Following the course of the River Cares in its high sections involves entering a calcareous throat of authentic vertigo which has its beginning in the municipality of Cabrales. Nature exposes its most recondite beauty here. Surrounded by an unlikely path, the most vertical slopes of the Picos de Europa are thus within the reach of any mortal, affordable and close to the human enjoyment of the mountain and its gorges.
The path that runs through the Cares River gorge is the most spectacular and well-known hiking route in the Principality of Asturias. Without a doubt, it is the most traveled of all the peaks of Europe and, according to numerous statistics, it is also the busiest mountain route in Spain. Inducements are not lacking to be a powerful magnet for nature lovers from all over the world; It equates its spectacularity and beauty to the ease of its route and in recent times have been accounted more than 200.000 walkers per year. These figures also warn us of something very important to take into account, and that for the full enjoyment of the route is preferable not to undertake it in the month of August or the weekends of the summer given the concentration of people on the route. Choosing any other date is more rewarding if we seek the privacy of the mountain. With some sneakers or light boots and a backpack that has the essentials (including a raincoat, just in case), the route can be undertaken on any date between the months of May to October, so it is only about choosing a suitable day to walk.
Origins of the Cares route
On the other hand, without minimum Historical facts It is difficult to understand how it is possible for a road of so many kilometers to cross the mountain in such a daring way, and we wonder who undertook this project and why. Although the first crossing of the Cares was made by meritorious mountaineers such as the Englishmen Abel Chapman and Walter J. Buck, together with the Marquis of Villaviciosa, Pedro Pidal (first also in climbing to the top of the Naranjo de Bulnes), the popularization of the route was not It would arrive well into this century and after certain works that enabled the path for the transit of any person.
The oldest route It had a significantly different route to the current one. At first it was exclusively for pastoral use and only after 1916 did things change. This was the year in which it began to delimit a winding and precarious path so that the operators of the Electra de Viesgo company could monitor and maintain a water channel, a channel that transported part of the flow of the Cares for its hydroelectric exploitation in the Central Camarmeña The construction of this power station meant the minimum widening of a path with continuous ascents and descents, from the Cain dam to Camarmeña. At that time it took about seven hours to go from Poncebos to Cain. Later, the enabled road was used to take agricultural products from Caín to the Cabrales markets, and only in the 40-50 years was the current path to improve the maintenance of the canal. The route was opened based on peaks and dynamite and in recent decades have been improving certain sections to ensure a safe walk.
Over time this route became a tourist attraction in the area. Currently it is one of the cardinal points of the Picos de Europa for any lover of the mountain. It is also known as the Divine Throat, given its spectacular nature, and offers its walkers privileged images along twelve kilometers that mark the division between the Western Massif of the Peaks, or of the Cornión, and the Central Massif or of the Urrieles. If we look up, we will see that the Ruta del Cares is also the beginning of a multitude of channels that cross the strong collapses of the two massifs that it divides. The Mesones canal to the west, or the Dobresengros canal to the central one are two clear examples. In addition, the roof of the Picos, Torre Cerredo, falls vertically on the Cares River, giving more form to its vertiginous canyon.