The Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park was created in July 1983 in response to the need to protect the Sierra del Cadí and the surrounding area. It has a total surface area of 41,342, ha. which makes it - together with the recently established Alt Pirineu Natural Park - one of the largest parks in Catalonia. The park stretches across three comarcas (rural districts): L'Alt Urgell (Spain), El Berguedà and La Cerdanya (Spain).
The Cadí and Moixeró which are connected by the Tancalaporta pass, form an imposing mountainous barrier in the Pre-Pyrenees. They extend 30 km from west to east and divide the water courses of the rivers Segre (La Cerdanya and L'Alt Urgell- Spain) and Llobregat (Berguedà).
El Pedraforca, which is one of the most attractive mountains for climbers, occupies a special place in Catalan mountaineering tradition. It merits special attention, as it provides a beautiful and thrilling setting for climbing and is considered an authentic reference point for hikers and mountaineers in Catalonia.
The Natural Park, a mountainous region, lies between an altitude of 800 m from the lowest valley bed and 2,648 m at the top of the canal Baridana, and it is considered to be of great interest for its wide diversity in geology, vegetation and fauna.
Two great mountain ranges of Cadí and Moixeró, joined by the Tancalaporta pass, form an impressive mountain barrier stretching from West to East for some 30 km, including the watersheds of the Segre (Cerdanya and Alt Urgell - Spain) and Llobregat (Berguedà) rivers. The mountain slopes, particularly those of the North, form craggy escarpments with almost sheer rock walls and deep valleys, quite different from the other geological entities of Pedraforca, Tosa and Puigllançada.
As for the climate, annual rainfall ranges from 1,500 mm on the Eastern side of the mountains to 700 mm in the Western lower areas, where the Segre and Lavansa valleys are the most protected against maritime winds. Snow is present here for approximately six months of the year in the highest areas. The average annual temperatures fluctuate from 11º C in the lower parts of Alt Urgell (Spain) to 0º C at the highest peaks. Winters are in general very cold and temperatures can go below -20º C. Summers aren't very warm.
Vegetation and fauna of the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park is of particular interest for its contrasting altitudes and varying climatic conditions which in turn favour a wide variety of plant-life ranging from arctic species, to central European alpine species, to Mediterranean ones, and all of them within the same territory.
Alpine slopes in the highest areas (about 2.000 m.), are covered with a great variety of gramineous plants and colourful flowers, such as the Gentian flower, saffron, the carline thistle and the alpine pasque flower/alpine rose. Below this altitude there are woods of mountain pine (Pinus uncinata). Their underbrush is widely interspersed with juniper (Juniperus nana), rhododendron (Rhododendron ferrugineum) and bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). The lower parts and the North-facing slopes of the mountain ranges are well populated with fir tree (Avies alba). Other forest species characteristic of humid zones and found in shady areas on the South-facing slopes is the beech tree (Fagus sylvatica), while the oak tree (Quercus pubescens) populates a good part of the sunny areas. These two species along with others are extensively interspersed in scotch pine's woods (Pinus sylvestris), which is mainly found in the medium and lower zones of the Park. Underbrush here is mainly comprised of rhododendron (Buxus sempervirens).
The most interesting plant species, however, might be those found growing in the lower rocky flanks of the crags and cliffs like the herb Parsley Chamois (Xatardia scabra), unique to the Eastern part of the Pyrenees, and Dorella d'ós (Ramonda myconi).
Among all the mammals in the Park, the high mountain goat like antelope, the chamoi (Rupicapra rupicapra) stands out for its large population there. The red deer (Cervus elaphus) and the roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), have been reintroduced and are now multiplying themselves again. Another interesting mammal is the pine martin (Martes martes) inhabiting in the majority of subalpine woods.
Birds of particular interest are the species that have survived since the glacial period, as capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), tengmalm's owl (Aegolius funereus) and black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), - the latter being the symbol of the Natural Park.
