There are no words to describe them. You have to see them. Saliencia lakes are a diamond in the rough, one of the meccas of the Asturian landscape. The fact that you have to walk a good distance to discover them keeps you away from mass tourism. They are the lovers of the senderismo those that take in the retina an unrepeatable image, like a fat prize.
There are more than a hundred lakes and lagoons dotting the Principality of Asturias, but these three-those of Saliencia-may take the cake. Somiedo is one of the five Natural Parks of Asturias and hosts a dozen lakes, including the biggest and deepest of the Cantabrian mountain range. For the environment in which they register, little or nothing have to envy the legendary Lagos de Covadonga. Somiedo is an abrupt council, dominated by nature in its most genuine state. This excellent degree of conservation of the landscape, the fauna in freedom, the brañas and the friendliness of the countrymen, makes us feel like authentic explorers.
We are going in search of these lakes crossing spectacular enclaves by glacial valleys, through the trail PR AS-15. Lake of the Valley and those of Saliencia, Biosphere Reserve, are the ones that everyone wants to see. For them we ascend to the Alto de la Farrapona (1.708 m.), A point that divides the Asturian region of Somiedo from the Leon of Babia. We are ready to face 14 kilometers (round trip). You do not have to be an Ironman, but you do need a certain state of form and are accustomed to walking. As it is logical, the most recommendable thing is to make the route with good weather and not to try it in winter, unless we are professionals of the mountain. With good climatic conditions, the excursion could be said to be of average demand, but the length of it does not make it suitable to go with young children. It will take at least six hours to go and return, what you have to take into account to plan the trip. The route is well signposted with signs and brands to that effect. Although there are some slopes of a certain hardness, the route has rather little unevenness as a whole, some 400 meters.
From the parking we follow the indication to «Saliencia Lakes». In just 15 minutes, following the itinerary of the old Santa Rita iron track - currently abandoned - we can see the Cave Lake surrounded by the slopes of the Ubiñas massif. Soon we reach a fork (18min), continue to the right and up. The old mining track, which was quite possibly a secondary branch, or "winter", of the old road of La Mesa (prehistoric route conditioned by the Romans), leads us to a viewpoint overlooking the Lake of the Cave, the Alto de Colladín and Sierra de los Bígaros mountains in the background. Passing the Laguna de la Mina we reach a ridge (37min, 1745 m) from where you get unbeatable views of the Cerveiriz meadow. We follow the arrow pointing to the left, towards the «Lake of the Calabazosa». Soon we see the Lake of Cerveiriz on our right. After reaching the end of the ridge (45min) we discover a magnificent panoramic view of the great Lake of Calabazosa, the largest of the three, which occupies the depression of a large dolina excavated by dissolving the limestone. La Calabazosa or Llanegru can reach 60 meters deep
We return to the track and continue down to Vega de Cerveiriz. Next to Lake Cerveiriz (57min) the track forks. We follow the indication to the «Lago del Valle», on the right, through the valley. At the end of it (1h 03min) (1685 m) we ascend to a hill, where we find a wooden landmark. In front of us stretches the Vega de Camayor with soft subalpine pastures. Continuing along the right bank of the valley we reach another hill (1h41min) (1745 m), from where you can see the peaks of Peña Llana, Cebolléu and Picos Albos. On our left we see a sign towards the «Lake of the Valley». From here we follow the milestones of white and yellow colors along a path that runs down. We arrive at a track by the lake (2h 45min) (1570 m).
We return by the same route to the Alto la Farrapona car park (5h 20min).Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com