola de Caballo, Grados de Soaso, Cascadas del Estrecho, Cascada de la Cueva, y Cascada de Arripas

Torla / Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido / Aragon Pyrenees, Huesca, Spain

About Cola de Caballo, Grados de Soaso, Cascadas del Estrecho, Cascada de la Cueva, y Cascada de Arripas


Hiking Distance: 18km round trip
Suggested Time: 7-8 hours

Date first visited: 2015-06-17
Date last visited: 2015-06-17

Waterfall Latitude: 42.65094
Waterfall Longitude: 0.01532

The Cola de Caballo (horse’s tail) was the destination of perhaps the quintessential Spanish Pyrenees experience.

Indeed, the all-day excursion seemed to have it all – a picturesque valley, dramatic mountains, waterfall saturation, and even a beautiful glacial cirque.

Ordesa_729_06172015 - Cola de Caballo Waterfall at the foot of the Circo de Soaso
Cola de Caballo Waterfall at the foot of the Circo de Soaso

By the way, cirques (or circos in Spanish) seemed to be a signature feature throughout the Pyreness range shared between Spain and France.

They were essentially a steep three-sided valley head depressed by a glacier that had since disappeared over time.

The Cola de Caballo waterfall itself was at the base of the cirque near the start of the Río Arazas.

This river ran through the Ordesa Valley over several more gushing waterfalls – Gradas del Soaso, Cascadas del Estrecho, Cascada de la Cueva, and Cascada de Arripas.

There were also some surprise waterfalls flanking the valley over temporary streams and tributaries ultimately feeding the river, which further augmented the experience.

Ordesa_580_06172015 - The Gradas del Soaso, which were a very scenic stretch of cascades on the Río Arazas
The Gradas del Soaso, which were a very scenic stretch of cascades on the Río Arazas

If ever there was a must-do waterfalling excursion of the Pyrenees, I’d have to say this one would probably be it.

Summary of the Epic Spanish Pyrenees Waterfalls Hike

For starters, the hike from the Pradera de Ordesa car park to the Cola de Caballo Waterfall was on the order of 18km round trip with a 550m gain in elevation over this stretch (according to my GPS logs).

Unlike the Cascada de Cotatuero hike, the hike was less steep, wider, and contained fewer dropoff or scrambling hazards.

Therefore, I encountered were many other visitors partaking in the moderate physical challenge despite the long distance of this hike.

Ordesa_606_06172015 - Context of the cliffs surrounding the upper end of the Ordesa Valley along the glacially-floured Río Arazas river
Context of the cliffs surrounding the upper end of the Ordesa Valley along the glacially-floured Río Arazas river

I noticed large groups (from loud kiddie groups to self-organized seniors to international tour groups) as well as smaller parties and individuals alike.

Perhaps the height of the traffic and activity was in the early afternoon when the noticeably busy trail seemed to have an atmospheric buzz about it.

That said, there were still moments of relative peace and relative solitude though this was more in the early morning hours before much of Spain would wake up from its traditionally night-owl lifestyle.

Nevertheless, no matter where in the trail I was, it seemed like there was a photo-op waiting to happen.

Ordesa_669_06172015 - Looking ahead towards the Circo del Soaso (the Soaso Cirque), which marked the head of the Ordesa Valley and the source of the Río Arazas
Looking ahead towards the Circo del Soaso (the Soaso Cirque), which marked the head of the Ordesa Valley and the source of the Río Arazas

In fact, I wound up spending a leisurely 7 hours and 20 minutes on this hike, which included frequent photo stops, a nearly half-hour lunch break, plus several detours or spur trails.

I probably would have missed many of these hidden lookouts if I didn’t take my time here.

There were also many different options to vary up this hike or even to extend it as part of a partial loop.

These options were also opportunities to deviate from the main trail and return to peace and solitude or find alternate ways to experience the Ordesa Valley.

Ordesa_895_06172015 - Context of the trail through the Ordesa Valley along the Río Arazas while backed by the gorgeous cliffs of the Faja Racón, Circo de Carriata, and Clavijas de Cotatuero
Context of the trail through the Ordesa Valley along the Río Arazas while backed by the gorgeous cliffs of the Faja Racón, Circo de Carriata, and Clavijas de Cotatuero

So with that said, the route that I took started from the Pradera de Ordesa (see directions below) and ended there.

Before getting into the words-eye description of the trail, I thought I’d provide a list and time-line of the landmarks along the way.

