Pena Trevinca, the highest point in Galicia
The Trevinca mountains have one of the highest peaks in Spain. For this reason, it can be a good place for hiking if you are near the province of Ourense in the autonomous community of Galicia. It is a protected natural space that is made up of some 25,000 hectares.
Between the region of Valdeorras (Orense) and the region of Sanabria (Zamora) in upper Galicia, is Peña Trevinca, the highest peak of a large group of mountains called the Galaico-Leonés massif. According to data from the National Geographic Institute , it is one of the highest mountains in Spain, with an altitude of 2,127 meters above sea level.
The peaks of the Trevinca mountains are more than 2,000 meters above sea level and in winter they are mostly snow-covered. In addition, these peaks are crowned by glaciers with crystal clear waters , such as Lagoa da Serpe and O Celo. One of the most attractive characteristics of this high mountain landscape is that it is protected by different regulations, which is why it has maintained its natural state with hardly any traces of man being noticed.
As for the name Trevinca, there is no consensus on the part of researchers regarding the origin of the word. However, many think that it comes from Tre-Vincar, which means three brands, which would be related to the territorial borders of Galicia, Zamora and León. Others prefer to associate the word Trevinca with the wild flower Vinca minor L. It is true that it is not a plant native to this area, but it is also true that it is a romantic story.
How to get to Peña Trevinca?
If you go to Peña Trevinca from Galicia by car, you must take the N-536 in the municipality of El Barco de Valdeorras and continue for 8 km to Sobradelo de Valdeorras, and then join the OU-122 road and travel 27 km to the port of Fonte da Cova .
The top of the pass is 1,800 m above sea level. At this point, it is still possible to continue the route by car for a few kilometers along a mining track. However, we must say that this area has a thick layer of dust, since it is used to access the dumps. For this reason, it is not recommended to walk, because if a truck passes by, it is very likely that you will end up completely covered in dust. In any case, it would be necessary to use a safety mask. As for the terrain, it does not have too many problems with potholes, so it is possible to go there by car.
Walk to Peña Trevinca
At the end of this track, there is a parking area to one side so as not to interrupt the passage of heavy-duty vehicles. It is here that the route on foot to the highest peak of the Galician massif begins. In the first section, you only have to walk around 1.5 km along the mining track, surrounding the dumps, until the ascent begins. The slope is constant and the wide track soon turns into a narrower one, designed for the passage of tractors.
It must be said that this first section is completely pierced by slate quarries , since the mining business continues to destroy this area. However, when surrounding the mountain, a landscape with vegetation appears, much more careful. It is possible to observe the tops of the mountains of Galicia as if they were very close, thanks to the fact that the walk begins at an altitude of 1,800 m.
Afterwards, you have to take a turn to the left surrounding the Cerro de la Escrito, where it is possible to see grazing cows if you are lucky. However, it must be said that it is a fairly dry area, so there are generally no sources to recharge water. From this hill, you can have a wide view of the Peña Surbia, the Peñas Negras and, of course, in the background, the Peña Trevinca de Ourense.
The trails to the highest mountain in Galicia
At this point the track ends and the path to Peña Surbia begins. Fortunately, the mountain is always in sight and there are signposts along the way. When you reach the foot of Surbia, you have to leave the path and begin to climb the slope in a zigzag to a pass. Afterwards, you just have to climb diagonally to the crest and continue towards the top, for which you do not need to follow any signage because it is easily accessible.
The summit is simply a conglomeration of broken stones and there may be winged ants, so it is important to take precautions. From there, you can see the slate quarries of Orense and La Baña. Now, to go to Peñas Negras from Surbia, you have to take the ridge going down the crest. Although there is not a very clear path, it is easy to reach the pass following the tracks of animals . From there, it is possible to take the next ascent, which is not very long.
To go up to Peñas Negras, there is a sufficiently marked path, which makes it an easy section. However, the ridge has very steep areas, so care must be taken, especially if the ground is wet. For this reason, it is advisable to pass them horizontally. Thus, only the last section remains until Peña Trevinca, which, although it is the highest part, turns out to be the most comfortable path, you only have to descend a few meters to connect with the signposted path that reaches the summit.
From the highest mountain in Galicia, it is possible to see the Tera Valley, which serves as the start of another longer route, not from Ourense, but from the Laguna de los Peces de Sanabria.
To conclude, it is worth remembering the importance of wearing hiking boots and checking the weather forecast before leaving home. Likewise, it is advisable to carry a GPS or have an application on your mobile in case you lose your orientation. However, it is a mountain with a low level of difficulty, so it is suitable for professionals and amateurs.