High in the Pyrenees, nestled amongst the peaks in the Principality of Andorra, lies a river on the Andorran-French border known as the Riu de Jan. The turnoff to get to this remote area is just north of Meritxell, the famous Andorran sanctuary. With a spring high in the mountains, this area is a great place to get away from life. Lose yourself in nature!
You can access Riu de Jan by foot. The walk covers slopes over a few kilometres on a lightly paved road to get to this park reserve area. You can also go by car (there is unofficial parking near the bridge).
Starting the hike
At the first bridge, you come to (less than 100 metres from the parking area), there is a place for barbecues and fires. From here, several trails head higher into the mountains. They include refuges where you can spend the night. I think you have to get the key to unlocking the doors from one of the nearby towns. Maybe Ransol? To be honest, I have no idea because we did not do this.
Andorra has several valleys high in the mountains. Hiking around this area will bring you to some of those in the northeast area of the country. The province is known as Canillo. Here you will find wildlife such as birds and small animals, along with grazing cattle, sheep and horses. The farm animals that we came across were friendly enough. As always use caution around unknown animals.
The route that we took led us along the small river (and crossing it several times) until we arrived at the Refugi de Cóms de Jan, which is a nice flat area full of large boulders, grass, and small lakes and pools. We also went higher up on the peaks to the border with France, although we did not cross.
I highly recommend the area for the peace and tranquillity. We happened to be there as a storm was rolling in and the we could hear that thunder reverberating around the mountains. Rain was also falling on some nearby (only a few kilometres away) peaks, but we did not get wet.
Here are some more photos from the area:
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