That way, you would have a better idea of what to expect and how long it would take…

  • 9:10am – Started the hike from the Pradera de Ordesa car park
  • 10:00am – Arrived at the Mirador de Cascada de Arripas
  • 10:15am – Trail junction where I left the main trail and pursued lookouts to the next two waterfalls
  • 10:20am – Arrived at the Mirador de Cascada de la Cueva
  • 10:30am – Arrived at the lowermost lookout of the Cascadas del Estrecho
  • 10:45am – Rejoined the main trail
  • 11:05am – Leaving the uppermost of the lookouts of the Cascadas del Estrecho
  • 11:10am – Abrigo in Bosque de las Hayas
  • 11:20am – Reached junction with the connecting trail to Cascada de Cotatuero via Los Canarellos
  • 12:00pm – Started to see the waterfalls of Gradas de Soaso
  • 12:30pm – Leaving the uppermost tiers of the Gradas de Soaso
  • 1:15pm – Arrived at the Cola de Caballo
  • 1:40pm – Lunch break over and started to walk back
  • 3:05pm – Back at the trail I didn’t take earlier (near Cascadas del Estrecho)
  • 3:15pm – Back at the trail junction where I left the main trail earlier this morning
  • 3:30pm – Arrived at the Mirador de los Bucardos (on other side of the river)
  • 4:00pm – Arrived at the Mirador de Circo de Cotatuero
  • 4:10pm – Passed by La Piedra de Siete Faus
  • 4:25pm – Returned to the car park at Pradera de Ordesa

Trail Description – from Car Park to Cascada de Arripas

The initial 700m from the Pradera de Ordesa was flat, wide, and followed along the north side of the Río Arazas to a signposted fork.

Ordesa_343_06162015 - Context of one of the footbridges over the Río Arazas while early on in the long hike to the Cola de Caballo at the Circo del Soaso
Context of one of the footbridges over the Río Arazas while early on in the long hike to the Cola de Caballo at the Circo del Soaso

I kept right at the fork to stay on the main trail, which continued to meander along the river past a couple of bridges (which would provide opportunities to vary up the hike on the way back).

Note that the left fork went up to Cascada de Cotatuero, which was a very different hike that I did a write-up about.

The main trail eventually started to climb up to a signposted lookout for the Cascada de Arripas after 2.4km from the trail junction (or over 3km from the trailhead).

The view was across the gorge towards the gushing falls dwarfed by the height of the valley walls.

Ordesa_372_06172015 - Context of the Cascada de Arripas on the Río Arazas in context with the cliffs crowing the rim of the Ordesa Valley
Context of the Cascada de Arripas on the Río Arazas in context with the cliffs crowing the rim of the Ordesa Valley

Beyond this lookout, the trail continued to climb a few switchbacks more for another 300m to a signposted trail junction.

Going left at this trail junction would have continued directly towards the Gradas del Soaso and Cola de Caballo (i.e. the main trail).

However, going right at this junction descended towards lookouts for both the Cascada de la Cueva and the Cascadas del Estrecho.

Trail Description – Option to get close to Cascada de la Cueva and Cascadas del Estrecho

The sign at the trail junction made it seem like an either-or proposition where I had to choose one path or the other but possibly miss out on something.

Ordesa_391_06172015 - The trail junction where the path on the right led down closer to the Río Arazas at the Cascada de la Cueva and the Cascadas del Estrecho while the path on the left was the main trail continuing to climb up to the Gradas del Soaso and ultimately the Circo del Soaso
The trail junction where the path on the right led down closer to the Río Arazas at the Cascada de la Cueva and the Cascadas del Estrecho while the path on the left was the main trail continuing to climb up to the Gradas del Soaso and ultimately the Circo del Soaso

However, it turned out that I was able to go to the lookouts of both the Cascada de la Cueva and the Cascadas del Estrecho before rejoining the main trail up above.

No major backtracking was required for this detour.

The end of the short spur to the Cascada de la Cueva lookout was 200m beyond the junction off the main trail.

I wasn’t sure why they named this waterfall after a cave (since cueva means cave in Spanish).

After all, I didn’t see any caves around the falls, but it was a pretty two-tiered cascade that seemed very friendly for long exposure photographs given that it was still under the morning shadow during my visit.

