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Looking at the Picos from the summit of Canto Cabronero

The first part of this spectacular walk is along the ancient Senda del Arcediano a track built by the Archdeacon of Villaviciosa in the 17th century providing communication for the villages of Sajambre with Asturias. Communication routes in the olden days were normally over the mountain tops rather than along the river gorges. These high tracks would be impassable in the winter due to snow but did not suffer from landslides and fallen rocks when the snow melted which was the problem with many of the lower gorge passes. The “Senda del Arcediano” goes through some spectacular mountain scenery and was the major track to Cangas de Onis before the road along the Beyos gorge was built.

Pastures on the edge of the Archdeacons path

To start this walk you follow the Senda del Arcediano GR201 out of Soto de Sajambre in direction Amieva. The area around Soto de Sajambre has the greatest expanse of beech forests in the National Park of the Picos de Europa and as I started walking up from Soto de Sajambre and looked back towards the vast forests behind me they were tainted with marvellous hues of copper and gold. The sky was blue and the first snow lay shimmering on the high peaks. Peña Santa the highest peak in the western massif which can be seen so well from Soto de Sajambre looked stunning.

La Portilla separating Leon and Asturias

After about 45 minutes climbing the track flattens out whilst crossing over a meadow.  From this point it is possible to see the Ponga Mountains point as well as the Picos so I stopped here to have some breakfast and enjoy the many lovely views.  You then follow the path up to La Portilla; a small gate in a stone wall which is the boundary between Leon and Asturias. At this point you leave the Archdeacons path and start the climb up to Canto Cabronero.

Looking towards the Dobra gorge on the ascent to Canto Cabronero

First there is a small limestone rock face to overcome, which is done by ascending a small gulley. With a little bit of a scramble your above the rock face and come out to more pastures with the daunting peak of Canto Cabronero in the distance.  Looking at the peak from this point you might be tempted to turn back but it’s actually easier to ascend than the little gulley you’ve just climbed. The path goes around the bottom of this meadow before crossing a small stream and then passes over another small rock face by a cave. Then it carries up another grassy slope before starting the final ascent to the summit which is way marked most of the way with piles of stones.  The views on all this section of the walk are stunning.

The aerial summit of Canto Cabronero

After a steep climb near the top there is a small gap between two peaks; Canto Cabronero (the highest peak) is on your left. From this gap you can now see the Western massif of the Picos de Europa in their full splendour. The very last few meters to the summit are rather exposed but present no real technical difficulty. When you’re on the summit it is another of these places where words or photographs can in no way capture the magnificence that surrounds you.  Time just to sit back and bask in nature’s glory before the descent back the way you came. This was the third time I had climbed this peak and for people who are comfortable with a 1000m ascent it is one I would certainly recommend.

Stunning views from the summit of Canto Cabronero

Technical Information

Profile Ascent of Canto Cabronero from Soto de Sajambre

Map Ascent of Canto Cabronero from Soto de Sajambre

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and GPS trail available for guests from the hotel


Type of walk There and back
Starting Point Soto de Sajambre 5km from Oseja de Sajambre
Finishing Point Soto de Sajambre
Acces 48 km from the hotel 60 minutes by car
Public transport options Very difficult
Grading Very difficult
Total Length 14,8 km
Total Ascent 1160 m
Altitude 870 – 1996 – 870
Total Walking time 6 hours
Terrain Some scrambling
Navigation Paths not well defined in some points
Refreshments Two Bars at Soto de Sajambre
Map Adrados Western Massif Picos de Europa

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The beginning of Monte Moro with Ribadesella in the distance

Taking a short journey on the narrow gauge train always seems a nice way to start a walk and to start this walk you take the train from Arriondas to Cuevas following the River Sella. Not so many people use the train these days as it is a rather slow way to travel and stops at many small villages; I was the only person getting of at Cuevas and no one got on.  The main access to the village of Cuevas (where the walk starts) is by a road which passes through a cave or “Cueva” that is over 200m long and gives its name to the village. I decided to visit the “cave” before starting the walk as it really is quite impressive to see how the road winds through this dimly lit limestone cavern with the occasional stalactite and traces of a small stream running through it.

