Stunning Views Heli Biking in Spain

Sep 28, 2018
by Yaroslav Alpizar  

Benasque valley, is in the heart of the Pyrenees, with about 80% of the surrounding peaks reaching above 3000m high. No better place to enjoy heli-biking and feel the adrenaline of the 'copter flying high and later rushing down on the best trails in the area. AltitudeRides offers this incredible experience in the area. They are the first ones to offer heli-biking in Europe, none the less. We spent a full day with these guys and still can't believe what an amazing day we had.

The day started with a breakfast on a local cafe, everyone looking at the weather forecast since the helicopter can't take off if the weather isn't good. On a usual day, the schedule is: breakfast, one pickup shuttle to warm up, helicopter ride to one of the two peaks allowed for the moment (2750m and 2650m), 2 more shuttles in the afternoon with the pickups or vans. In our case, the weather didn't clear up until past midday so we enjoyed 2 long descents in the morning, the well known Planadona and Integral del Gallinero trails.

A mix of rocks and flowy sections in between pine trees to start the day in Planadona

Benasque and in particular Castejon de Sos is a well-known destination for paragliding

After two long descents, it was midday and time for a break. There are plenty of places to choose from to enjoy a good meal, we ended up in Castejon de Sos, with a delicious local menu. All eyes on Pablo, the main guide, waiting for good news from the helicopter pilot. And right with the last zip of coffee we hear on the walkies "Taking off! Taking off!". Adrenaline rushing into our veins, heart pumping nonstop, we are about to go on a helicopter ride!!

First group landed, back to get the rest of the group

Once on the top at 2750m, there is a 7km long trail with a 2000m drop in elevation to get back to Benasque Valley

There are couple of small hike-a-bike sections for smaller peaks, just 5 minutes, nothing crazy.

Before taking off with the bikes and riders, there is a small briefing to explain all safety measures. Once the pilot is done, bikes are loaded and off we go. All shakes and trembles, you see the rotor moving faster and faster... and we have taken off! The Benasque Valley lies at 1000m and Sierra Negra is at 2750m, in about 10 minutes we are on the top, with the most incredible views you can imagine. No words to describe everyone feelings. From here, just enjoy the ride down to the valley.

Jorge, one of the AltitudeRides guides, having fun

Landscapes are astonishing, with high alpine lakes and trails

Landscapes I said?

Thanks AltitudeRides for an amazing experience! You can follow them on these channels: Instagram & Facebook

Benasque mountain biking trails


  • 4 2
 Must be an unforgettable experience, of course. But, what about our peacefuls mountains?
We have the same problem with the skier comunity. If we support that kind of activities, in not much time we will have Helicopters flying around us all the day during our riding trip.

We will want to go to the mountains to have a good wild day on our bikes, skis or just wanna go hiking and having a great time enjoying the peace of the mountain, and we will can´t.
If that activity becomes fashionable, the bussines will bet on that and will be the end of the peace of the wild landscapes.

Take a break, think about that and have common sense. Our playground is in danger, our mountains are in stake.

Sincerely, a biker who likes to enjoy the trails.
  • 4 0
 I think this summer like 4 groups of people I know take a ride in that same Heli. That thing you think abut,people going deep inside some far regions is a problem no matter if you go by heli,walking,ski,bike or whatever. Benasque,Ainsa and near places were almost isolated a few years ago. Now they trust in tourism to take a chance of being a better place for the people. Ainsa/Sobrabe take a few old trails,they are not making tons of new trails,just make it good to go. In some villages you only can find people on weekends,if you go on Monday only the dog is there to say you hello,cos is impossible to find a job there. It is not a massive thing They put money back there to get better resources to keep it good.
It must be annoying if a heli is flying on top of you 20 times a day,I don´t know if you can fly over there as many times you as want or there is a limit.It is a good question.
  • 4 0
 Helibiking is not new, it has been running for more than 10 years in Whistler or New Zealand and some other places. Do you see 20 copters flying in Whistler daily? No. Same here, there is only one copter and when it flights, it does just one run on one day. As @homerjm comments, these places are deep in the mountains, far from big cities, jobs are scarce and mountainbiking makes the are flourish, helibiking is just one more possibility, not the only one or the most used., not even close. Right now they do just 1 weekend flight and only to two peaks. The 2 persons behind the company are locals, they are the first ones out there cleaning trails, doing trailbuilding advocacy and helping the area to grow, I would say not many can say the same.
  • 4 0
 The area looks beautiful but the economic situation is very difficult. Aragon needs tourism.
  • 2 0
 @carlitouk: @elyari: @homerjm: I´m agree with you about the situation of the area, I usually go there a lo on weeekends or hollidays, I know the situation of that area, really.

But we are on the same, we always justify all in the name of the progress. We need to know that the mountains are not only for us. Benasque valley is surrounded of national parks and that kind of tourism activities destroys the peacefull and wilderenes of that enviroment. The fact that now there is no overcrowding doesnt says that we would not have in some years.

I´m actually a mountain bike guide in north spain, I know how works this sector. I have worked in the pyrenees couple years on the winter seasson and once on summer seasson, just in Benasque. They are great places for tourism incrementations and is not that bad, but we need to create a responsably tourism.
If you want to enjoy the high mountains landscapes and you dont know the place, just contract a guide and go pedaling. Or easilly take a look on the internet and download some marked trail tracks.

I´m not attacking anyone, I just want to make people think.
  • 5 0
 @BonjahDHrider: I find it hard to believe you spend much time in the mountains if you think a couple of helicopter trips are going to ruin the peace of the area. They are flying all the time, stocking the refuges and the Guardia Civil are flying around all the time. There are 4x4 trips running around the mountains here, busses up Ordesa, ski stations. Really doing a helicopter trip above Benasque isn't spoiling any part of the area. Even for the mountaineers queuing for hours to follow the other 1000´s of walkers up Aneto. Similarly, the use of that trail is smaller by a factor of 10 than the running race which goes over the mountain there!

The Helibiking with Altitude is fantastic, its an amazing experience. I'm lucky enough to have enjoyed it quite a few times.
  • 1 0
 @BonjahDHrider: One thing that nobody talks about is if those people have the chance to choose between tourism or industry,probably tourism never would win. But Benasque only choice is tourism. If you know Spain,ii is not so hard to figure that this country is the "Hotel coastal resort paradise",so many places were ruin to build nice hotels&houses for tourism,for you,people from any place in EU. Benasque,Ainsa and near places are doing a good job to add biking as a natural thing to all people in the community. They have plans and work together in the same direction. For me is a place to watch here in Spain. I work as trail guide too around Madrid,but we made some trips to Ainsa and in a few weeks I´m going to Benasque. I love that area.
  • 2 0
 Amazing experience from the best professionals, congrats Altitude Rides!

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