Cinca River

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Cinca River

Stunning river born in the Ordesa Park, Huesca (Spain). It’s the Pyrenean river with the highest flow. In this area, its crystalline blue water has created several spectacular natural pools (Gorgas de Puértolas).

The Cinca river is located in the northeast of Spain. It’s in the province of Huesca, except for an area near its mouth, which is in Lérida. It’s born at an altitude of 2600 m, in the frozen Lake Marboré, in a glacial valley in the Ordesa National Park, 100 m from the French border.

The river Cinca is not a long river (177 km), but it has a very interesting course. It starts its descent, passing the ‘Balcón del Valle de la Pineta’. At an altitude of 2,500 m, the valley has an almost vertical drop of 1,100 m forming the impressive Cinca Waterfall, the largest in Spain.

In Bielsa, it joins the river Barrosa and further on around 28 rivers flow into the Cinca. Most of these are short, as they descend from the steep mountains around. Some of the best known are the Bellós river, the Ara, Cinqueta, Yaga, Yesa, Ara, Vero and Alcanadre.

The Ara River and the Cinca come together in the medieval town of Aínsa. Immediately downstream is the Mediano reservoir, followed by the El Grado reservoir. From El Grado onwards, the valley takes on the characteristics of the Aragonese Somontano, with more arid plateaus.

Here the Cinca descends 100 km until it reaches Massalcoreig, where it joins the River Segre. A bit further down, it reaches the River Ebro at Mequinenza. This area is called Aiguabarreig (‘Mixed Waters’) because of the mixture of the colours of the waters of both rivers. The amount of water at this point attracts canoeists from all over the world to come here to train for competitions. Finally, after many kilometres, the Ebro flows into the Mediterranean.

The Cinca is most spectacular in the Pyrenees area, where it has crystalline water. Between the villages of Lafortunada and Escalona, there are 7 stunning natural pools in the river called Gorgas de Puértolas. These bathing places in the Cinca are numbered (Gorgas de Puértolas I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII). They are easy to reach and there is a distance of 1 or 2 km between them.

road how to get to Cinca river and parking

The A-138 runs alongside the river Cinca between Escalona and Lafortunada. There is a car park next to the road in each of the 7 Gorgas de Puértolas.

how to get to natural pools in huesca

Gorgas de Puértolas (I) is about 2 km from Escalona.

Cinca river swimming holes

About 2 km upriver is Gorgas de Puértolas (II), with stunning deep natural pools.

río-Cinca natural pools

The colour of the water is impressive.

Cinca river and Pyrenees

The Pyrenees frame these 7 natural pools, called ‘gorgas’ in Huesca.

Cinca river and mountains

The water is crystal clear here, as the river is born in a natural park a few km to the north.

río-Cinca Gorgas de Puértolas (III) pools

The swimming holes of Gorgas de Puértolas (III) are a few km upstream.

wild swimming río-Cinca

The most popular outdoor sports in this area are swimming, hiking, climbing, canoeing and skiing in winter.

swimming holes huesca

In this stretch of the Cinca river, trouts share their habitat with the Pyrenean desmans. These are small, cute mammals of the mole family.

wild swimming in huesca

Swimming in these waters is a real pleasure for the senses. The second photo is from Gorgas de Puértolas (IV).

Cinca river in northern huesca

This part of the river is surrounded by luscious vegetation. The most common trees are willows, poplars, ashes and birches.

río-Cinca pools

Some of the birds of prey that can be seen here are golden eagles, common vultures, Egyptian vultures and bearded vultures.

río-Cinca river swimming

The natural pools are enormous. Mammals living around the river are badgers, genets, polecats and chamois in the high mountains.

Gorgas de Puértolas (V)

The second photo is of Gorgas de Puértolas (V).

Gorgas de Puértolas (VI)

Gorgas de Puértolas (VI) is very close to the village of Lafortunada, where there is a dam.

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IN HUESCA

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HOW TO GET TO - Cinca River

Getting There

Transport Options

The easiest way to get there is to reach any of the 5 natural pools of Gorgas de Puértolas by car.

Getting There

How to get to Gorgas de Puértolas in the river Cinca

There are 7 bathing places in the Cinca river, between km 59 and 63 on the A-138 motorway.

From Aínsa take the A-138 motorway north to Escalona. Once in Escalona, continue 1 km along the A-138. At this point, the motorway runs parallel to the river Cinca. After about 500 m, you’ll see the car park of the first natural swimming hole (Gorgas de Puértolas I) on the right-hand side of the road.

Continue driving along this road. Every 1 or 2 km you’ll see big blue information panels of the other natural pools of Gorgas de Puértolas (and their corresponding car parks).

Each car park has a staircase leading down to the river Cinca. It takes 1 minute to walk from the car parks to the corresponding natural pool.

Parking

Each of the 7 natural pools of the Gorgas de Puértolas has its own car park at the edge of the A-138 motorway.

Gorgas de Puértolas (I) 42 ° 30’57.6 “N 0 ° 08’35.4″E 
Gorgas de Puértolas (II) 42 ° 31’13.5 “N 0 ° 08’24.6″E 
Gorgas de Puértolas (III) 42 ° 31’49.9 “N 0 ° 09’04.2″E 
Gorgas de Puértolas (IV) 42 ° 32’09.7 “N 0 ° 09’28.1″E 
Gorgas de Puértolas (V) 42°32’29.6″N 0°09’32.0″E 
Gorgas de Puértolas (VI) 42°32’36.5″N 0°09’34.3″E
Gorgas de Puértolas (VII) 42°32’39.8″N 0°09’34.8″E

Location

Spain, Huesca

Villages Nearby

Escalona (2.7 km), Puyarruego (4.7 km), Lafortunada (7 km), Boltaña (20 km), Aínsa (12.8 km), Huesca (114 km)

Difficulty Level

It's easy to get there as it's very well signposted.