Ordesa_404_06172015 - The attractive Cascada de la Cueva
The attractive Cascada de la Cueva

Another 300m beyond the spur to the Cascada de la Cueva was a lookout for the Cascadas del Estrecho.

It turned out that this lookout would be the first of several lookouts for this waterfall, which itself seemed to be comprised of several tiers.

This lookout was of the bottommost drop of Cascadas del Estrecho, and it seemed like this would be the tallest of its many drops.

After having my fill of this lower lookout, I then followed an unsigned connecting trail that steeply (i.e. burned my calves) climbed back up to the main trail.

Ordesa_415_06172015 - The lowermost tiers of Cascadas del Estrecho
The lowermost tiers of Cascadas del Estrecho

Once I was up there, I then encountered another two or three spur trails leading back down towards the river that afforded me additional views of the Cascadas del Estrecho and its other upper tiers.

Beyond the last of these lookouts, the trail would continue to climb gradually through a much quieter forested area called the Bosque de las Hayas.

Trail Description – from Bosque de las Hayas to the Gradas del Soaso

About 500m from the last of the spurs to Cascadas del Estrecho, I noticed an abrigo (or hut) within the serene forested setting of el Bosque de las Hayas (which I think means “the forest of the beeches” or “beech forest”).

This probably served as a little rest stop or shelter if there was bad weather.

Ordesa_430_06172015 - Making it back up to the main trail after the interlude to both the Cascada de la Cueva and the Cascadas del Estrecho
Making it back up to the main trail after the interlude to both the Cascada de la Cueva and the Cascadas del Estrecho

About another 600m past the hut, I then encountered a signposted trail junction where the uphill path on the left led up Los Canarellos towards the Cascada de Cotatuero.

This was the second of the trail junctions leading closer to the Cascada de Cotatuero, which suggested that the path to Los Canarellos could have been done as a loop hike or option.

Keeping on the main trail past this junction, it would remain relatively quiet for perhaps the next 2km.

In this stretch, there wouldn’t be another waterfall of note on the Río Arazas until I reached the Gradas del Soaso.

Ordesa_478_06172015 - Approaching the abrigo (hut) within the Bosque de las Hayas (beech forest)
Approaching the abrigo (hut) within the Bosque de las Hayas (beech forest)

Along the way, there was a small tributary waterfall near a bridge.

There were also some overhanging cliffs that still hovered over the trail providing some shelter from the sun as the trail was gradually leaving the shade of the tree cover.

As the tree cover was going away, the picturesque cliffs flanking the Ordesa Valley could be seen.

Once I got to the Gradas del Soaso (which was really a long series of cascades tumbling one after another), there were a handful of spur trails and lookouts leading closer to the various parts of the cascade collective.

Ordesa_603_06172015 - Context of the trail to the Cola de Caballo and the cascading Gradas del Soaso on the Río Arazas
Context of the trail to the Cola de Caballo and the cascading Gradas del Soaso on the Río Arazas

It was here that I was able to better appreciate the bright blue color of the water as well as its clarity.

I also welcomed the break from the silence that had persisted for the previous 2km between this spot and the Cascadas del Estrecho.

Trail Description – from Gradas del Soaso to Cola de Caballo

As the trail continued climbing above the Gradas del Soaso, the valley once again started to open up.

That was when I finally got my first glimpse of the snow-topped Circo del Soaso just up ahead at the very head of the valley.

Ordesa_680_06172015 - Looking up at a series of side cascades feeding the Río Arazas nearby the Circo del Soaso
Looking up at a series of side cascades feeding the Río Arazas nearby the Circo del Soaso

Indeed, the last 2km of this hike was very picturesque with the cirque looming up ahead as I made my approach.

Meanwhile, I was flanked by tall cliffs as the valley was closing in on the cirque.

On the south-facing cliffs, I started to see countless cascades tumbling down together as they’d eventually feed the Río Arazas.

It was also up here that I noticed cows grazing in the valley, which I thought was kind of strange considering that they’d allow some degree of agriculture in a national park.

The Cola de Caballo waterfall was mostly unseen to this point due to a hill fronting the cirque.

Ordesa_759_06172015 - Finally making it up to the fan-shaped Cola de Caballo Waterfall right at the base of the Circo del Soaso
Finally making it up to the fan-shaped Cola de Caballo Waterfall right at the base of the Circo del Soaso

But once I got past that hill, that was when I finally laid eyes on the entirety of the attractive fan-shaped falls.

