Senda del Cares, a beautiful hiking at Covadonga
The Cares path (senda del cares in spanish) is one of the best hiking trails in Spain, located in the national park of Covadonga, connecting from Poncebos to the Cain village which is the closer one.
Doing it with friends, it took us more or less 7h15 for a round-trip but if you want to walk more, there are other paths which can take you more than 10h to reach the first village.
And if you want to do the original trail between Poncebos and Posada de Valdeón village, count more or less 12h for a round-trip.
The Cares path is very impressive, so beautiful for its
landscapes that people also call it the Divine Ravine (la Garganta Divina), where the water of the Cares river is your best partner because it runs in parallel with the trail. The only difference is that the river is located at the bottom of the mountain and you will be high up.
Poncebos is only reachable by car so if you don’t plan to rent a car, there is a special bus of the Alsa company (only during summer time) but first, you will have to reach the Llanes town by train or by bus.
After parking our car, we went to the beginning of the Cares path which is a carved way up to the mountain but first we took a little time to read some information. According to a panel, it takes 3h15 to reach Cain which means don’t pause to record, to take picture, to drink even to pee !!!
Fortunately, it was a sunny day so starting our hiking adventure around 10h15, we reached the village around 14h30 making some stops not only to appreciate great views but also to drink and to inspect some abandoned houses that we crossed during our trip.
The first kilometers are up to the mountain and because it was the morning, the sun was not too hot yet in comparison to the afternoon for the heat that we suffered during our return. During our walk, we met some inhabitants of the area which are the goats. For instance, we met 2 of them meanwhile we got ready to cross a small natural tunnel, resting there in the shade where fresh air was running and 1 after crossing a steel bridge.
The animals were not afraid of us, even the one from the bridge came close to one of us asking, I don’t know, a kind of stroking or just wanted to get rid of its fleas. More we were close to the village, more we walked down the mountain so what we saw as a tiny water point at the beginning changed to the river. At any moment, the river disappears from our sight, sometimes hiding by some trees but always there, at the ravine, doing the noise of the running water.
There are also some waterfalls which are very less impressive during the summer time due to the lack of water. In a particular area, between a wooden bridge, take a close look on the panels, you should see one saying Autonomous Region of Castilla and León and the other, Autonomous Region of Asturias which shows the frontier of both regions.
After crossing a long tunnel with windows excavated in the rock, we reached the village by walking more or less 10 minutes where there are souvenir shops, places to eat and a hotel for people who want to pass one night here. Inside the tunnel, according to the hour, there is more or less light because it is only illuminated by the sun.
After eating, we got out of Cain around 15h50 to reach Poncebos around 18h50, less than the official time because we walked quicker and in my opinion, the way is easier from this point but in spite of this, if you plan to do it, I will recommend you to do the same itinerary as me.
Why ??? I will tell you my reasons:
- Poncebos is a rock area with no places to eat so you will have to bring your own food, no hotels which means to bring your own tent (if not, you will have to walk some kilometers more to reach the first accommodation)
- At Cain, we ate near the bank of the river so it was very great to take off our shoes and socks then to put our feet inside the clear water, it was our great relax moment and like I said above, there are restaurant and hotel to rest.
Of course, you can tell me that from Cain, walking up the mountain, is easier because the climb is not so steep as from Poncebos and I will answer you “true, but the last kilometers you will have to climb this hard part, no way to escape it”.
Even if you plan to do the original path, between Poncebos and the Posada de Valdeón village, I will tell you the same thing, start at Poncebos. For more pictures, check my photo website Concept RT.