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“Absolutely fabulous hike--go!”
Review of La Ruta del Cares

Ranked #12 of 541 things to do in Asturias
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 12 May 2018


If hiking from the Poncebos Bridge end, the parking is limited to parking along the side of the entry road. The earlier you arrive the closer you will be to the trailhead. We parked around 9am on a Tuesday and were near the trailhead. When we returned around 4pm cars were parked several kilometers down the road. 

A reasonably fit hiker can hike from Poncebos to Cains and back in a day hike. We hiked the round trip from 9am to 4pm with a long stop in Cains and lots of photos. A number of people were running the round trip. 

We saw no toilets on the Poncebos end and the trail is very exposed so there weren’t any options along the route either. A nice restaurant/bar in Cains where we bought water and drinks had bathrooms.

There are a number of restaurants in Cains and nice picnicking along the river. 

The drop offs are steep but hikers are courteous and we never had any issues. 

We would put this on par with the beauty of hikes we’ve done in New England in the fall, and it's pretty flat for 3/4 of the hike. 

If you’re interested, the engineering of the canal is quite fascinating as well.

1  Thank visitall50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"be careful"
in 5 reviews
"ruta del cares"
in 7 reviews
"the river"
in 14 reviews
"sun cream"
in 4 reviews
"picos de europa"
in 8 reviews
"half way"
in 4 reviews
"bring water"
in 3 reviews
"high season"
in 3 reviews
"stunning scenery"
in 4 reviews
in 2 reviews
"return trip"
in 3 reviews
"bring enough"
in 2 reviews
"opposite direction"
in 2 reviews
"start point"
in 2 reviews
"park your car"
in 2 reviews
in 3 reviews
"young children"
in 3 reviews

8 - 12 of 755 reviews

Reviewed 1 November 2017

Should you be visiting the North of Spain in the Asturias, this a quintessential way to experience the Picos de Europa. Starting at Poncebos to Cain, with the option to either return or carry on to Posada de Valdeón, the route is a constant source of amazement. This forms a round trip of about 24km. The start from Poncebos is an immediate climb, gaining about 550m in 2km before easing into a slight decline. From there it is just about flat and the most difficult is enduring the stony trail. Good footwear is a must. If you are lucky, you will see some Griffon- or Egyptian vultures or even a golden eagle along the way.

Cain itself is just a halfway house. Plenty places to eat and some places to sleep too. Food is typical Spanish fare and not too expensive, bearing in mind the remoteness of the establishment. Having visited in mid October, the season was long gone and fortunately not too many people were about, making for quick service.

The return trip is slightly faster than going in as less time is spent taking pictures. Sometimes the precipitous sides suddenly comes into focus and one realize how easy it would be to trip and tumble down. Focus on the trail is a must. The descent of the 550m is quite a challenge on the, by now, tired legs! All in all a wonderful experience.

Just one warning: be careful of rockfalls. These happen not too infrequently.

2  Thank downsouth383
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 October 2017

We got there from the seaside, got to Las Arenas, followed the sign La Ruta del Cares and 5-6 km later in Poncebos we found parking near the start point (you can park your car even closer along the road if it is not high season). Unfortunetely we didn't have all day for trekking, but 3,5 hours (2h way up and 1,5h to get back) was absolutely worth to spend there. Views and mountains are amazing. Be careful during rainy days. I don't recommend to go there with young children - it may be a bit stressful in some parts of route. Get a big bottle of water with you and enjoy.

2  Thank Jarek S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2017

We were staying at Arenas which is a good option for visiting the gorge from the Poncebos side. Parking is along the road and the later you get there the further away from the start you will be. We arrived about 9.30am mid September and there were a lot of cars already. Coming back there was no parking anywhere near the start.

The walk from this side is the hardest. My guide book said it was an easy walk but I found it anything but. The going is steep for about hour and half. It was a warm day and everyone was dripping with sweat. It seemed most people were puffing and panting. The views were spectacular. We only walked for hour and half until the trail started to go down hill. It's a good idea to take a stick, I had two and they were invaluable.

Second day we drove to Cains and walked from the other side. The road into Cain was extreme narrow but we didn't encounter anyone else at this time of year. There were a few small car parks. I would think in peak season, if you're don't come early then parking would be a problem. A little man in the car park charged us €3 but we weren't even sure whether he was the official parking attendant. He had gone when we returned!

The walk from this side is completely different. Less austere than the other end but equally stunning. This is the side that you have to have a head for heights for as the drops are huge. Easy walking this side with no climbs so we got further than the other side. Again, sticks were invaluable. This is a stunning gorge quite unlike anything we've encountered before and well worth doing it from both sides, whether in a day or two like us.

1  Thank tngm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 October 2017

Spectacular hike, which did change as we walked along. The two ends are very different from each other, and much of it was breathtakingly beautiful. We saw hundreds of butterflies, huge flocks of murmurating birds, lots of lizards, dozens of mountain goats, as well as circling vultures.

We started at the Poncebos end, and as middle-aged, but physically fit and active people, we were fairly confident that it would take us just under the average three hours each way. No chance. To do it in that time (and I'm sure there are many who do-- they were literally running up the path--) would mean a fairly brisk walk the whole way without any stops. It was closer to 4 hours of walking each way, not including any breaks. We let numerous people just like us go past us too, and there were often times when we couldn’t see anyone else on the trail. It was glorious.

The steepness of the ascent and descent wasn't as difficult as other hikes, but the uneven footing and loose shale is something to be done with a bit of care, especially on the way down, when tired. It really was 45 minutes to an hour, especially the descent. We were in no rush. We had all day, and it took all day. We underestimated how long the main bit of the hike would take to walk at an ordinary walking pace and be able to look around to enjoy the scenery.

There is a halfway sign post, where there are a number of flat rocks. We found it about half an hour after we were sure we must already be half way there. We had long breaks there in each direction, and a coffee in Cain at Casa Cuevas (the last restaurant up the hill- good cafe cortado & good price, by the way). We set off from the trail head at 9:30am, and were celebrating with a chilled Sidra at a picnic table at the Garganta del Cares restaurant back in Poncebos just before 7pm. It was a glorious sunny day, but it was a long day.

There was a water spout in Cain where we refilled a bottle for emergency use, as we couldn’t be certain it was safe to drink by people. Otherwise, there is a mini supermarket to re-stock in Cain. They had fresh fruit. They also sold walking sticks, which I presume many people buy in anticipation of the descent back down to Poncebos.

We thought we’d be wiped out the next day, but we still had the energy and motivation to attempt to walk up to Bulnes village. Sadly, we ran out of time with a midday hotel checkout and had to turn back, but we would recommend the start of that hike too. Loose shale again, but absolutely beautiful.

Thank QueenCherryUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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