While I was enjoying a half-hour picnic lunch in front of the Cola de Caballo, I noticed that the trails continued to climb up above the cirque.

I didn’t go up there though so I can’t say more on it, and so this marked my turnaround point (9km from the trailhead).

Trail Description – Returning via the South Side of the Río Arazas

As I hiked back the way I came from the Circo del Soaso, I pretty much made a beeline towards the Cascadas del Estretcho.

Ordesa_776_06172015 - Starting the long return hike to Pradera de Ordesa from this footbridge fronting the Cola de Caballo at the Circo del Soaso
Starting the long return hike to Pradera de Ordesa from this footbridge fronting the Cola de Caballo at the Circo del Soaso

However, instead of descending back down to the lowest lookout of the Cascadas del Estrecho as well as the Cascada de la Cueva, I persisted on the main trail (a stretch that I had skipped earlier this morning).

The main trail gradually made its way back down to the original trail junction where I had left the main trail towards Cascadas de la Cueva and del Estrecho earlier this morning.

It was too bad that there weren’t any lookouts or openings in the vegetation along this stretch because this was probably the best spot to have a dramatic view of the Ordesa Valley looking towards the Pradera de Ordesa way off in the distance.

As such, I was only able to get a partial view of the valley where one needed to scramble in order to even earn this suboptimal view (as pictured above).

Ordesa_839_06172015 - Partial view of the Ordesa Valley as seen from an informal lookout (via scrambling) that would have been much better than the Mirador de los Bucardos further downstream
Partial view of the Ordesa Valley as seen from an informal lookout (via scrambling) that would have been much better than the Mirador de los Bucardos further downstream

When I encountered the next trail junction, I got off the main trail and went across the Puente de Arripas, which crossed the Río Arazas upstream of Cascada de Arripas.

Beyond the bridge, there was a signposted spur trail (though not very well-defined) leading to the so-called Mirador de los Bucardos.

This lookout contained a partial view of the Ordesa Valley and seemed more oriented towards one side of the Circo de Cotatuero.

Then, I continued on the trail now following the south side of the Río Arazas for the next 1.6km or so.

Ordesa_899_06172015 - Distant view of the Cascada de Cotatuero from across the Río Arazas. This was the lookout that Julie and Tahia were at yesterday when I actually hiked closer to that waterfall
Distant view of the Cascada de Cotatuero from across the Río Arazas. This was the lookout that Julie and Tahia were at yesterday when I actually hiked closer to that waterfall

I’d eventually reach a mirador of the Circo de Cotatuero with a very distant view of the Cascada de Cotatuero.

This was the very lookout that Julie and Tahia went to yesterday while I was doing the harder hike up to the Cascada de Cotatuero.

I then continued for the remainder of the hike for the last 1.6km as the scenery opened up and revealed dramatic cliffs towering over the river.

There was also a curious landmark along the way called La Piedra de los 7 Faus.

Ordesa_928_06172015 - The curious la Piedra de los 7 Faus
The curious la Piedra de los 7 Faus

I wasn’t sure what it was about, but it seemed like a tree was growing out of the rock there.

Anyways, the eye-candy along the open part of this trail made me question whether I should have bothered with the north side trail at all earlier on this morning.

After all, it was mostly closed in by trees, which prevented any real views from happening along that stretch.

Eventually, the trail crossed a bridge back over the Río Arazas with dramatic views both upstream and downstream.

Ordesa_951_06172015 - Looking back upstream along the Río Arazas from the last of the footbridges just before returning to the Pradera de Ordesa to end the epic hike for the Circo del Soaso and the Cola de Caballo
Looking back upstream along the Río Arazas from the last of the footbridges just before returning to the Pradera de Ordesa to end the epic hike for the Circo del Soaso and the Cola de Caballo

And finally a few paces beyond the bridge was the car park at the Pradera de Ordesa again, which marked the end of this very long day of hiking.

Authorities

The Cola de Caballo and the Waterfalls of the Ordesa Valley reside in the Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido near the town of Torla in the province of Huesca, Spain. They are administered by the Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may want to visit this website.