Walking Time

It is a 1-minute walk from the car park on the motorway to the natural pool in the river Cinca.

Drinking Water Spots

None

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USEFUL INFORMATION - Cinca River

Handy Things to Know

When to Go

It’s beautiful and can be visited all year round. In summer and the start of spring, it’s ideal for swimming. In the other seasons, it is quite cold and often snows. Autumn is known for the variety of mushrooms that grow here. There are no opening hours, it’s always open.

Entrance Fee

None

Activities

Swimming in the natural pools of the river

Hiking

Picnic

Canoeing

Fishing: The crystal clear waters allow you to observe how the fish move in the waters of the river.

Nobatas descent: This event is held on log boats, remembering the history and how man used wood to navigate on the water. It takes place on the penultimate Sunday in May, coinciding with the thaw and rising of the River Cinca.

Facilities

None

Kids

It's a perfect place to visit with children that can walk. The rocks are not suitable for strollers.

Dogs

Yes

Skinny Dipping

No

Wheelchair Access

No

Restrictions

Camping, leaving rubbish and making fires are not allowed.

The water level and drive vary widely with the seasons and storms. Besides, there is a hydroelectric power station 5 km upriver (in Lafortunada) which may also cause sudden changes in water level.

If the current pulls you with it, do not swim against it, swim parallel to the bank.

Check the depth before jumping into the water or diving headfirst.

Avoid carrying coolers (and chairs, hammocks, tables) and playing loud music.

Remember that soap and detergents should not be used in rivers and pools. Also, most sun creams contaminate the water, try to apply them well before taking a dip.

(Scientists have found that sunscreen releases significant amounts of titanium dioxide, which damages aquatic life.
Soaps have phosphates, are also non-biodegradable and harm the environment). 

Managed by

Ayuntamiento de Escalona-Puértolas – 974 505 189 – [email protected]

Things to Do – Cinca River

Things to Do

Things to do near Gorgas de Puértolas of Cinca River

The village of Puyarruego has a sequence of spectacular pools in the Ara River. A little further south is the medieval village of Ainsa with a beautiful old town and main square. The views of the Pyrenees from the citadel and walls of Ainsa are breathtaking.

Boltaña also has an amazing medieval old town. It also has La Gorga, a bathing area in the Ara River. It has huge rocks under the water in the form of long sheets, that can be seen through the crystalline blue water.

Further north, in the Pineta Valley, you can do the 7 km hiking route to the Cinca River source (avoid winter because of the snowfalls). This hiking route passes by the great ‘Cascada del Cinca’ waterfall, also known as ‘Cascada de Lalarri’. It’s the largest in Spain! You’ll hike through a beautiful alpine forest of peaks over 3,000 m with forests of pine, fir and juniper trees and various rivers. During the thawing season, there is more water and the route is more impressive.

Where to Eat

There are several places to eat in Puyarruego, including Camping Valle Añisclo. Yet, we recommend O’CADO (Casa Angela) which is in the castle in the centre of the village. The food, service and views are unbeatable. They have a huge terrace with privileged views of the valley, river and mountains. You can also order in advance by choosing what you want to eat at a certain time, and the owner Paco, will have the food ready for you. Call 974 50 50 13.

There are quite a few restaurants in Escalona. This village is next to the river Cinca, 1 km downstream from Gorgas de Puértolas. 

Accommodation

There are two hotels in Escalona and one in Lafortunada. There are also several rural houses in the area next to Gorgas de Puértolas on the river Cinca.

Two km away from River Cinca is Puyarruego, with Camping Valle Añisclo and a rural house next to the bridge. Yet, we recommend Casa Angela. It’s in the castle at the top of the village and offers spectacular views of the Bellós river below, the valley and the Pyrenean mountains. This rustic and authentic hotel is made with care and attention to detail. When you enter, it feels like you are in another world.

The owner Paco is charming and does whatever it takes to make your stay unforgettable. The hotel has not been advertised anywhere on the internet. Yet, they always have clients because of the type of hotel, the service and the food. Paco prefers clients who are genuinely interested in nature and take care of it, which creates a very pleasant atmosphere. Call 974 50 50 13.

Geography

Altitude

from 620 m. (2034 ft) to 649 m. (2129 ft)

Size

The natural pools in the river in this area of Gorgas de Puértolas in the Cinca River are very large. Some are longer than 50 m long and 10 m wide.

Under Foot

Rock and round stones that vary in size fom huge to small.

Maximum Water Depth

There are many areas in the various swimming holes of Gorgas de Puértolas where you can not stand.

Minimum Swimming Level

If you do not stay on the shore, you must know how to swim. It's deep and there may be currents.

Shade

There are several trees under which you can shelter from the sun.

How Clean is Swimming Spot?

Very clean

Water

Underwater

Visibility is very good (12 m). There are trout and other fish.

Water Temperature

Cold

Water Colour

Crystalline blue

How Clean is Water?

Very clean
SWIMMING HOLES
IN HUESCA

 Swimmming-holes

Check out the best Swimming Holes & Places to Swim INLAND!

Salto de Bierge
Cascada de Sorrosal
Pozán de Vero
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Puyarruego

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Check out the best Wild Swimming spots on the COAST!

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Keep it Clean!

The Rules

Clean the swimming holes!

Swimming Safety

Read these Tips
&
be Safe
when Wild Swimming

DESTINATIONS

UK
Spain
Bali
Belize
Mexico
Trinidad and Tobago
Costa Rica
India
Martinique

SWIMMING SPOTS

Best places to swim in nature in the world

Check out the best places to go wild swimming, by the TYPE of swimming spot

Swimming Holes
Lakes
Rivers
Waterfalls
Sea

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