The best hiking routes in the Picos de Europa

We all know that the Picos de Europa is a promised land for hiking, constituting the second most visited national park of Spain only behind Teide. So in high season you will not lack company on your routes, but, luckily, there are many trails available, from short paths with little slope for everyone to long marches only suitable for expert mountaineers.

Five hiking routes in the Picos de Europa

Cares Route – Source: Depositphotos

Officially, you have at your disposal more than 30 trails short routes, including four high mountain routes, as well as two long routes. We recommend five of varying difficulty that run through different areas of the Picos de Europa which, remember, are located between Asturias, Cantabria and León.

Covadonga Lakes Route (PR-PNPE 2)

Covadonga Lakes - Source: Pixabay
Covadonga Lakes – Source: Pixabay

We begin with a simple and emblematic route that brings us closer to one of the symbols of the Cantabrian Mountains and a myth in the history of Spanish cycling. They are just three kilometers in its short route, to which two others can be added in its long version: both options are simple and with little slope, allowing you to enjoy the views of the Enol and La Ercina lakes from different viewpoints such as the Príncipe or Entrelagos, and then go down to Enol.

Don’t miss a visit to the Pedro Pidal Visitor Center to learn more about the Picos, and inform yourself well about access to Buferrera parkingthe place from which the route starts, because in high season its access is restricted due to the abundant influx of visitors.

Route from Urdón to Tresviso (PR-PNPE 30)

Climb to Tresviso - Source: Depositphotos
Climb to Tresviso – Source: Depositphotos

We go from the western end of the Picos de Europa to its eastern end where we reach Urdón in the middle Hermida Gorge, another natural jewel of the Cantabrian Mountains. It is a route of just over 11 kilometers (round trip) with a steep slope as we pass from less than 100 meters above sea level of the Urdón canal in the municipality of Penarrubia 900 meters from Tresviso.

This road was opened in the mid-19th century in the midst of the mining fever, connecting the Andara and Tresviso deposits with the gorge road. As a reward for the brave ones who reach the highest point of the route, a good piece of Picón Bejes-Tresviso cheese, the Cantabrian blue cheese that matures in the natural caves of the area.

Route of the Reconquest (GR-PNPE 202)

Covadonga - Source: Pixabay
Covadonga – Source: Pixabay

If you are going all out in the Picos de Europa, in addition to asking you to be careful on the roads (something happens every year), also due to the changing weather, we suggest the Reconquista Route. We all (or almost) know that the Reconquista is a mythical story, but so is the legend of Santiago and that does not mean it should lose interest as a historical and cultural route.

It is a long route that connects the northwestern end of the Picos, where the sanctuary of Covadongawith the southeastern end, in Cosgaya, on the edge of the Deva river, in the popular Cantabrian region of Liébana. It is divided into at least three stages that add up to almost 60 kilometers with a very high slope.

Cares Route (PR-PNPE 3)

Cares Route - Source: Depositphotos
Cares Route – Source: Depositphotos

With permission from the Lakes, it is the most popular route in the Picos de Europa due to the spectacular beauty of much of the route excavated in the Cares gorge: up to 230,000 people They traveled this route in 2018, an influx that has been recovering after the pandemic. But don’t let fame confuse you: it is not a simple route without dangers. So take it easy and be careful with the selfies.

In its long option it runs between Poncebosin the Asturian council of Cabrales, and Valdeón Inn in Leon. It can be done in one direction or another, being more difficult from Asturias since we have to overcome more positive slope, about 900 meters. In its short version we can reach Cain from Valdeón in León and then return to Poncebos, or vice versa: 26 kilometers in total.

Collado Jermoso Route (PR-PNPE 16)

Collado Jermoso - Source: Depositphotos
Collado Jermoso – Source: Depositphotos

But if you want to test your physical fitness and have experience as a mountaineer, the Picos de Europa have several highly difficult routes, not only because of their length, but because of their unevenness and danger. This is the case of the one that leads to Collado Jermoso in the heart of the Picos.

Part of Cordiñanes of Valdeón, one of the points that the Cares Route itself runs through. From here we ascend in the direction of the Vega de Asotín, the Traviesas de Congosto, until we exceed 2,000 meters in height at the Collado Jermoso: in total 4.7 km and almost 1,200 meters of elevation positive.

At the top is the Diego Mella shelter, dedicated to its promoter, who discovered the place in 1930 on one of his forays through the territory, being inaugurated more than a decade later. It is the base for climbers who want to go even higher, towards Torre de La Palanca or Llambrión. All this close to Cerredo Towerthe top of the Cantabrian Mountains with its 2,650 meters high.

about the hiking routes of the Picos de Europa in the official Web.

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