The Cliffs of Hell

Walking route along the coast of Ribadesella

Walking route along the coast of Ribadesella

In Asturias there are places worthy of being discovered, lost paradises of legend. Great part of the coast of Ribadesella is one of them and more specifically the route of the Cliffs of the Hell; an overwhelming environment with precipitations of infarction, where limestone, wild flowers and seabirds dominate.

The spectacle of the seagulls that nest in the walls of this coast is unique. Dozens of these birds surprise the hiker with their discordant and harsh squawks. This is all the hell we are going to find here: the harmony of nature and the rumor of the sea broken by these squawks, a sign of anxiety or alarm due to the arrival of intruders in the vicinity of their colony.

The maritime panoramas, of great beauty, they are discovered everywhere. It is not advisable to be reckless, nor climb a rock, or take false steps to enjoy a good view.

To start our tour we will take the AS-263 road, to 1,8 kilometers from Ribadesella, between the Oreyana football field and the Collera detour. We continue along a paved track, crossing the train track we will see a post with two signs that indicate us Arra Beach and Cliffs of hell. Perhaps the best option to enjoy this stretch of coast in all its splendor is to approach firstly to Arra to then back off and take the direction to the cliffs.

At 300 meters, next to a house, there is space to leave 6 or 7 cars (GPS: 43º 27'29 "North and 5º2'39" West). To the east of the same, very close, there is a small hatch that we must cross and 150 meters, a path marked by the footsteps, this incredible corner will appear before our eyes. The view is lost very low, in the Pedral de Arra, a beach difficult to access today after a collapse of its staircase. We are in a geological point of global relevance, its study is key to understand the origin of Asturias and the Cantabrian mountain range. Arra is the main protagonist of a research project that aims to unveil the karstic formations of the Asturian Jurassic. Geologists say that this point explains the evolution of the Ribadesella fault, a fracture of almost ten kilometers in length that arose 33 million years ago and that crosses the whole council. There began the story of the peculiar mountain landscape of Asturias. It is very easy to observe this fracture in the cliff in which we find ourselves, which suddenly transforms from low formations to the west -with pastures to the very edge of the sea- to the abrupt and high coast that continues towards the East, where you can already see in the foreground the Cliffs of Hell.

We must reach the recreational area of ​​Hell (GPS: 43º 27'35 "North and 5º1'47" West) returning to the junction of the road that we left behind and taking the deviation to the left, always continuing along the asphalted track without deviating at any time. From the recreational area there is no other option than to go on foot, walk and enjoy a parallel route to the sea on the cliffs. The path continues serpentine, with possibilities of shortcuts but always intuitive and easy to follow, crossing a eucalyptus and later a pine forest. We thus travel the Cliffs of Hell and Tomasón until you reach the beautiful Islet of Paluverde. In reality it is a cliff or pillar of rock, an ancient cliff detached from the continent due to the erosion of the waves.

To reach this point we have traveled about two kilometers from the recreational area. From here we can turn south to connect with the road to Santiago, which we will travel to the west to return to the area from which we have left. Another option is to continue eastbound along the cliffs until you arrive, another two kilometers further on, to Castru Arenes and the cliffs and beach of Guadamía .

Text: © Ramón Molleda for

Total distance: 6009 m
Maximum height: 120 m
Minimum height: 66 m
Ascent slope: 764 m
Descent slope: -731 m
Time spent: 02:40:15
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