Ordesa_319_06162015 - Leaving the Pradera de Ordesa and starting the all-day hike on the north side of the Río Arazas en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_321_06162015 - Hiking on the initial stretch of flat trail within the cool morning shadows, which helped keep me moving quickly en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_325_06162015 - Looking across the Río Arazas up towards the north-facing cliffs bathed in the early morning light during the early part of my long hike to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_329_06162015 - Continuing along the shady and forested trail in the early stages of the long hike to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_331_06162015 - Looking up past the trees towards the south-facing cliffs crowning the Ordesa Valley as I continued the hike along the northern banks of the river to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_336_06162015 - The first hikers that would pass me while I was busy taking my time photographing the scenery during the Cola de Caballo hike
Ordesa_338_06162015 - Looking back up at the wrinkled cliffs of Faja Racón and Faja Blanquera on the west side of the Circo de Cotatuero
Ordesa_339_06162015 - Looking back at the context of the trail and the north-facing cliffs crowning the Ordesa Valley during the early stages of my hike to Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_350_06162015 - Looking upstream on the Río Arazas towards the south-facing cliffs bathed in the morning light as I continued past the Puente Sarratieto en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_362_06162015 - The trail started to climb a little beyond the Puente Sarratieto
Ordesa_363_06162015 - A small cascade on a side creek seen along the way to Cascada de Arripas somewhere beyond the Puente Sarratieto on the northern side of the river
Ordesa_368_06162015 - Approaching the mirador for the Cascada de Arripas
Ordesa_377_06172015 - Looking down at a group of senior hikers who have caught up to me at the mirador de Cascada de Arripas
Ordesa_380_06172015 - Looking down at the Cascada de Arripas on the Río Arazas from the mirador
Ordesa_383_06172015 - Contextual view of the Cascada de Arripas backed by the north-facing cliffs crowing the Ordesa Valley as seen from the mirador
Ordesa_385_06172015 - Looking across from the mirador de Cascada de Arripas towards what turned out to be the overhanging mirador de los Bucardos. Seeing this opened up my mind to considering the trail that would lead me to that side of the river on the return
Ordesa_387_06172015 - Beyond the mirador for Cascada de Arripas, the trail climbed high enough to start getting into the warmth of the morning sun
Ordesa_389_06172015 - Looking back across the Río Arazas towards the north-facing cliffs that were uphill around the Cascada de Arripas
Ordesa_393_06172015 - Approaching the mirador de Cascada de la Cueva
Ordesa_408_06172015 - Descending down to the mirador de Cascadas del Estrecho (the first one)
Ordesa_409_06172015 - Looking up the Río Arazas towards the lowermost drops of the Cascadas del Estrecho
Ordesa_418_06172015 - Different contextual look upstream at the attractive bottom tier of Cascadas del Estrecho and smaller intermediate rapids and cascades further downstream
Ordesa_419_06172015 - Going up the steep climb linking back up to the main trail from the bottom of Cascadas del Estrecho
Ordesa_421_06172015 - Continuing up the narrow and steep climb back up to the main trail from the Cascadas del Estrecho
Ordesa_423_06172015 - Still on the rough and steep ascent above the lowermost of the Cascadas del Estrecho towards the return to the main trail
Ordesa_432_06172015 - Looking down towards another spur trail descending steeply to another one of the overlooks of the Cascadas del Estrecho
Ordesa_433_06172015 - Continuing further along a descending side trail leading to a different mirador of Cascadas del Estrecho
Ordesa_435_06172015 - Direct look upstream at one of the middle tiers of Cascadas del Estrecho from the end of the side trail
Ordesa_436_06172015 - Looking downstream towards the Río Arazas where there was a bold rainbow in the mist of the Cascadas del Estrecho
Ordesa_441_06172015 - Looking downstream over the bottommost drop of Cascadas del Estrecho
Ordesa_456_06172015 - Going back up the side trail from the overlook of the middle tiers of the Cascadas del Estrecho to the main trail again
Ordesa_457_06172015 - Taking yet another spur trail leading to more miradores de Cascadas del Estrecho
Ordesa_465_06172015 - From the uppermost lookouts of Cascadas del Estrecho, I managed to see this rainbow in the mist from one of its upper tiers
Ordesa_476_06172015 - Looking downstream from somewhere near the top of the Cascadas del Estrecho as I entered el Bosque de las Hayas, which was a calm section of the long hike to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_481_06172015 - This was the signposted turnoff leading up to the left for the Faja Canarellos and Cascada de Cotatuero. So this was the second trail junction with an opportunity to hike back up to the Cascada de Cotatuero, but I didn't need to take it to get to Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_485_06172015 - As the trail became sunnier, I started to see more cliffs towering above the Ordesa Valley en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_492_06172015 - This section of the Cola de Caballo trail passed under some overhanging cliffs and alcoves which actually provided some welcome relief from the increasing heat of the morning sun
Ordesa_495_06172015 - Context of the now-sun-drenched trail to the Cola de Caballo backed by high cliffs crowning the Ordesa Valley
Ordesa_499_06172015 - Looking back down in the other direction towards the thinning out Bosque de las Hayas as I continued making my way up to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_502_06172015 - This was another side cascade backing this bridge as I was getting closer to the Gradas de Soaso en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_514_06172015 - The Cola de Caballo Trail now starting to skirt alongside the northern banks of the Río Arazas
Ordesa_525_06172015 - Looking back towards the trail as I continued further upstream along the Río Arazas en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_529_06172015 - Starting to see some of the waterfalls belonging to the Gradas del Soaso up ahead en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_536_06172015 - Looking upstream along the Río Arazas towards the cascading Gradas del Soaso