As for the reptiles, two interesting and colourful species are the green lizard (Lacerta viridis) and the Western whip snake (Coluber viridiflavus). Amongst the amphibious animals, the Pyrenean brook salamander (Euproctus asper) an endemism of these mountains, and the common or grass frog (Rana temporaria).
And only three species of fish inhabit the Park's waters: the trout (Salmo trutta), the mountain barbel (Barbus meridionalis) and the red barbel (Phoxinus phoxinus).
The natural splendour of the Park's rugged mountains, with its waters and vegetation, offer particular places of great interest and beauty.
Towns of particular interest, from a historical point of view, are Bagà, being once the capital of the Barony of Pinós, and Bellver de Cerdanya centre of an ancient batllia (mayorship).
There are a good number of towns that still keep their traditional and rural architecture such as Castellar de n'Hug. Other towns of equal interest and beauty are Saldes, with its castle ruins, and Montellà, Tuixén, Josa de Cadí, not to mention other smaller villages and hamlets such as Torres d'Alàs, Adraén, el Quer Foradat, Cornellana, Cava, Ansovell, Gisclareny, Gréixer and Gósol (where Picasso painted interesting works in 1906).
There are some very valuable examples of Romanesque architecture in this region. They are Sant Llorenç prop Bagà (Benedictine monastery), the church of Talló (ancient canonical seat), Sant Julià de Pedra, Bor, Sant Serni de Coborriu, Tartera, Mosoll, Sant Jaume, el Boscal, Santa Eugènia de Nerellà, Sant Miquel de Turbians, Cerc, Sant Julià dels Garrics, Sant Vicenç de Rus, etc. Many traditional and popular celebrations have been kept alive.
The Park's sport par excellence is cross-country hiking. The mountainous region allows a wide selection of activities to which one must adapt their abilities according to the activity's degree of difficulty. It is very important to take into account the preparation and experience necessary and have the suitable equipment for the activity.
The natural park, whit more than 400 km marked paths, is traversed by two "great routes" (GR) hiking paths from North to South: the GR-4 (Alp - la Pobla de Lillet) with an alternative route to Bagà and the GR 7 (La Seu d'Urgell - Tuixén). There is a third alternative that runs longitudinally, the GR 107 (Camí dels Bons Homes). There is also the GR-150, a route that will run right round the Park with an alternative route along the mountain ridge GR-150.1.
The North face of Pedraforca is, traditionally, the more popular mountain climbing area and on the North wall of the Cadí mountain range where there are also some fairly difficult climbing routes.
Hunting is designated to the National Hunting Reserve of Cadí (Reserva Nacional de Caça del Cadí) created in 1966, where the chamois is the most remarkable animal.
Fishing (trout and barbel) is not allowed in three of the Park's rivers as they have been declared fish sanctuaries. There are, however, controlled fishing areas in the rivers.
Throughout winter snow-hiking excursions (with snow-boots) within the Park's boundaries can be enjoyed in the most attractive of surroundings.
There is a network of mountain refuges within the Park that allows one to traverse and enjoy magnificent mountain scenery.
The Park has a mountain guide service at the public's disposal. Guides have an excellent knowledge of the territory, and their services may be applied for by phoning the Park's Information Centre in Bagà.
A natural park is a heritage and it should be respected and preserved so that the scenery, mountains, animal and plant life can be enjoyed by future generations. Conservation of the environment, the objective that led to the creation of the Park, takes priority over all other activities.
The following are some of the most important rules, which must be observed in order to guarantee its conservation:
Entry to the park is free and unrestricted, but before entering it is recommendable to visit the Information Centre and Offices. These are open all year, including public holidays.
The Cadí-Moixeró Natural Parc centre:
C/ La Vinya, 1
Tel: 93 824 41 51
Fax: 93 824 43 12
Centre de Visitants dels Parcs Naturals de l'Alt Pirineu i el Cadí-Moixeró
Av. Valls d'Andorra, 33
25700 La Seu d'Urgell
Tel.: 973 36 09 54