Alirón Barakaldo Mountain-biking trail

  • Trail name
  • Activity
    MTB – Mountain-biking
  • Type of trail
    A long-distance MTB trail through the natural areas that form the municipal limits of Barakaldo.
    The landscape is beautiful, with a mix of wide cycle paths and a variety of other tracks.
  • Technical difficulty rating
  • Fitness rating
    High/ Very High
  • Length
    Total: 56 km
  • Altitude gain/loss
    Total: 1890m
  • Estimated completion time
    5 hours.
  • Weather & observations
    Can be used all year round. Lights are needed for the long tunnel on the final stretch from Trapagaran to Barakaldo (from km 53 to 54). The La Magdalena Cave is well worth visiting.
    Attention: This is a long route with no short-cuts or re-provisioning points. You will need provisions and a double water bottle or a CamelBak-type hydration pack.

Description & sights of interest

The Pulmón de Acero trail and this one are the longest trails in the network.
Start from the Gorostiza sports centre and head for the picturesque district of El Regato. There, the trail branches off uphill. Take care when fording the river at the start of the climb: it is shallow but runs fast and may be slippery underfoot. It will soon be possible to ride across, as a bridge is under construction.

The first inclines, on a concrete track, are very steep but the slope becomes gentler as you approach the Loiola reservoir. Carry on down the track into an area of thick vegetation with no visual landmarks. You will have no views until you get to the districts of Gaztaineta and Saratxo, which are linked by a narrow, concrete road. These surprisingly remote districts have only 3 or 4 houses. A broad, well compacted track winds around the base of Mount Eretza (the highest peak in the area). The trail takes you off the track briefly and into a field that serves as a viewing balcony. There is a mountain refuge nearby, but the views are better from the field. The hilltop is just behind you, but is reachable only for walkers. At this spot you will find the only spring on the trail, though in summer it may run dry. Then turn off towards Pico de la Cruz. Here the landscape changes to a mix of low hills and green meadows. Pico de la Cruz is a bare peak that cannot be reached by bike, but you will ride past just below the top. Some riders like to leave their bikes and walk up to the top, but it is not a path that should be hiked in cycling shoes. A hilltop that you can ride up to is that of Gasteran (altitude 801 m), which is the highest point on the trail and also the half-way point. The track back down runs through dark woodland with many roots and overhanging branches, so you will have to take it slowly and pick your path carefully. Next you come to La Arena, a crossroads for several woodland tracks. This is a good time to stop and take stock of how your physical strength is holding up, because if necessary you could leave the trail at this point and take the main track downhill. From here on the trail runs along the south face of the hill for a long stretch (with Trapagaran to the north) with no branching paths.

If you decide to carry on, the track will take you to El Sauco, an area where great rips in the ground denote a past history of mining. One of its best known attractions is the La Magdalena Cave, which you can reach via a rough, poorly maintained path. Skilled riders may be willing to ride down, but we ask you to wheel your bikes down on foot out of respect for the many ramblers who use the path. The cave is just 300 m further down, in the rural district of Urallaga. The cave entrance is spectacular. There is a chapel inside it, and you may like to use the torch on your mobile phones to check out the adit where the miners once extracted iron. You are not allowed to ride back up, so on leaving the cave follow the path to about half-way down the hillside. The next 15 km comprise a number of climbs and descents with varying terrain and settings. You must now ride around the western end of the hill and on to the urbanised district of La Arboleda.

After such a long ride, it is great to reach this hillside district of Trapagaran. Why not stop for a bite to eat at one of the bars and restaurants there? All that remains is to ride through Los Pozos and leave the track in the Lareineta district. On its way down the hill the track joins an old mine loader channel which now serves as a viewing balcony. Enjoy the views as you ride down to Trapagaran on a path parallel to the funicular railway. Your last obstacle is a steep single-track that borders a riding school and leads to the district of Zaballa (Trapagaran).

Only the last leg of the ride back to Barakaldo now remains. To avoid having to use the road, head up towards the district of Durañona (Trapagaran), then cross beneath the SuperSur motorway. Lights are needed for the tunnels here. You might make do with the torch on a mobile, but is far from ideal. This is a somewhat run-down green trail, but it enables you to avoid the traffic on the main N-634 road. When you reach Barakaldo, go through an old industrial estate then on to the Tellaetxe Park and from there to the end of the ride back at the Gorostiza sports centre.

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