Ordesa_544_06172015 - Finally after a long quiet stretch after Cascadas del Estrecho, I started to approach the Gradas de Soaso, where there was this out-of-place jeep parked near it (though they were park employees)
Ordesa_542_06172015 - Looking back at one of the few hikers that was already going back the other way this morning (on the Cola de Caballo Trail)
Ordesa_552_06172015 - Frontal look at the bottommost tier of the Gradas del Soaso
Ordesa_560_06172015 - Looking downstream along the clear waters of the Río Arazas from near the foot of the Gradas del Soaso
Ordesa_569_06172015 - Looking downstream along the Río Arazas from near the brink of the Gradas del Soaso en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_587_06172015 - Looking back over the brink of the bottom tier of Gradas del Soaso
Ordesa_597_06172015 - Looking down at the long line of stair-stepping cascades of the Gradas del Soaso
Ordesa_611_06172015 - Direct look at one of the uppermost tiers of Gradas del Soaso on the Río Arazas
Ordesa_616_06172015 - Looking down at the ascending trail in context with the Río Arazas as I continued the long hike to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_620_06172015 - Contextual side view of part of the Gradas del Soaso during my long hike to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_628_06172015 - The trail flanking the Gradas del Soaso as it has climbed mostly above that series of cascades by this point
Ordesa_632_06172015 - Looking down over the brink of the Gradas del Soaso en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_642_06172015 - Looking up ahead towards a tall and ephemeral-looking cascade feeding the Río Arazas en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_649_06172015 - Looking back down the trail where it started to open up beyond the Gradas del Soaso en route to the Circo del Soaso and the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_652_06172015 - Approaching the Circo del Soaso where the Cola de Caballo was hiding around a hillside up ahead
Ordesa_662_06172015 - Closer look at the Circo de Soaso, which was still clinging onto its snow this late into June
Ordesa_658_06172015 - I started to notice cascades tumbling down the south-facing cliffs as I was getting closer to the Circo del Soaso
Ordesa_667_06172015 - Looking directly upstream at a wider side cascade tumbling down the south-facing cliffs towards the Río Arazas as I was getting even closer to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_670_06172015 - Looking up at even more segmented cascades tumbling down the south-facing cliffs towards the Río Arazas as I got even closer to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_672_06172015 - The side cascade that I saw earlier on in the open valley was now revealing more tiers of itself as I passed before it en route to the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_677_06172015 - Getting closer to the Circo del Soaso and the Cola de Caballo, which was still unseen from here
Ordesa_687_06172015 - Looking up at more cascades down the southern-facing walls of the Circo del Soaso that started to come into view as well as an abrigo
Ordesa_688_06172015 - Looking back across some boulders in the head of the Ordesa Valley where a footbridge traversed some of the side creeks that the waterfalls coming down the south-facing cliffs consolidated into before joining the Río Arazas
Ordesa_701_06172015 - Contextual look up at the full height of some of the side waterfalls near the Circo del Soaso
Ordesa_705_06172015 - Getting even closer to the Circo del Soaso with some tiny intermediate cascades on the main river
Ordesa_707_06172015 - Looking across the valley towards other tiny cascades on the north-facing valley walls
Ordesa_708_06172015 - Hiking around a fairly sizeable herd of cows as I was approaching the Circo del Soaso
Ordesa_716_06172015 - Looking back towards the Ordesa Valley as I was getting even closer to the Circo del Soaso. Now, the cliff are starting to show the valley's contours
Ordesa_718_06172015 - Finally approaching the Cola de Caballo right at the base of the Circo de Soaso
Ordesa_720_06172015 - Closer look at the Cola de Caballo with some people near the base of the falls for a sense of scale
Ordesa_722_06172015 - Contextual look at the Cola de Caballo backed by some of the cliffs of the Circo del Soaso
Ordesa_725_06172015 - The footbridge fronting the Cola de Caballo
Ordesa_765_06172015 - This was my view of the Cola de Caballo from my lunch spot
Ordesa_782_06172015 - Last look at the Cola de Caballo before I made the return hike back to the Pradera de Ordesa
Ordesa_800_06172015 - The scenery of the open valley as I was now leaving the Circo del Soaso
Ordesa_810_06172015 - Passing by the abrigo near the Circo de Soaso as I was making my way back down the valley towards the trailhead
Ordesa_829_06172015 - Back at the section of the trail near the Gradas del Soaso
Ordesa_836_06172015 - Continuing the descent on the return hike as the trail now hugged tall cliffs
Ordesa_858_06172015 - Approaching the mirador de los Bucardos, which I had observed earlier in the morning from the mirador de Cascada de Arripas
Ordesa_863_06172015 - This was the view from the mirador de los Bucardos
Ordesa_865_06172015 - Looking upstream along the Río Arazas from somewhere downstream from the mirador de los Bucardos
Ordesa_871_06172015 - Context of the trail following the southern banks of the Río Arazas with the south-facing cliffs of the Ordesa Valley in the background
Ordesa_878_06172015 - Another contextual look at the trail along the southern banks of the Río Arazas with attractive cliffs in the background
Ordesa_900_06172015 - Contextual view across the Río Arazas up towards the Cascada de Cotatuero coming down the north-facing cliffs
Ordesa_906_06172015 - Focused look at the Cascada de Cotatuero as seen from the mirador on the south side of the Río Arazas
Ordesa_912_06172015 - Full context of the mirador de Circo de Cotatuero on the south side of the Río Arazas
Ordesa_925_06172015 - Back within the shade of the trees along the southern banks of the Río Arazas as I was getting to the home stretch of the long Cola de Caballo hike
Ordesa_930_06172015 - Continuing along the benign trail along the southern banks of the Río Arazas in the home stretch of the long Cola de Caballo hike
Ordesa_938_06172015 - Context of the south side trail along the Río Arazas and the contours of the Ordesa Valley
Ordesa_947_06172015 - Looking downstream over the Río Arazas from the last bridge before the Pradera de Ordesa thereby ending the Cola de Caballo hike
Ordesa_962_06172015 - Returning to Torla where Julie and Tahia had been taking an easier day while I did the long solo hike to the Cola de Caballo

