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“stunning stunning stunning scenery!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of La Ruta del Cares

La Ruta del Cares
Ranked #7 of 381 things to do in Asturias
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Gijon, Spain
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“stunning stunning stunning scenery!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2013

This is a "ruta" which in English means a trail. There are 2 ways to do this trail as previous contributors have said. We did it from the Cain side and only half way as we knew there was no way we could do the return trip in one day!

To get to Cain you need nerves of steel, the small winding mountain roads with few barriers makes for an interesting ride! I don't think I got over 4th gear the whole trip from Covadonga to Cain. I've been told that driving to Poncebos is easier and it's better to do the ruta from this side & walk to Cain rather than drive to Cain!
We stayed in Cordinanes, about 7km from Cain in a pension called El Tombo (which is an inn which has all the facilities of a hotel but is smaller) The pension was perfect with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. They also served a "menu" in the evening which was delicious and breakfast in the morning (which was just a hot drink and toast). The following day we drove to Cain for the ruta.
The ruta itself is spectacular to say the least. Huge mountains surround you on either side of the gorge while you snake your way along the path with the river. I wouldn't recommend this trail if you don't have a head for heights as at some points it can be quite high and there is no barrier, so those with young children or pets beware. (We did see some people with young kids tied onto them, just in case!)
The gorge can be a bit of a sun trap - we did it the first weekend in May & while there was still snow on the mountain tops, it was roasting down in the gorge, so make sure you wear long sleeves or wear lots of sun cream.
There are several places to stay in Cain and plenty of parking (the locals have it well sussed and if there's no on-street parking then there are plenty of little fields where you can leave your car for €3 for the day) There are also a few restaurants offering a "menu", which we availed of, but most people seemed to have brought a picnic & were sitting by the river enjoying the sunshine and the cool mountain water. If I did it again, this is what I'd do!

All in all this was one of my favourite walks I've ever done in my whole life! The scenery was spectacular, the locals delightful and all in all a fabulous day. Highly recommended!!

Visited May 2013
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3 Thank Irishlaura1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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California
Level Contributor
26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Amazing - if you can handle heights...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 August 2012

The ruta del cares isn't so much a tour, but a marked trail you can follow from Poncebos to Caín. The route is12 km in length, with the expectation you will do the return. Everyone we spoke with suggested there was no way to do trip one way, so you will end up walking 24 km. we did it in a heat wave in August and managed 3 and 1/2 hours there, 3 hours back. The section closest to Poncebos is the most difficult, with jagged rocks, loose gravel and steep sections. The Caìn side is much easier to walk, and seemingly better maintaned. There are no public restrooms at the start of the trail, or anywhere along it. Therese however hotels with bar/restaurants at either end. Parking officials limit he number of cars driving into the Poncebos. If you don't make it into Poncebos early enough to beat the other tourists you are required to park 2 km out of town and wait for a sporadic bus that will drive you into town, or walk in. The info booths do not have detailed maps, and there are only 3 signs along the way to keep you updated on your progress. The people working in both inf booths told me the route was simple, but I think that was an understatement. The path is fairly wide, but there is no railing or fence a any point, and massive drops. If you aren't comfortable with heights, this walk could be very overwhelming.

Visited August 2012
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2 Thank conchitalinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Falkirk, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Beautiful walking route!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 July 2012

Although the Ruta del Cares is listed here on Trip Advisor as a walking tour, it's really more of a self-guided walking route between the small villages of Poncebos (Asturias) and Caín (León). The route is 12km in length, with 24km of walking required if you do a return trip. It passes through some incredible natural scenery and uses some fantastic man-made tunnels, bridges and excavations in order to allow passage through a narrow river gorge.

The route was constructed in the early twentieth century to provide access as part of a hydroelectric power scheme, where water is taken from the river Cares at Caín and used to generate power at the power station in Poncebos. It passes high above the river valley/gorge with some extraordinary views to savour and many great photo opportunities.

We started from Poncebos, walked to Caín in time for lunch and then returned to Poncebos after eating. Overall the journey took us around six hours plus eating time - three hours of walking each way. It would be possible to walk in one direction only, but this would require some pre-planning as there is no easy route available for returning from Caín to Poncebos by car or public transport. Although the walking route between the two villages is just 12km, the landscape is such that driving between them requires you to take a journey of around 2 hours and a distance of over 100km! This may be possible to arrange by taxi or bus but I am not personally aware of how to organise this. The best solution is certainly to do the return journey on foot, if you are capable of doing so.

Poncebos is at a significantly lower height above sea level than Caín, so the first section out of Poncebos requires some considerable effort. For a period between 45 minutes and an hour long, it is necessary to climb up and up until reaching the top. After arriving there, the rest of the route is virtually flat and follows the man-made construction of the hydroelectric canal, so it is very easy to walk through this section.

In Caín, there are a handful of bars/restaurants where you can find something to eat, plus two small shops. We had a menú del día for €11, consisting of two courses, bread, wine and water. For my starter, I ordered melon with ham - after walking up there in hot weather, the melon was superb, so refreshing!

After lunch, we made the return trip by the same path. The return to Poncebos can be completed in a slightly shorter time since the final part is downhill, although this is tough on your knees and the rough/loose surface makes it a strenuous descent.

Due to the very stoney/rocky path, it is absolutely necessary to wear strong footwear such as hiking boots to walk this route. You can only walk a short distance from the Caín end while wearing trainers and I would not recommend completing the whole route in this manner.

Parking at Poncebos is free at the side of the road and is well controlled by a local authority employee in a fluorescent jacket. During the morning, follow the signs for the Ruta del Cares and continue until directed to park. You can also approach the route from the south and park at Caín but I can't advise about how that is organised.

For navigation, there are some signposts around at certain junctions but it is almost impossible to go wrong as the route is very obvious through the valley. You cannot get lost.

Remember to take water and sun cream with you when walking the route - as you would expect in an area with no vehicular access, there are no opportunities to purchase anything once you have started out along the route.

The Ruta del Cares is a fantastic day out and highly recommended. A magnificent place to spend some time!

Visited July 2012
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21 Thank jamierae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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