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.