It seems more the title of a collection of poems but it is an authentic walk. The route of the Alba is one of the most affordable and beautiful routes that can be undertaken by the Asturian nature. It runs parallel to the Alba River by an old road of shepherds and arrieros that communicated Sobrescobio with the neighbor council of Aller; later this road served for the evacuation of iron from the Carmen mine, in the middle of Llaímo mountain.
The most beautiful stretch of the Ruta del Alba arrives when the road passes precisely through the Foces de Llaímo, mountain that also houses an important beech forest, habitat of deer, roe deer, chamois, wild boars, wolves or grouse. The fluvial fauna does not lag behind in this environment: otters, aquatic blackbirds, trout ...
Route of the Alba or Foces de Llaímo, can call of the two ways to one of the fashionable ravines in Asturias; one that stands out among the 300 gorges created by the Asturian rivers when running between mountains. His fame is also supported by the fact of being registered within the limits of Natural Park of Redes, declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2001; a forest area of the richest in the Principality.
A good option to get to know this Park is to carry out the route that we propose: a simple way, easy walking and little unevenness, suitable for the whole family. The route is round trip along the same path. In the end we will have used 4 hours of our valuable time in a very healthy exercise for our senses.
Ruta del Alba: how to get there
To get to the starting point we must approach the village of Soto de Agües, where we can also visit the Water Museum - and it is that water will be one of the protagonists in our journey. We started walking near a laundry. From there, a wide forest track begins that takes us into the valley. The route is well signposted. After one kilometer you pass next to a trout fish farm. Later we will see the remains of the loading dock iron mine Carmen. A little further, in Las Brañas de La Vega, the track ends and we continue along a narrower path that goes parallel to the torrential river and that penetrates into the the sickles. From here begins the most spectacular section, sandwiched between vertical walls of rock, with dozens of cascades of different sizes in sight, tunnels and overhangs. After the foz widens, the path passes through a bridge over the river, perhaps the most colorful point of the route, since from there we observe a true explosion of water and rocks. The guides recommend facing this route in spring, summer and especially in autumn, because of the colorful vegetation. Walking in the rainy season is also recommended. The jumps and pools take on another dimension. In the thawing season, water is the absolute protagonist, as it falls impetuously, forming waterfalls and causing an erosive process that is ultimately responsible for the formation of the sickle or gorge.
Over our heads, on the steep walls of Mount Llaímo, defying gravity, we see hanging beech, of twisted trunk and long roots, that grow in the same rock. On both sides of the path grow, as they can, in fissures and landings, scattered examples of beech, yew, school, mustard, linden or willow. Lichens and mosses also abound, covering the rocks and completing the green landscape.
Along the way the road crosses two small bridges of half a point built in limestone that support their arches on the walls of the gorge: La Pontona, first, and La Resquiebra bridge, later. After crossing the river on these two occasions, you arrive at La Cruz de los Ríos, where next to two centenary trees there is a small refuge that indicates the end of the route. The landscape opens suddenly to a prairie landscape dominated by the lushness of the beech woods of Llaímo and the heights of El Retriñón (1.862 m), vertex of the councils of Aller, Caso and Sobrescobio.
The route, which could have been done in just over two hours, has to be retraced to return to the starting point: Soto de Agües.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestHow to get to Soto de Agües
From Langreo take the AS-17, crossing Pola de Laviana to Rioseco (Sobrescobio). From this town a road starts, SC-2, which arrives at Soto de Agües.
Network Information and Interpretation Center. Tel. 985 60 81 10.
Tourist Office of Sobrescobio City Council. Tel. 985 60 90 05.
Water Museum, Soto de Agues. Tel. 985 60 90 99.