Today we travel to the Alto Tajo Natural Park to discover this area situated on the upper course of the longest river in the Peninsula.
With a surface area of more than 100,000 hectares spread over the provinces of Guadalajara and Cuenca, this protected area follows the course of the river whose Latin name, Tagus, refers to the impressive and deep gorges that the river generated near its sources. These steep slopes and gorges of the river, together with singular rock forms, such as knives, needles and monoliths on limestone and red sandstone, define and give a unique personality to this natural park and are some of the values that have led it to form part of the Molina-Alto Tajo Region Geopark.
Beyond its geological characteristics, the Upper Tagus Natural Park is also important for its flora and fauna. Unique formations of junipers, oak forests, large pine forests, and gallery forest species that surround the river, are home to countless animal species that coexist in this area of extreme climate, which goes from high summer temperatures to snowy winters.
The diversity of environments, its sheer size and its low human population density has meant that the Upper Tagus Natural Park has become a refuge for many species in other parts of the country. The rocky cliffs that flank the course of the river are an ideal place for birds of prey such as griffon and Egyptian vultures, eagle owl, Bonelli’s and golden eagle, and work is being done to bring others, such as the monk and bearded vultures, back into the area. The presence of up to 6 different species of large ungulates is another of the highlights of this natural park.