Vultures and eagles at the Estrets

Trips with children around Tarragona,
the Costa Dorada and the River Ebro Region.

e-zine nº 8

28th of January to 3rd of February 2009

Land of eagles

Vultures and eagles at the Estrets
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The trip: Vultures and eagles at the Estrets



Horta de Sant Joan, Terra Alta

Suitable age:

From 7 onwards

On foot

About the place:

Has nature ever make you dizzy? This is the sensation you’ll have if you follow the river Estrets in the Nature Park of the Ports under the impressive Millstones of the Don. Conglomerates of rocks, puddles of transparent water and in the sky the watchers of the river: vultures, and if you are lucky also eagles.

An itinerary through one of the most spectacular places of the Nature Park of the Ports between Arnes and Horta de Sant Joan. (See pictures)

Direction tips:

From Horta de Sant Joan you have to head towards Arnes at the T330. Follow the indications "The Ports". Immediately you have to take the paved track that takes you to the recreational area "La Franqueta". At 8,8 km you have to take a small and not paved way to your right. At this point you’ll find a green indicator with small letters showing the direction to “Els Estrets” ("The Straits"). You can park the car at the esplanade on the right side of the path.

The itinerary starts at the panel with the explanation for the climbers. You have to follow straight on direction of  a tinny river in front of you. You have to cross the river (very narrow in this stretch) stepping from stone to stone. In this stretch you have to be alert because the path fades a little. You will pass a zone of well lined pines and immediately you will find an indicator to “Els Estrets” (we are now at about 5 minutes from the start point). Following this path suddenly we will bump into the river: a fantastic view.  Little by little the vegetation gives step to the rocks. When we have been walking approximately 12 minutes we will see a wooden totem crowned by an eagle. We enter in the zone of vultures and eagles propriety of the Obra Social of Caixa Catalunya. We follow the path until a kind of bridge with a handrail. At this point we have to go straight on and upwards (without crossing the bridge). Immediately you’ll find yourself among the conglomerates with the river under need you. Follow a well marked path passing through the millstones of the Don where we can find climbers. We continue the path until the river becomes much wider and it creates small cascades At this point you will find the eagle totem again which indicates the end of our itinerary. The moment has come to look upwards and enjoy the show of vultures and (if you are lucky) some eagles. At this point they group themselves and you can find until six big birds flying around the millstones. An impressive show. You have to turn around and take the same path you came from, to return to the stating point of the route.

The best season:

winter, autumn, spring


It is necessary to avoid the hours of strong insolation of the summer days. In the winter, you have to remember that it becomes dark around 17:30.

Lunch tips:

After a good walk, you can get your strength back a the leisure area of the Franqueta at 4 km following the paved track which you took to arrive from Horta de Sant Joan to Els Estrets. You will find a zone with a playpen, barbecues, tables and WC’s. But if you do not want to picnic, we recommend you the restaurant and rural accommodation Mas del Cigarrer at 15 km located between Horta de Sant Joan and Bot.

More info:

Difficulty: Medium
Type: linear route
Duration: aprox. 50 minutes oneway (without stops)
Distance: aprox. 2,2 km oneway
Accessibility: the first stretch has some more complicated points, since you have to walk directly on the rock. It| is not accessible for prams nor wheelchairs. The second stretch is easy, since you follow a well marked path (even though you have to be careful with a pipe that not always is buried).
Recommendations: it| is a windy zone, therefore take something to protect the children. It is an area without a lot of trees to protect you from the sun, so it is not advisable to do the itinerary in summertime. Use footwear for walking on rocks and take quite a lot of water with you.

We recommend the route of Els Estrets for children from 7 years on, since it is a long route (almost 2 hours in total included the return) with some points that for small children can be complicated. Moreover the itinerary follows the bank of the river at considerable height through a path that sometimes is quite narrow.  

Photo: © Juan Revillas, (see more fotos)

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