Cascada de Arripas is a gorgeous waterfall in “Parque Nacional De Ordesa Y Monte Perdido” in the region Aragon-Huesca, Spain. The national park of Ordesa is heaven for people who love chasing waterfalls. There are so many beautiful waterfalls that I didn’t visited them all (yet).
From Biescas drive to Torla over road N260a and park your car on the big parking lot just when entering Torla, parking is free.
The hike into “Parque Nacional De Ordesa Y Monte Perdido” starts at Torla (in summertime). Here you have to buy tickets for the bus that runs to the park entrance (10-15 minutes). It is wise to buy the tickets in advance. There is a small wooden selling point next to the visitors center on the parking lot.
When the day starts, don’t go to late. After 10 AM (in summertime) it soon gets busy. After a short and pleasant drive the bus ends at the park entrance of national park Ordesa. Most people choose to walk to cascada de la Cola de Caballo along the river Arazas. I think this is also the most beautiful and easy walk, although a roundtrip took us 6,5 hour (including lunch an a lot of photo stops).
Cascada de Arripas is the first waterfall in the river Rio Arazas when walking from the park entrance near Torla to the end of the valley (cascada de la Cola de Caballo). Th hike is easy and you walk through woodland. After 40 minutes we arrived at the viewpoint on Cascada de Arripas on an altitude of 1.400 meter. The view is very nice and you can enjoy the power of the waterfall from the path that lies above the waterfall.
For another view you can walk a little further but you can’t walk to the base of Cascada de Arripas. Now you have seen the first waterfall, the second waterfall is nearby further into the valley at less then 10 minutes. I am not sure but I think this waterfall still belongs to Cascada de Arripas and is an upper part of the waterfall.
Cascada de Arripas lies in the river Arazas and has a height of appr. 10-15 meter.
The next waterfall (60 minutes from the park entrance) is my favorite, Cascada de la Cueva and Cascada del Estrecho. It is hard to tell why this one is so beautiful because it is very difficult to catch the feeling when standing at the top and the feeling you have when looking down. So impressive, so beautiful, this is paradise. There are several viewpoint starting at a plateau at the bottom of Cascada de la Cueva. Here you will see the lower waterfall and part of the upper drop.
From here you can work your way up passing several viewpoints. Be careful with children because sometimes the viewpoints (mostly of the track) has no fence. The highlight is the upper point where you can look into the deep (very scary). I saw a small rainbow here.
The next waterfall (where we had lunch) is cascada gradas de Soaso (alt 1.700 meter), a series of cascades with such a beautiful background. According to my daughter this is the most beautiful waterfall in the river Arazas. We reached this waterfall after 2h30 from the moment we started at the park entrance. I must say we spend a lot of time at the previous waterfall so I can imagine that the walk (normally) is shorter in time.
After lunch we walked further into paradise. There is a small waterfall coming down at the left side after circo de Soaso with a lot of yellow flowers and cows where grazing in the meadow. Maybe the last part is the hardest, to cascada de la Cola de Caballo (meaning waterfall of the horsetail). On the other hand you also have the nicest views on the mountain tops and the cirque at the end.
We reached cascada de la Cola de Caballo after 3,5-4 hours. A very beautiful waterfall in the shape of a horsetail with a height of 100 meter. Especially when people are standing in front of the waterfall you will realize how big it really is.
The same way back (without long breaks) took us a little over 2 hours. We where exhausted but the walk into Valle de Ordesa is one of the most beautiful hikes I ever made.
It is funny to know that at the ned you are very close to France to Cirque du Gavarnie, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in France with a height of 440 meter!!!!! This is also a very beautiful hike but less exhausting.
Best time to visit Cascada de Arripas (Ordesa) is early summer when there is a lot of snow melting down the mountains. You can see the difference between the first pictures (taken early summer) and the last pictures (taken end of July). Out of the main season it is also allowed to drive your car to the park entrance, to the parking over there.
Then it is also easier to visit the waterfalls you have missed when the bus drove from Torla to the park entrance. It is possible to walk back tot Torla after visiting the Ordesa valley but after a 6 hour walk, another 2 hours is to much (for me). But if you do you will see another three awesome waterfalls: cascadas de los Abetos, cascada Tamborrotera and cascadas de Molinieto. Unfortunately I missed these waterfall on my visits because of lack of time.
More information about national park Ordesa (Parque Nacional De Ordesa Y Monte Perdido) can be found on the official website.
We stayed in hotel Edelweiss in Torla, not that expensive, but I think there are better alternatives. There are also several camping sites with bungalows north of Torla, even one with a swimming pool.