Courtesy of turismo.gub.uy
The Protected Lunarejo Valley Landscape is located in the extreme northwest of the department of Rivera, very close to Artigas and Salto and the border with Brazil. It is located in the northern part of the Cuchilla de Haedo system, which functions as a biological corridor for subtropical species of flora and fauna to enter Uruguayan territory from Brazil. It is an area representative of the Quebradas del Norte or the Cuesta Basáltica, a region that is notable for having a landscape of great beauty, with scenic features which are unique in the country, characterized by hills with flat tops which border narrow valleys shaped by the courses of the water known as “quebradas” (Gorges). The gorges are deep incisions notched into the basaltic rock, with steep slopes and reliefs, where caves, vertical surfaces and waterfalls converge and lush, subtropical jungle-type vegetation forms. The area possesses a great diversity of natural environments, including different types of grasslands, forests (hill, coastal, gorge), shrublands, rivers and creeks that provide shelter and food for many species of native fauna of great interest due to their rarity, distribution and abundance. In terms of birds, at least 150 species have been recorded, many of which can only be spotted here, including the sharp-tailed grass tyrant, the Buff-necked ibis, the Cliff flycatcher, the Seriema, the Blue-winged macaw and the Broad-winged hawk. Among the amphibians we can highlight two rare species: the Montevideo tree frog and the Rivera Redbelly Toad; among the reptiles the Crotalus durissus —extinct in the south of the country— and among the mammals the Anteater, the Greater naked-tailed armadillo, the Margay, the South American coati, the Brazilian porcupine and the Gray brocket.
Five trails to discover
The Indian Cave Trail.
Following this path leads to a deep ravine in a private field, which requires authorization prior to entering, in front of the Subida de Pena. You can then make the descent to the Rubio Chico River. The total distance to be covered is 1900 meters, approximately 2 and a half hours of walking, with an average degree of difficulty.
The Boquerón hill trail.
This path, located in the center of the Lunarejo Valley, allows you to get to know the area and offers you an unparalleled view of the region. Located on private property, the up and down walk also has a camp site and bathrooms by the Lunarejo River. The path is around 1300 meters and takes about 1 hour and a half, with a low degree of difficulty.
The Paredones Trail.
Permanent, flowing water, wildlife watching, an area for bathing and panoramic views are some of the pleasures you can enjoy along this trail, on which it is advisable to walk with a nature guide. The path is around 1500 meters and takes around 2 hours, with an average degree of difficulty.
The Balcones de Lunarejo Trail.
A highly recommended trip is to travel to the high area of Lunarejo on horseback. The path also offers the possibility of walking down to a ravine area with a waterfall. The path is around 1400 meters and takes around 2 and a half hours, with an average degree of difficulty.
The De Los Helechos Trail.
From the historical setting of Masoller, walk downhill to the ravine with a natural pool in the headwaters of the Lunarejo River. The path is around 1400 meters and takes around 2 and a half hours, with an average degree of difficulty but with a very large reward: you can see large sized species of fern and a great diversity of birds.