The CabritoCave canyon is one of the most difficult descents of the Balced basin, and only suitable for those in top condition and with plenty of experience.  Sculpted from conglomerate rock, the canyon is dry during most of the year, and only features water after rainy periods.  It is without doubt, one of the best conglomerate canyons in the whole of the Sierra de Guara. 

Chimney climbing is necessary along the length of the route, especially in the long central passage as a sustained effort is needed.  Although short, the rappels require great technical expertise.  This canyon provides plenty of obstacles and requires a lot of athleticism for those descending.

Pay special attention to the water flow, especially during and after heavy rain and periods of high water are best avoided as the water pools flood.

One of the most spectacular spots along the route is the impressive “hall” or shelter in the final stretch, although the narrows along the full length of the descent are of equal beauty. 

Technical information

Approach: around 20 minutes until the start of the canyon descent. Park the car just before the 8km mark on the road from Bierge to Rodellar; there is a levelled-of area with a large holm-oak to the right of the road. Take the descending path and cross the fence; you will see a farm at this point. The footpath leads off to the right and goes all the way to the river bed. Nearest village: Las Almunias de Rodellar.

Descent: 3-4 hours    KM: 1800m

Retour: 1h:30 min walk along the path on the left hand bank of the river (5 minutes upstream there is a footpath on the right hand bank that is clearly marked with stones). Or 1 ½ hours along the more popular route, which involves swimming across the river at the Cautiecho narrows.  In both cases, the exit is upstream unless doing an additional decent down the Balced narrows. 

Escape routes: There is only one escape, just before the final narrows, on the left hand bank of the river.

Car combination n/a  However, this route can be combined with a descent of the Balced narrows; in this case a second car should be left by the bridge at Alberuela de Laliena (in the direction of Bierge.)

Difficulty level: very high in any season of the year. The use of a local guide with experience is highly recommended.

Minimum equipment requirements:

  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Double anchor lanyard
  • Ropes
  • Equipment for abseiling (figure-of-eight descender)
  • 2 ropes of at least 15m in length.
  • Self-braking descender
  • Picnic and water
  • Wetsuit:
  • Full wetsuit with neoprene socks in during cold periods.
  • Neoprene trousers and bib in the summer.

Points of interest

  • Sierra de Rufas
  • Las Almunias de Rodellar
  • Holm oaks and strawberry trees

Photo gallery

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  • barrancos_Somontano__3_