The village of Cuevas

Once I had taken the small detour to see the cave I started the walk which is sign posted Monte Moro and starts directly from the village of Cuevas. It begins with a gentle but continual climb using forestry tracks which first pass through Eucalyptus forests and latter pine forests. There are plenty of clearings with views over the River Sella the surrounding mountains including the Picos de Europa and the coast.  After a while you reach the gentle crest of this small mountain range “Monte Moro” and then carry on walking along the crest. I had forgotten just how good the views were in many places and as there were clouds forming over the Picos  this made the views all the more spectacular.

Looking towards the Picos from Monte Moro

After a while you leave the forestry tracks and carry along the summit of a spur, conveniently cleared as a fire break, before descending down the mountain side to the edge of a farm. Carefully following the farmer’s tracks through the fields you come to “Busternales” a farm building nestled in a col and with its own small chapel now used as a farm store.

Views to the coast from Monte Moro

At this point you have to decide whether to carry along the crest to Pico Moro and back to the hotel which involves an extra 220 m ascent and is about 1 km longer or follow the cement track down to the road and back to the hotel.  To go up to Pico Moro you follow a goat track which is a little overgrown in places but offers lots more spectacular views whilst the way back via the road is easier going, all be it 4 kms along the road. As I had to pick vegetable and serve dinners that evening I decided to go back along the road and was only passed by 2 cars.

Technical Information

Profile Cuevas a Hotel

Map Cuevas to Hotel Posada del Valle

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and GPS trail available for guests from the hotel


Type of walk A to B
Starting Point Cuevas
Finishing Point Hotel
Acces Starting a Cuevas railway station 20 min by train from Arriondas and returning by train from Ribadesella
Public transport options Using narrow gauge railway FEVE
Grading Medium to difficult
Total Length 14´5 Km (15,6 Km returning via Pico Moro)
Total Ascent 650 m  (850m returning via Pico Moro)
Altitude 10 – 500 180
Total Walking time 5 hour
Terrain tracks
Navigation Easy
Refreshments Bar in the village of Cuevas
Map Mapa Topográfico Nacional de España: Ribadesella

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The mighty Tiatordos as seen from the neighbouring Pico Pierzu

Tiatordos is the emblematic mountain of Ponga and there are two main ways of climbing it; the easier route starting from Pendones in the borough of Caso or the more demanding route starting from Taranes in Ponga when it’s possible to climb the summit and combine it with a complete circular walk around the mountain.  The walk described here (which I did a couple of days ago) is the second harder option and represents one of the toughest walks described on this blog. This is a 10 hour walk with 1900m of ascent and some quite complicated navigating so needless to say it should not be taken light hearted.

Views from the summit of Tiatordos

It’s been three years since I last did this walk and when I crowned the summit of this spectacular mountain for the first time it was an important mile stone in my walking life. Despite brilliant weather the days were getting shorter and I knew I could only reckon on 12 hours of day light for this walk. I calculated it would take 10 hours but I wanted to allow plenty of contingency time as I knew the walk was complicated. I decided to start walking at 07.30am, a good half hour before daylight broke with the help of my headlight on.  The walk starts from Taranes up the spectacular “foz de escalada” or canyon of the climb. With a name like that you can imagine what it is like; 500 meters climbing up a steep narrow ravine but with the compensation that every time I stopped and turned round, I could see the Picos in the distance spectacularly framed by the rock edges of the canyon.

Looking down the Foz de Escalada or "canyon of the climb" towards the Picos at first light.

Amazingly the path up the ravine was once cobbled all the way to the pastures of Daon just beyond the ravine. These large pastures are being lost to bracken and gorse as one of the rarest breed of the mountain fauna; the mountain farmer slowly slips into extinction. Most of this route goes from one mountain pasture settlement to another, using tracks which farmers used to use to travel between these different settlements. From Daon to Entigue and then on to the “majada” or settlement of Tiatordos.  The views are spectacular with the mix of beech forests, limestone outcrops, and stone huts.

Ruined hut in the pasture of Daon


Walking up from the majada de Entigue

Just before reaching the ruined settlement “majada de Tiatordos” I diverted from the circular route and started the 400 meter climb a long a well way-marked path to the summit. With many of the mountains in Ponga geological tilting and faulting has produced a gentle slope on one side and a shear drop on the other side. In the case of Tiatordos after climbing up the slope on one side of the mountain there is an unexpected a stomach stirring 500m drop at the top. Having gone as near to the edge as my stomach allowed I started descending back to the majada of Tiatordos ready to carry on the circular walk around the mountain. My solitude was briefly broken by the sound of a group of walkers coming up from Pendones, it was a Saturday and I guess you can’t always have the mountains all to yourself!

