Leon Dormido – from Lapoblacion
Lapoblacion is a tiny town 18km/20 minutes’ drive from Laguardia. According to the latest census it has a population of only 126 people. But it is the home also to a hidden gem – a hillside with a fantastic walk up into the Navarra mountains, all the way up to the Pena de Lapoblacion – know locally as the Sleeping Lion (Leon Dormido) – at an altitude of 1,244 metres (over 4,000 feet!) above sea-level. If you want a lovely walk up into the mountains with the opportunity for fantastic views of the local area this is a great option for a half day away from Laguardia.
The drive from Laguardia to Lapoblacion takes twenty minutes along beautiful winding roads, with fantastic scenery all around – both fields on the plane and the surrounding mountains. On arriving at the village of Lapoblacion, you will soon find a good-sized car-park on the right, just before two large recycling bins (on the right of the road), with a small bar/café on the left. Just round the bend is a sign marking the end of Lapoblacion – if you get to that sign you have gone too far – the car park is just before it.
Once you have parked up, cross the road, and you will find to the immediate left of the bar/café is a side road going up towards the mountain.
Walk up this side road and very soon you will see in front of you a signpost, and to the right of it an information board about the mountain butterfly reserve.
To the right a dirt trail starts its route upwards. Take this path (signposted “microrreserva”).
You will be walking on a pathway surrounded by shrubland, not dissimilar to the scenery of the Mediterranean Garrigues, with small oak varieties and other shrubs, wildflowers, and you might observe that many of the trees are laden with lichen, a testament to the cleanliness of the mountain air.
As you walk up, on the right you will pass Rioja’s answer to the Harry Potter tree!
The path wends its way up and round for 2.2km. As you gain height with every step you will be rewarded as you start to see the fantastic views. At the most difficult parts the path has a good quality metal rope attached to the mountainside, and for most of its length the path has shrubs on both sides.
At times the path is narrow, but even if you don’t have a head for heights, you should be able to make it to the summit with the wonderful prize of fantastic 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside.