Ruta del Cares
The hike of the hikes of Picos de Europe: RUTA DEL CARES! A hefty walk of no less than 24 kilometers that goes from Poncebos to Cain de Valdeón and back again (or the other way around, of course). So you walk back along the same path. It also called the Divine Gap enough and we understand why.
The hike is FANTASTICly beautiful and is one of the most popular hikes in northern Spain for good reason. You will hike through the famous Cares gorge which means you are constantly surrounded by beautiful mountains some over 2000 meters high and babbling brooks. You can start the hike in Cain but so can Poncebos. From Poncebos, the first stretch is a considerable climb, making this starting point a little less desirable. Especially during a hot day, this can be a spirited start.
Ruta del Cares in Figures
- Distance: 24.3 kilometers
- Time: 8 hours
- Altitude difference: 500 meters
- Department: 500 meters
- Difficulty: medium
Although the hike is described as easy, some fitness is desirable. Of course, the distance and duration of the hike do not make the trip any easier. A few tips to make the hike a little easier:
- Put on good shoes
- Start early especially on hot days
- The first stretch (from Poncebos) is the toughest so don’t be discouraged by this. It gets better!
- Go to the restroom ahead of time, as there are few places along the way where you can quickly duck into a bush
- Don’t feed the mountain goats! They look cute, but are little bastards
- If you find 24 kilometers in 1 day too much, you can also book a hostel in Poncebos or Cain and only hike the route back the next day. It is even possible to take a jeep ride back, but you have to book it in advance.
Hiking from Poncebos to Cain – Ruta del Cares
Ruta del Cares is a popular hike and one of the longest hikes in Picos de Europe. From Poncebos, the first part of the hike in particular is immensely hard. It is a hefty climb of about 2 kilometers, but views from the top are breathtaking. If you leave from Cain then we recommend that you do not hike all the way to the end, as the beginning from Poncebos is not very interesting. It’s then best to turn around just before the climb.
After the first climb, most of it is flat and you walk along the gorge. The hike is not very kids friendly, as you walk along a considerable precipice. It is also better to keep dogs on a leash. The route is carved into the side of the mountain, and there are no handrails or fences to keep you away from the edge, so a little care is recommended.
As you near Cain, the hike turns into narrow tunnels and caves. You also pass several bridges. A spectacular part of the hike. From the highest part Los Calla’s you have the best views and sometimes you can even admire Mount Urriellu.
Tip! What you’ll probably also enjoy reading is the article on the hike to Bulnes.
When is the best time to do the hike Ruta del Cares?
Actually, you can do the hike all year round, but in spring everything is in bloom and the falls are at their most beautiful. In summer it can be quite hot, so then it is wise to leave early. In winter, you have the chance of snow, and because of the steep cliffs, this may not be the best option this time of year.
What are nice places to stay in Ruta del Cares / Poncebos of Cain?
How to get to & parking at Ruta Del cares?& parking at Ruta Del cares?
If you are with an RV, it is best to start from Poncebos. In fact, the entrance to the hike is easily accessible by RV and there are several parking options along the way. It is also possible to park your car, bus or RV at the Bulnes cable car. From here it is still 20 minutes to the entrance.
It is also possible to park your bus or RV at Las Arenas. From here, however, it is still a 45-minute walk.
Public transportation runs only is the high season, but is quite limited. This is the cheapest option though, at only 1.55 and leaves from Arenas de Cabrales.
The last option is to go by cab from Las Arenas. Since our bus was unfortunately at the garage, we decided to take the cab. This costs 10 euros. Then you do not have the hassle of parking and you are dropped off right in front of the entrance.
From Cain, the entrance is a bit more difficult to reach by RV or bus. For example, it is actually not allowed to do the road from Posada de Valdeón to Cain with the motorhome. This is because of the many steep slopes. Yet you see many vans and campers doing this. We eventually decided to skip this route by bus. By car, however, the village of Cain is easy to reach.
Another option is to do the hike from Posada de Valdeón. This does make the route even longer and an overnight stay in Poncebos is recommended.
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