More sheer drops and views from the summit of Tiatordos

I carried on following the cattle tracks with a rather large down and up before I reached Romamperi. From the previous time I had done this walk I remembered this point as having one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen and living here in Asturias that is saying something. I was not disappointed; in the foreground beech forests covered the lower flanks of the spectacular chain of the Zorru Mountains while the Picos sat omnipresent in the back ground. I sat and had my lunch here admiring such sheer beauty and wanting to absorb it into my memory for ever. I’ve looked to see if there would be an easier way to get to this spectacular view point without such a long slog, so that more people could enjoy the views but to date I haven’t found a way.

Amazing views from Romamperi; photographs can never fully portray the magnificance of this place.

As I continued to the next remote pasture; Brañadosu I came across a farmer Antonio looking for five cows he had lost. A hardy but gentle looking character who had obviously spent all his life caring for cattle in this very remote part of Asturias. For me it’s always a real bonus when I meet a local farmer and have the chance to talk and learn more about the local area, paths and customs.

Antonio looking for his cows

An old path takes you out of the Brañadosu meadow through a small pass in a limestone outcrop and then through a beech forest before crossing two very steep pastures with long grass and patches of hazelnuts. I had wondered why these pastures hadn’t been grazed and the grass was so long and tough looking.  I had asked Antonio and he had told me that as the pastures were so steep when the grass was wet the cows often slipped over and fell to the bottom (a long way to fall.)

Very steep pasture just before the Collado Forada

Once over the next coll; Collado Forada I could see the base of the 500m drop that I had been looking down earlier that morning, wow! After descending down another grassy slope you follow a cow track for quite some way through more meadows and woodlands before coming to a larger track which eventually takes you back to Taranes. I arrived at Taranes very satisfied to have done this long walk once again.

Technical information

Map Tiatordos from Taranes Circular

Profile Taranes Tiatordos Circular

Download GPS trail from wikiloc


Maps and gpx tracks available from the hotel as well as walking notes

Type of walk Circular
Starting Point Taranes
Finishing Point Taranes
Acces 35 km from hotel, 45 min by car
Public transport options Very difficult
Grading Extremely difficult
Total Length 20,2 km
Total Ascent 1900 m
Altitude 600 – 1951 – 600
Total Walking time 10 hours
Terrain Mountain paths and slopes
Navigation Very difficult in parts
Refreshments Bar at  Taranes
Map Mapa Topográfico nacional de España: Campo Caso

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The huge pastures of Arcenorio as seen from Pileñes

This walk starts at Ventaniella where there ia a medieval Inn and chapel, and when you arrive there you think you’ve jumped a couple of hundred years back in time. The setting is amazing; isolated in a valley surrounded by high mountains and beautiful beech forests. To reach Ventaniella you have to drive a long a road from Sobrefoz which deteriorates into a dirt track and may be that’s what holds time back.

The medieval Inn and Chapel at Ventaniella

The walk starts along a track though a small beech forest and shortly joins part of a marked route “Puerto de Ventaniello” before coming to some neglected pastures. There’s a ruined farm building on this pasture but this time I couldn’t find it presumably it was hidden by the tall growing brooms a sign of abandonment.  Next there is a quite a long stretch following a stream up to its source just beneath the Los Arriondas col. Today it was easy walking as the stream was dry in many places and this made crossing from side to side very easy.

Beech forests just above Ventaniella

When I got to the col I was amazed to see the Arcenorio pastures down in front of me, I had forgotten just how big these pastures are, extending into the distance with the tiny chapel at the far end. The pastures at the base of the valley were still in good condition but on the slopes there was a lot of gorse and heather taking over and some quite large patches of this had been burnt recently. We have had 6 weeks of dry hot weather and in the last few days there have been lots of fires in the region provoked by farmers. These fires are terrible but I also find it very sad to see these pastures which are the essence to sustainable cattle farming being lost to prickly scrub. Controlled burning has been a technique used by farmers for decades to help keep the pastures clean. The problem these days is that the burning is uncontrolled.

