The Pino River runs fast, like thousands of years ago, carving ceaselessly huge limestone rocks. The rugged landscape that we discover in this excursion is amazing, dominated by the roar of the strong currents and torrents that continue to shape their path in our presence.
The tour adapts to our preferences and fitness. Two possible routes. You can choose a short route to the end of the Foces or choose the long route to Paraya. The first option is suitable for all audiences and barely exceeds the 8 kilometers (round trip), the second exceeds the 13 kilometers. If we choose the short route we can go with children, we will barely exceed 360 meters of altitude and in less than four hours, if we do not make excessive recreational stops, we will be back.
The foces, a place of historical passage
In both cases the path is very beautiful, and in the gorge it is plagued by Rapids and small waterfalls. The Foces are carved in a large calcareous block, just at the point where the Peña Pando joins with Peña Redonda, in the northwest corner of the Serra de Fuentes de Invierno. Due to its landscape magnitudes, Natural Monument of Asturias since the year 2001. The foces themselves have a few 1.000 meters, in the middle stretch of the river, and surprise the andayón - the previous slope that must be saved to access them - with that beautiful cobblestone that keeps us going after hundreds of years. It is believed that it could be used by the Romans. What is certain is that it was a place of passage for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, who used the port of Vegará to move to San Salvador de Oviedo. It was part of the French Way, well traveled in centuries past by the pilgrims, but also by the carriers that transported goods to the markets of Rioseco, Villalón, Villamañán and León. Currently, in addition to hikers, The farmers who have their cattle in the nearby brañas use the road.
The path inside the fora is so narrow that in some points the sun's rays do not penetrate. In the river, which barely exceeds five meters in width, we can get to observe trout, some otter or the restless waterbird. Previously, on the way up, we find meadows and chestnut plantations. As we ascend, beech and oak forests appear. Already in the sickles, there are few species that manage to live in the vertical walls, highlighting the yew and the cuerrnacabras, which grows in the fissures of the rock.
Pine River Route
The route starts in the town of El Pino (N 43º 06.4160 'and W 005º 31.1197'). Once the vehicle is parked, and after having a walk around the place to contemplate some of its mansions, granaries and bread boxes, we head south towards the bed of the Braña River, which we will cross following the marks of the AS-31 trail. At this point we take the track that leads up to the Foces del Pino, through meadows and areas of abundant trees. Immediately after we will find a fountain on our right, and right next to it there is a path through which we come to a junction, which is next to the remains of an old hydroelectric power station. Here we will take the path on the left, crossing the river again by a stone bridge. And getting into the wild and steep sickles. At the exit of the same the landscape is transformed and the pastures of high mountain appear.
If we want to continue to Paraya we must take the path that turns to the left and, without crossing the river, ascends to, after a short distance, return to the right, the detour that leads to Caniecha and Vegarada.
How to get to El Pino?
Departing from Oviedo by the A-66 León direction, shortly after passing Mieres, we take the 54 exit towards Moreda and the Puerto de San Isidro (AS-112). At the 12 Km. To pass Cabañaquinta, on the AS-253 road, we will reach the town of Pino, where we leave the car.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com