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The Ruta del Cares: Seven-Hour Megahike

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Looking for a Hotel in the Picos de Europa?

The Picos de Europa are a huge mountain range that straddles the border between Asturias, Cantabria and León, just twenty kilometers from the ocean, and a paradise for mountain climbers, nature lovers and hikers.

Sun Hike

Juergen and I fall into that latter group for sure, so we embarked on the most famous hike through the Picos: The Ruta del Cares. Connecting the tiny villages of Poncebos and Caín, it’s a 24km, seven-hour roundtrip hike. That’s a lot, but the seven hours are packed with breathtaking nature, and fairly easy.

The river Cares has carved an immense and exhilaratingly narrow canyon into the Picos. The route travels alongside the river, high up into the mountains, through tunnels and along cliff faces. It was developed in the early 20th century for workers of the Electra de Viesgo company, who needed to reach the canal which still runs between the two villages. The hike has since become incredibly popular, and welcomes over 200,000 adventurers a year.

The Ruta del Cares starts with a long ascent, and before long we were high above the river. It leveled out from there, as we entered the canyon. I experienced some mild vertigo. In such a narrow canyon gap with sheer cliff faces towering high over your head and the river so far below, it’s easy to become disoriented.

There were long stretches through dark tunnels, over bridges high above the river, and we passed by a few waterfalls. By the time we reached Caín, we were exhausted but in great spirits. The first half of the hike had gone quickly by and, after a quick lunch, I didn’t dread the thought of returning the same way. The chance to see the canyon again was a powerful incentive.

If you’re fit enough and enjoy the outdoors, don’t miss this hike. But try and pick an off-season day during the week, as the route is truly popular and, on summer weekends, the number of people can be overwhelming.

Location of Poncebos (Start)
Plan of the Hike in Wikiloc
Detailed Info in Spanish on the Hike

Mist Land
Rio Asturias
Rio Picos de Europa
Picos de Europa Hike
Ruta del Cares
No Bikers Allowed
Dizzy
Dangerous Hike
Gefahr Wandern
Hiking Routes Picos
Fall Asturias
Exciting Hike
China in Spain
Hiking
Tunnel Hiking Asturias
Welcome to Leon
Waterfall
Wandern Asturias
On Nom Nom
Wet Land
Wet
Splish Splash
Sidra IN leon
Wandern
Picos de Europa
Play of Light
Travel Stock Photographer

Asturias Guide

Hiking Insurance
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October 20, 2010 at 8:39 pm Comments (6)

El Lago del Valle in Somiedo

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During our recent day trip to Somiedo, we found ourselves with time for a long walk. After parking our car in Valle del Lago, we hiked to Lago del Valle. Now that’s some clever toponymy.

Somiedo Lake

Uninspiring name aside, the Lake of the Valley is a beautiful bit of nature. The hike takes about 90 minutes if you walk without pause, and is enchanting from beginning to end. Following the low-lying valley, the walk is easy enough and affords views of mountainsides, beechwood forests and a small river. We walked by teitas, the stone huts with straw roofs so indicative of Somiedo, and past herds of cattle.

Eventually, we arrived at the lake. Almost completely enclosed by mountains, and with a small island in its center, it’s far enough away from civilization to be quiet and unspoiled. The Lago del Valle is the largest lake in Asturias, but still small enough to walk around in 30 minutes. We sat for awhile on the shore, under the searing sun, before heading back to the village, and soaked in the nature. It’s amazing how rejuvenating a place like this can be.

Location of the Lago del Valle on our Day Trips Map

Somiedo See
Asturias
Hiking in Spain
Lago del Valle
Lago Somiedo
El Lago Del Valle Somiedo
Aqua Somiedo
Natura Asturias
Lago Asturias
Super Cute Frog

Best way to explore Somiedo

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September 18, 2010 at 6:12 pm Comments (5)

Visiting the Somiedo Natural Park

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We chose an excellent day to visit the Somiedo National Park, found a couple hours south of Oviedo. The sun was bright and the weather warm. With a refreshing breeze coming from the north, it was a perfect early-autumn day, putting us in great spirits and bringing out the most beautiful aspects of the park.

Somiedo Photos

Somiedo is both a municipality of a couple thousand people and a Natural Park, part of which has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. With mountains reaching over 2000 meters, a rich diversity of fauna and flora, and a scarce human presence, it’s an uncommonly lovely region.

The most famous inhabitants of Somiedo are the endangered Cantabrian brown bears. Though they reach up to two meters in height and 200 kilos in weight, the bears are timid and had been on the verge of extinction due to poaching and human encroachment. But recent conservation and protection efforts have seen their number grow. We were on the lookout, but I think actually spotting one is nearly impossible. The bears have learned to stay away from humans.

Cattle farming is the way of life among somedanos, as the few people who live in the park refer to themselves. Theirs is a pastoral lifestyle straight out of the 1700s. Farmers still moved their herds by foot across the mountains and valleys, and make use of cabins called teitos, which are stone buildings with a thatched straw roof: a construction unique to Somiedo. Spotted across the valleys, teitos blend in well to the stony landscape, suggesting a human presence that exists in a respectful relationship with the Earth.

During our trip, we also visited the majestic Lago del Valle, the largest lake in Asturias, which demands a long hike through the valley to reach.

Location on our Day Trips Map

Green Spain
Flowers Asturias
Fauna Somiedo
Hiking Somiedo
Nature
Asturias Paradise
Asturias Rocks
Asturias Montanas
Somiedo Cuevas
Asturias
Cows Somiedo
Cricket Sex
bug
Somiedo Road Trip
Somiedo Hiking
Somiedo Asturias
Somiedo
Straw Hut
Somiedo Hut
teito
Dinosaur Asturias

Everything Asturias

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September 12, 2010 at 1:18 pm Comments (7)

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