Broom and gorse encroaching the pastures of Arcenoria. The black areas are where gorse was burnt a week earlier

Before carrying on the circular walk I decided to climb Peña Ten a large characteristic “rounded” mountain on my right; a (very) steep climb up the grassy spur and I was soon on the top. I guess I felt it would be nice to bag an extra peak and the last time I climbed Peña Ten it was in winter and I fancied seeing it in the summer.

Walking on the summit of Peña Ten in the winter

Once I had returned back down to the Arriondas col it was time to make for the ridge slightly to my left and climb the crest up to Pileñes. Again I was just flabbergasted at the views when I arrived at the crest, the Peloño beech forest beneath me with many of the Ponga Mountains in the foreground and the Picos as back drop. I really went slowly along this crest not because it was difficult but because I spent so much time admiring the views and seeing how many different peaks, meadows and passes I could recognise.

Looking over the Peloño beech forests from the ridge leading up to the summit of Pileñes

On the Pileñes summit I carried along the crest down to a col where I could make out the next section of the route before dropping down a steep gassy valley and on to a lower meadow which was full of cows. What seems amazing to me about this area is the amount of meadows and pastures in really remote places often hidden by the huge beech forests and mountains with difficult access and yet they are still being used by farmers. I just hope their work will be appreciated and properly remunerated so these meadows can de maintained and this magnificent mixed scenery will be around for many to see.

Farming in remote places, coming down from Pileñes

From this meadow it was along a cow path to the col I had previously visualised and into yet another large meadow surrounded by beech forests and with great views, but this time there were lots of horses in the meadow as well as cows. I left the meadow through beech forests to join the track I started walking on in the morning on and whilst walking back to the medieval inn I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was living in this wildly beautiful natural area. When I arrived back at Ventaniella they were doing building work on the Caseria as I since have found out it has a new tenant. I just hope they don’t spoil the amazing atmosphere inside this historic Inn in the name of progress.

Inside the Inn at Ventaniella

Technical Information

Contour profile Pileñes and Ten from Ventaniella

Map Circular walk of Pileñes and Ten from Ventaniella

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and GPS trail available for guests from the hotel


Type of walk Circular
Starting Point Ventaniella 6 km from Sobrefoz
Finishing Point Ventaniella
Acces 49km from hotel 70 minutes in car
Public transport options None
Grading Difficult to very difficult
Total Length 13,0 km  (15,2 km including ascent of Peña Ten)
Total Ascent 1020m  (1400 m including ascent of Peña Ten)
Altitude 1125 – 2133 – 1125
Total Walking time 7 hours
Terrain Tracks, meadows and mountain paths
Navigation Difficult at times
Refreshments Bar in Sobrefoz and Ventaniella
Map Mapa Topográfico nacional de España:  Beleño + Oseja de Sajambre

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Its not often you get signs as clear as this.

This walk starts at Panderrueda which is probably the closest point to the hotel to start a walk on the southern side of the Picos de Europa.  Despite its height, 1450 m Panderrueda is a gentle mountain pass with a large open grassy field, barbeques and picnic area. I arrived at nine o’clock in the morning, the temperature had been dropping continually since I left home and the car thermometer now marked 2ºC, definitely too early to wear shorts! I realised I hadn’t done this walk (with good visibility) for over four years and with a brilliant blue sky and not a cloud in sight it looked like I was going to have another good day walking.

Piedrashitas view point with a memorial to the Darleks

500 meters from the picnic area you come to the Piedrashita viewing point with its two concrete statues which look like a memorial to Dr Who and the Darleks. It was built in 1967 obviously with the mentality that laying concrete shows mans ability to dominate nature, but I think in this part of the world it’s very definitely nature that dominates.

Lichen covered conglemerate

With so much photographic material I was walking slower than normal. There is a short section of beech trees covered in long beard like lichens and after climbing up a small valley you come to an amazing outcrop of conglomerate rock. It looks like someone took a mass of rounded beach pebbles and glued them all together and then the lichens decided to paint them green; impressive natural art and an unusual geological feature for the Picos.

Southern side of the Western Massif

Next is a relatively flat section with spectacular views towards the Ponga Mountain, and then you get a change in perspective your jaw drops again as you get a stunning view of the southern side of the western massif. I hadn’t taken our own self guided walking notes and was following the map which I soon discovered had the route marked incorrectly. The map shows the route passing on the north side of Pico Samaya when actually the path goes on the southern side. It gave me an excuse to climb this slightly awkward and bouldery peak before joining the proper path at the lower coll (Colladinas de Somaya). From here the path is easy to follow, the views just get better and better and you’re soon comfortably on the Jarrio Peak.

