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Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares) in Spain

Take one of the most breathtaking hiking trails in Europe

Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares)
Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares)
Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares)
Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares)
Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares)
Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares)
Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares)
Cares River Route (Ruta del Cares)

The Cares Trail or Ruta del Cares, in between the province of Leon and Asturias in Spain, is one of the most popular trekking paths within the Picos de Europa Mountains. It is also likely one of the most breathtaking you will ever encounter. Previously, this route was the only one connecting the villages of Caín (Leon) and Poncebos (Asturias). It was opened in 1916 to provide maintenance and food. Nowadays, it is one of the most exciting hiking spots due to the passage that is cut in the rock.

There are several options for this hike. Overall, it is 21 km long, but the most popular section covers only 11 km. It starts in Caín and ends in Poncebos. You can also start in Posada de Valdeón and have someone with a car waiting for you in Poncebos. Another good option is to begin in Posada de Valdeon until the Asturias border and then return to the starting point. No matter which way you choose, the views around will make you feel wonderful.

No training is required and the route is suitable for everyone. However, you must be very careful about the cliffs.

The Cares Route hiking season is spring, summer and autumn. While the rest of Spain swelters in the summer heat, the Picos de Europa offer a perfectly refreshing shelter for its visitors. June to August are also beneficial due to fewer rainy days. Nevertheless, water-proof garments are to be taken even in summer. Spring and autumn offer spectacular nature as well as pretty pleasant hiking weather. Winter walk is also an option, but the season isn't that appropriate for the snow-covered peaks.

Practical info

When is the best time to hike the Cares River Route?

Hiking season for the Cares River Route is between March and November, which offers perfect weather conditions with fewer rainy days. The trail is not ideal for hiking in winter, which means eight months of a hiking season. Show more

Where does the Cares River Route start and end?

The Cares River Route extends from Caín, a village situated in the province of Leon, to Poncebos, Asturias, in northern Spain, covering a total distance of 21 km. The 11 km stretch between the two points is the most popular. An alternate starting point is Posada de Valdeón with a pre-arranged ride back from Poncebos. Show more

What are the different options for hiking the Cares River Route?

The Cares River Route offers visitors a range of options. The most popular 11 km section begins at Caín and ends in Poncebos. It is also possible to start at Posada de Valdeón, reach the Asturias border, and then return to the starting point. Regardless of the path, visitors will enjoy the stunning views of the trail. Show more

Is it difficult to hike the Cares River Route? Do I need any special training?

Visitors with good physical condition can hike the Cares River Route without special training. However, caution is required when hiking near the cliffs. Although the trail is moderately challenging, tourists should wear comfortable hiking boots and a waterproof jacket since rain is possible. The trail is suitable for everyone. Show more

What should I wear and bring on the hike?

For a comfortable Cares River Route hiking experience, visitors must wear comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes, ensuring proper grip. They should also wear a waterproof jacket due to the possibility of rain, even in summer. It is advisable to carry snacks and water for the 6-hour hike, along with sunscreen and a hat as protection from the sun's harsh rays. Visitors can capture the trail's magnificent views using a camera. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin