The Picos de Europa, National Park, live up to its name and are one of the most beautiful landscapes of the continent. The landscape is overwhelmingly karstic, and includes gorges and gorges, immaculate rivers and valleys and large indigenous forest masses.
The Peaks, as they are commonly known, also harbor an unusual density of wildlife and flora, subalpine above the 1.600 meters. Below this level we find Beech forests and dreamy sheepfolds. In the middle is also the culture of the man of medium and high mountain, who lives small rural and hospital nuclei and that he lives of the agroganadería in perfect harmony with the environment. The environmental regulation of this human and natural environment is given by an exclusive management plan for this National Park.
This large limestone formation extends approximately 40 Km. Long (east-west) and about 20 Km. Wide (north-south). Its constitution forces it to continually submit itself to the demanding erosion of the rain and the snows, which make a dent in its constitution and excavate deep and very attractive chasms in the world of espeleología. Some reach 1.400 meters deep.
The three massifs: Cornión, Urrieles and Andara
Morphologically we find in Los Picos three massifs clearly differentiated: The western massif (El Cornión), the central massif (Los Urrieles), and the eastern massif (Andara). They are physically delimited by the gorges of the salmon rivers Sella, Cares, Duje and Deva. The western massif, with its highest peak, Peña Santa de Castilla (2.596m), is the largest and most varied of the three, and is particularly suitable for hiking. In this massif are the lakes of Enol and Ercina, and very close to the Buferrera, the environmental interpretation center of the Picos de Europa National Park. The easiest way to approach it is from the town of Covadonga, ascending by a local and sinuous road to the famous lakes, 12 kilometers above, from where a good number of recommended routes for all public depart. It should be noted that the end of summer and early fall, as well as spring are usually the best times for a walk of this type, since neither heat nor the presence of hikers is excessive.
The central massif is the most uninhabited, in it we find the highest point of the three massifs and the north of Spain: Torre Cerredo (2,648m.) The boundary with the western massif is drawn by the famous and spectacular route that runs through the Cares gorge. Bulnes the last town of Asturias without external communication, is also found in this massif and was always a must for climbers on the way to Picu Urriellu or Naranjo de Bulnes (2.519m), one of the biggest challenges for national and international climbers for its extreme vertical parades. The town that gives its name to the unique Naranjo was connected to the rest of the council of Cabrales by a mule trail, but recently a funicular train until the town, accompanied by a good number of controversies, that came to break drastically the isolation of the village. Access to the northern point of the Cares and Bulnes gorge is via Poncebos, a few kilometers from the town of Arenas de Cabrales.
The southern face of the Picos de Europa is reached from Potes, in Cantabria, and Posada de Valdeón, in León. From Potes you can go to Source of and take the cableway up to an altitude of 1.800m. In the whole area this is the easiest way to gain height quickly for excursions of a more alpine character. Posada de Valdeón is located at the southern point of the Cares Gorge, after the town of Cain.