Summit of the Jario peak in the foreground

We include this route in our self guided notes as there can be times when there is cloud cover in Asturias and this area can be above the clouds. Its 60 km from the hotel and a 75 minute drive but the route is lovely and gives the chance to see a different type of vegetation marked by a slightly more continental climate.

Peña Santa the highest peak in the western massif as seen on the way up to the Jario peak


Technical Information

Profile Panderrueda Pico Jario

Map Jario from Panderuedas

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and GPS trail available for guests from the hotel

Type of walk There and back
Starting Point Puerto de Panderruedas 6km before Posada de Valdeon
Finishing Point Puerto de Panderruedas
Acces 62km from hotel 75 minutes by car
Public transport options None
Grading Difficult
Total Length 12 km
Total Ascent 620m
Altitude 1450 – 1913 – 1450
Total Walking time 4 ½ hours
Terrain Mountain paths
Navigation Easy to start with slightly more difficult at end
Refreshments Bar at Oseja de Sajambre
Map Adrados Western Massif Picos de Europa

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Views from the Pico Zorru towards the Cordal de Ponga

Being surrounded by so many lovely mountains it’s too difficult to decide which is my favourite walk, there can’t just be one but various and the ascent of Pico Zorro from Les Bedules is certainly one of them.

When I walked it this time we were still experiencing an Indian summer so I wanted to get to the summit before the heat set in and started walking from Les Bedules at 8,0 clock in the morning. The first 3 kilometres take you along tracks, slightly wooded in parts but with good views and then you arrive at the large summer pasture of Les Llampes. There was a farmers car parked in the meadow but no sign of the farmer just plenty of cows grazing peacefully and the continual melody of their bells.

The Llampres meadow (taken last October)

The sun was rising over the Picos but the meadow was still in the shadow of the “Rasu” mountain and this made it a nice temperature for walking. I could still see mist over the coast and became aware it was slowly rolling inland. When there is good visibility it’s difficult to believe just how hard it can be to find your way across these pathless meadows when there is mist.

Another hot day with the early morning sun on the mountains but the LLampes meadow still in shade

Once past the meadow the walk takes you for a short distance through an old beech forest covered in lichens and then you arrive at the Pumarin Col with the Picos in front of you and the massive Peloño beach forest below you. There is such a variety of habitats; jagged limestone peaks rising in the background, a massive extent of natural beach forest and the occasional clearing where cows graze on abandoned pastures dotted with ruined shepherds huts. I often dream of a resurgence of mountain farming with people paying fair prices for sustainably produced meat and farmers once again nurturing these mountain pastures and the traditions that go with them. I dream a little more!

Around the limestone outcrop before climbng up the spur and on to the final ascent of Pico Zorru

Now it’s a short distance along a flattish track and I just want to admire the views but its getting much hotter and I reckon I should get a move on and wonder if I should have started walking an hour earlier! It’s across a small limestone outcrop and then round the bottom of a steep grassy valley before climbing up a gentle spur and on to the final grassy ridge before reaching the summit. It’s so stunning here that whenever I reach this point I just want to stay, and absorb the beauty of these “puertos” or high mountain pastures for as long as possible. The Pico Zorru is not the highest point in this small chain of mountains but gives it its name; “El Cordal del Zorru” may be because of its beauty!

The cross on the summit of Pico Zorru with the cloud covering the mountains in the background

I am on the summit and the mist is rising fast and the peaks to the north (seaward side of me) have all been covered by another stunning sea of cloud waiting to engulf me. Reluctantly I start me descent and with in 20 minutes my views and hot sweat have both gone and a cold damp mist accompanies me on my return journey back to the car.