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The Cola de Caballo hike shared the same trailhead as that of the hike up to the Cascada de Cotatuero.

I won’t reproduce the directions here, so see the directions on the Cascada de Cotatuero page for how to drive to the trailhead from San Sebastian.

Ordesa_014_06162015 - Context of the narrow road between Torla and the Pradera de Ordesa, which was the main car park for the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park
Context of the narrow road between Torla and the Pradera de Ordesa, which was the main car park for the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park

That said, to provide you with a little more geographical context, Torla was 94km (90 minutes drive) north of Huesca, 163km (about 2 hours drive) north of Zaragoza, 166km (about 2.5 hours drive) east of Pamplona, 204km (3.5 hours drive) west of Espot, and 322km (4 hours drive) northwest of Barcelona.

360 degree sweep of the Circo de Soaso, including the last waterfall on the long Ordesa Valley hike, then ending with zoom-ins of many other cascades tumbling down the mountains


360 sweep from near many cascades providing the context of the Circo de Soaso including a glimpse of Cola de Caballo


Upstream to downstream sweeps of the multiple stair-stepping cascades showing cliffs, clear pools, and even a hint of a rainbow all seen from its precarious brink


Two 360-degree sweeps (one from higher up) showing the Rio Azaras and the main plunge of the falls


Looking down at the main plunges (with rainbow) from two different lookouts


Left to right sweep of both the mirador, the surrounding cliffs, and the waterfall itself on the Rio Arazas

Tagged with: torla, ordessa, ordesa, monte perdido, aragon, pyrenees, huesca, pradera de ordesa, spain, waterfall, cola de caballo, gradas de soaso, estrecho, cascada de la cueva, cascada de arripas



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.