The Arrudos Gorge is one of the great fluvial canyons of Asturias and one of the most impressive and colorful routes we can undertake in the Principality. Water is the main protagonist, since it has given rise to the appearance of open valleys and impressive limestone rocky gorges; all in an environment whose conservation status is enviable. In the Redes Park, the lushness of its Atlantic forests is proverbial and this makes it an obligatory autumn destination.
The route of the Desfiladero de los Arrudos is, perhaps, the most attractive of all the Natural Park of Networks. A fascinating path that crosses beautiful beech forests, sheep pastures and that brings us closer to one of the great natural wonders of this park: Lake Ubales, the only accessible from Networks. Located at the foot of the Cascayón peak (1954 m.), It is located in a fairy tale setting, in one of the most beautiful landscapes of Asturias and still unknown to many.
Los Arrudos: a route with two alternatives
It is a route that presents several travel options within the PR-AS-61 trail. We can undertake a round trip: Caleao - La Fontona, about 22 kilometers in total, of a low difficulty, or opt for continue from Fontona towards Lake Ubales and the village of Infiesta. This last option presents a greater difficulty: the route is longer and is not suitable for young children. The first of the alternatives faces a gap of about 400 meters and the second exceeds the 1.000. In both cases the requirement and danger increases with bad weather, so we must do it from mid-spring to mid-autumn.
Route to La Fontona
The march begins shortly before the town of Caleao, taking a track that starts from the left bank of the road. After passing by the hermitage of San Antonio (where the parking lot is located), the path is delimited by walls that surround the meadows. The first section is flat and runs between meadows on the banks of the river. We soon discovered the colors of the beech woods and the typical riparian and mid-mountain forest: birch, hazel, beech, chestnut, occasional oak and abundant ash trees on the banks of the river. After crossing the stream several times and once left behind the cabins of Agualmayu, you reach a wooden bridge. From here the stream forms small waterfalls.
Soon we arrived at the Prendeoriu's cabin, where the track becomes a road. We continue moving closer to the impressive gorge that we can glimpse in the distance. We reach the hanging bridge of La Calabaza, where the ascent begins (an approximate hour of ascent). At this point begins the authentic gorge of the Arrudos, which owes its name to a traditional utensil formed by a holly stick about 2.5 meters high in which several crossed stakes were placed as rungs to facilitate the climb in the most difficult points of the route. To overcome the narrowness and unevenness of the gorge, the road sometimes appears carved into the rock, forming authentic steps in points of the route (some believe that it was a Roman road).
We are contemplating the spectacle of the gorge, totally embedded between mountains and that we cross by the only existing access. After a steep slope we reach El Collaín, a small plain from where you can see a large part of the Roxecu Valley. Following the main road and leaving the river on the left, you will soon reach La Fontona, a magnificent place to rest by the river and starting point of the pipes that lead the water destined to the supply of Gijón. This is the point of return to Caleao for those less used to walking. It is advisable to return quietly. The descent by Los Arrudos requires some caution if the slabs are wet. It is also advisable to stop often to contemplate nature, since this contemplation is the most rewarding part of the excursion. Among many other things, we can see in the chamois in the high rocks.
Route to Lake Ubales
This alternating road that starts shortly before the Fontona, ascends and It crosses the leafy beech forest of Los Arrebellaos until reaching Roccocu sheepfold, beautiful plain where we see old ruined cabins. After crossing the river begins an ascent of just over a mile and a half that leads to the flock of Llede, first, already the one of the Moyones after. Here you can make a brief stop to rest and drink water in a nearby fountain. This fold is completely surrounded by mountains in a kind of circus, with beautiful panoramic views.
The road continues ascending among high mountain meadows and leads to the Collada de Ubales, highest point of the route (1711 meters of altitude), where we enjoy magnificent views of the valley of Brañagallones, the Cantu l 'Bear, the Tiatordos and even the Western Massif of the Picos de Europa.
In this collada we take a detour to the right that, without losing height, arrives in a few minutes to the recondite Lake Ubales: small mountain lake that owes its origin to a glacial cirque.
We return to Colláu Ubales and we begin the descent to the flock of the Carbaza, where the route connects with the old Camín de Castilla, which once traveled regularly with the muleteers of the council of Caso. The itinerary continues to the left along this road, and the La Canalina hill is comfortably reached, followed by Pandu Vallegu, where it will not be strange to enjoy the spectacle of some of the chamois flocks that frequent the area. There is no more to descend to the cabins of Pasaoriu by the wide path that leads to La Infiesta, beautiful village final destination of the itinerary.