Views from the Pico Zorru towards the Picos de Europa

Technical Information

Profile Les Abedules Pico Zorru

Map Pico Zorru from Les Bedules

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and GPS trail available for guests from the hotel

Type of walk There and back
Starting Point Les Bedules 6 km from San Juan de Beleño
Finishing Point Les Bedules
Acces 35km from hotel 60 minutes in car
Public transport options None
Grading Difficult to very difficult
Total Length 16,57 km  (12 km to Collado Pumarin)
Total Ascent 860m  (420 m to Collado Pumarin)
Altitude 1080 – 1844 – 1080
Total Walking time 6 hours
Terrain Tracks, meadows and mountain paths
Navigation Medium
Refreshments Bar in San Juan de Beleño
Map Mapa Topográfico nacional de España:  Beleño + Oseja de Sajambre

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Looking back to the Lakes of Covadonga on the final ascent to the Cotalba Peak

This is a classic walk in the Western massif of the Picos de Europa and this time I found myself doing it on the 8th of September; the day of Asturias. We were experiencing an Indian summer so I wanted to start walking at first light of day so as to avoid the mid day heat and left Arriondas at just gone 06,00am. To my amazement at that time in the morning I passed more than 30 people walking towards Cangas and on to Covadonga as a part of their pilgrimage to celebrate the day of Asturias. I thought it would be nicer to be walking in the mountains rather than along the road side, but each has his own beliefs.

On the route up to the Mirador de Ordiales

I started walking at about 07,00 am from Pan de Carmen (just beyond Lake Enol) and as sun rise wasn’t for another 50 minutes (or at least that’s what my gps told me) the first part of the walk along the track was in the dark. It took about 10 minutes before there was sufficient light to see the unevenness in the track and then it felt a little safer walking.

Vega La Piedra sort of meaning the pasture of stones! (On the way to Vegaredonda)

The Vegaredonda refuge is about one and quarter hours from Pan de Carmen and just before you reach the refuge many of the higher peaks of the western massif become visible. By now the first rays of the early morning sun were hitting the tips of these mountain peaks lightening them up in a majestic way and signalling the start of another hot day.

Chamois in the distance just beyond Vegaredonda

From the refuge onwards there is a section of this walk which is some what rockier though the path is well defined all the way. From here onwards you often see chamois and at times they can be quite close to you but today they were remaining in the distance. You soon come to the Ordiales refuge and beyond this point the path is slightly less obvious and you wonder where your going as nothing looks that impressive in front of you. Then almost with out realising it you’re at the Mirador de Ordiales where Pedro Pindal (the founder of the national park Picos de Europa) was buried and suddenly it’s a 1000m sheer drop down to the Angon Valley. There’s a sort of outcrop you can hold on if you want to lean over, I did and my stomach suddenly felt a little queasy, 1000meters is a long way down. I decided it was less unsettling to stand back a bit and appreciate the Ponga Mountains in front of me. No wonder the founder of the park wanted to be buried here.

Part of the view from the Mirador de Ordiales

To start the ascent to the Cotalba peak you retrace your footsteps back to the refuge and then carefully follow the waymarks in the form of piles of stones up the mountain side. There’s an interesting little scramble just before you reach the top, nothing too complicated but a definite scramble. Once on the summit what can be said? The high peaks of the western massif almost close enough to touch, the lakes can be seen in the distance and the Ponga Mountains look as fantastic as ever. Luckily there is an alternative way down so as to avoid the scramble which might have been a little more difficult going down than up.

 Technical Information

Contour Profile Pan de Carmen Ordiales Cotalba

Map Mirador Ordiales and Cotalba

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and GPS trail available for guests from the hotel

Type of walk There and back
Starting Point Pan de Carmen 2km from Lake Enol
Finishing Point Pan de Carmen
Acces 35km from hotel, 50 minutes by car
Public transport options Buses from Cangas de Onis only in summer months
Grading Difficult to Ordiales, very difficult to Cotalba
Total Length 16,5km to Ordiales, 19km to Cotalba
Total Ascent 760m to Ordiales, 1185m to Cotalba
Altitude 1100 – 1700 – 2026 – 1700 – 1100
Total Walking time 5 ½ hours to Ordiales, 7 hours to Cotalba
Terrain Rocky mountain paths, some scrambling to Cotalba
Navigation Medium to Ordiales slightly more difficult to Cotalba
Refreshments Bar at Lake Enol
Map Adrados Western Massif Picos de Europa

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Looking at the Western Massif of the Picos de Europa from Pico Pierzu

I can remember doing this walk for the first time about 10 years ago when I was leading a group of people staying at the hotel on a walking holiday. I had looked at the maps and read about this walk, thought it looked good so decided to venture into the unknown. Now I would never lead a group of people on a walk which I hadn’t previously done myself, but this time it paid of. The group voted it the top walk on their seven day holiday and since then it’s become one of the favourite walks with our guests.

The mountain of Tiatordus emerging from a sea of cloud as seen from Pico Pierzu

It starts from Collado Llomena which in itself has stunning views of the Western Massif and Tiatordus the emblematic mountain of the Ponga Mountains. First there’s 2 kms along a relatively flat track just right for you to warm up before a climb up to the start of the ridge. You’re following a PR with some yellow and white way marks and if you miss the path whilst climbing up to the ridge it’s not too much of a problem, you might just get slightly scratched from brambles and gorse but should soon get to the ridge.

Near the summit of Pico Pierzu

Once on the ridge you more or less follow it all the way to the mountain summit, nothing too complicated other than not allowing yourself to be distracted by the continual 360 º views. The Pico Pierzo is a pyramid shaped mountain and when on the summit you can look out to the coast. It’s also the summit you can see from Cangas de Onis framed in the distance when looking at the famous roman bridge.

Technical Information

Contour Profile Collada Llomena Pico Pierzu

Map Pico Pierzo from Collado Llomena

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and gps tracks availble for guests from the hotel

Type of walk There and back
Starting Point Collado Llomena 5 km from San Juan de Beleño
Finishing Point Collado Llomena
Acces 33 km from hotel, 50 minutes by car
Public transport options Very difficult
Grading Difficult
Total Length 10 km
Total Ascent 540 m
Altitude 1000 – 1550 – 1000
Total Walking time 4 ½ hours
Terrain Mountain paths
Navigation Undefined path at times with some waymarks
Refreshments Bar at San Juan de Beleño
Map Mapa Topográfico nacional de España:  Beleño

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The Camino de Santiago or pilgrims way, the coastal route

It was about nine o’clock in the morning and as I changed into my walking gear I was passed by a number of well built walkers, all in their late fifties or early sixties. They were ladened with 60 to 70 litre rucksacks and wearing the shell which symbolises the Camino de Santiago or Pilgrims Way. They were following the Camino de Santiago “coastal route” which coincides with a section of this walk. It is a beautiful walk going through green fields grazed by cows and passing close to cliff tops battered by the Cantabrian Sea.

Grassy fields and cliff tops near Arenal de Moris

A couple of Kilometres after the starting point at Arena de Moris you arrive at Playa La Espasa a lovely large sandy beach excellent for swimming and surfing with a bar restaurant conveniently situated on the sea front. Its one our favourite bars and makes it rather tempting to walk no further and just stay here enjoying a beer and a tapa just looking at the sea! (Unfortunately this bar is only open in high season at weekends during the rest of the year.) Today I didn’t even stop for a quick refreshment but carried on soon arriving at the next beach La Isla (after having walked 200m along the main road.) This is where the pilgrims leave our route to visit the small Pre- Romanesque church of Gobiendes whilst we carry along the cliff tops enjoying the sea air and following a small PR

Stunning coastal scenery near La Espasa

After more fields, cows, cliffs and of course stunning views of the coast, you come to a junction. Here’s where you have to decide whether to finish the walk at the village of Huerres where there is a small bar or lengthen the walk another 5 kms doing a circular loop visiting Playa la Griega and the dinosaur footprints which this coast is famous for.

Dinosaur footprints at Playa la Griega

I opted for the lengthening the walk which first goes up through a Eucalyptus forest and winds around a little before dropping back down to the sea and to a specially built viewing point which over looks the dinosaur’s footprints. I had actually forgotten how good the footprints were, you actually don’t require too much imagination to figure them out. After contemplating these Jurassic remnants I walked along to the next sandy beach Playa La Griega and remembered how 12 years ago I almost lost my daughter Samnatha at this beach to the undercurrents! Depending on the tide the sea can suddenly get deep so just be aware.

Looking at the footprints

Deciding not to take a swim there’s a little bit of walking on minor roads as the loop takes you past a rather nice, manor house and church; a pleasant contrast to all the coastal scenery. Then you soon come to Huerres and a chance for another stop at the bar before joining the route to retrace your footsteps back to Arenal de Moris.

Technical information

Contour Profile Arenal de Moris La Griega Huerres

Map Arenal de Moris, La Espasa, Hueres, La Griega

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and GPS trail available for guests from the hotel

Type of walk There and back
Starting Point Arenal de Moris
Finishing Point Arenal de Moris
Access 15 km from hotel, 20 minutes by car
Public transport options Very difficult

Arenal Moris La Espasa

Grading Easy
Total Length 4,6 Kms
Total Ascent 120 m
Altitude 0 – 45 – 0
Total Walking time 2 hours

Arenal Moris La isla Huerres

Grading Moderate
Total Length 16,8 Kms
Total Ascent 240 m
Altitude 0 – 50 – 0
Total Walking time 4 ½ – 5 hours

Arenal Moris La Isla Playa la Griega Huerres

Grading Moderate
Total Length 21,8 kms
Total Ascent 550 m
Altitude 0 – 105 – 0
Total Walking time 5 ½ – 6 ½ hours
Terrain Mostly paths along cliff tops
Navigation Easy
Refreshments Various bars en route
Map Mapa Topográfico nacional de España: Colunga

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Of all the walks I’ve done in Asturias this is the walk I’ve done the most times, about 20 in total and it was just as lovely as ever doing it again today. This is our closest mountain range so that’s one of the reasons why I’ve done this walk so many times,  but also this is an absolutely stunning walk with views of many of the mountain ranges in Asturias from the Picos de Europa to the Ubiñas as well as a large section of the coastline.

Sun rise over the Picos de Europa as seen from the Mirador del Fito

The Sueve is a coastal range with its highest point; the Pico Pienzu, only 3kms from the sea. This means it’s very prone to changeable weather conditions with clouds and mists that come and go with very little warning. However it’s often quite possible to climb through these mists into brilliant sun and look down on a stunning sea of clouds.

The look out point "Mirador del Fito" at the start of the walk

This morning I looked at the Sueve range from lower down near Arriondas and I could see the start of the walk the Mirador del Fito engulfed in mist blowing of the sea but the upper flanks were in brilliant sun. I decided to do walking anyway and true enough when I arrived at the Mirador del Fito there was a cold mist swirling around allowing only an occasional glimpse of the nearby hills, much to the annoyance to the many tourists who come to this view point considered one of the best in Asturias.

View from Mirador del Fito towards the coast

The first part of the route goes round three little hillocks and I walked this part quite fast and I soon arrived at the Bustaco meadows where suddenly the cool mist vanished giving way to a hot sunny day. It was mid day with a lot of hot sun beating down on me and this is where the ascent starts; 500m to climb, not like me to do the hard climbing in the warmer hours of the day but I hadn’t been able to leave earlier today. First there’s a climb up a track to the second meadow on to last water trough before the final ascent to the cross. There’s no real path on the last section just a matter of tacking up the mountain side appreciating the views as you go.

Horses on the summit of el Pico Pienzu

On the summit there were 3 horses posing with a spectacular backdrop of a sea of cloud over the coast: truly stunning making the hot slog well worthwhile. After a short rest and bread roll I headed back down to the Bustaco meadow and rather than return to the Mirado del Fito I followed the track and paths back to the hotel. First through a small Eucalyptus forest, then after crossing the main road following small tracks to Bodes and finally along the delightful stream side path back to the hotel. A really lovely end to what must be one of my top walks.

Technical Information

Contour Profile Mirador del Fito – Pico Pienzu – Hotel

Map Mirdor del Fito, Pico Pienzu, Hotel Posada del Valle

Download GPS trail from Wikiloc

Self guided walking notes available from the hotel

Type of walk A to B or there and back or circular
Starting Point Mirador del Fitó or hotel
Finishing Point Mirador del Fitó or hotel
Access 6km to Mirador del Fitó 10minutes by car
Public transport options No buses only taxi
Grading Medium starting at mirador not doing the peak, medium to difficult starting at mirador and doing the peak and finishing at the hotel, difficult to very difficult starting and finishing at the hotel and doing the peak
Total Length Mirador to hotel including summit 13,7km (excluding summit 8,1km)
Circular walk from hotel including summit 18km
Total Ascent Mirador to hotel  645m ascent 1120m descent (500m corresponding to the optional ascent to the summit)
Circular walk from hotel 1080 m ascent
Altitude 582 – 1154 – 170
Total Walking time Mirador to hotel 5 ½ hours (including 2 ½ hours for summit)
Circular walk from hotel 7 hours
Terrain Very varied
Navigation Easy, except for final ascent of the summit
Refreshments Kiosk at the Mirador del Fitó
Map Mapa Topográfico nacional de España:  Colunga

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