Lakes of Covadonga

Enjoy them in the fall without the crowds

Enjoy them in the fall without the crowds

Climbing the Lagos de Covadonga has merit, especially if you do it by bicycle. They are 12 winding kilometers from the basilica that gives them their name. Kilometers enormously suggestive, with stretches for vertigo and slopes that want to be vertical. At 800 meters of altitude there is a 12 percent drop. A little further, 100 meters higher, we will stop the engine of our car (the bicycle is only for seasoned athletes) in the so-called Mirador de la Reina.

We felt like real monarchs for a while, wondering how we got so high, above the mists and low clouds, watching in detail the route of madness through which we have ascended. And so, sitting on one of the panoramic thrones of Asturias, we dream of being cyclists and winning one of the queen stages of La Vuelta a España. With a clear day we see the sea, and in between, and everywhere, in a vicious circle of summits, we see mountains and more mountains, of all types and qualities, and with a dominant color: green. The Mirador de la Reina announces the arrival of the end of the stage: Los Lagos. But there is still a way, and in this stretch are the largest precipices.

Plan Lakes of Covadonga 2020

The Enol Lake

And that is more or less what we find at the top. We glimpse an infinite flock with a huge lake inserted in the landscape. The water makes the place more idyllic. It is the first lake, the Enol. It's down there, you just have to get carried away by the road. The lake is located at an altitude of 1070 meters and is of glacial origin, like the Lake and the Ercina basin. The waters of the Enol reach twenty-three meters deep in the southern area. For a few months the snow accumulates all around. Cold water is its essence. It comes from the ancient ice that covered the place, much earlier in time. He was directly in charge of digging this deep basin between the Mosquital peak (1.268 m.), The Enol truncheon (1.274 m.) And the Sahornín hill (1.183 m.). A glacier that descended from the mythical summit of Peña Santa at the beginning of the Quaternary -though according to the legend the lake was formed by the tears of a woman-. As a curiosity, the Enol is home to an important population of crayfish. There is not much effort to see them, the serenity of the waters is not a good hiding place. The mountains that can not be seen are cloned now in their own reflection, and with a clear day, everything becomes doubly blue and green. In the middle, splashing the view, some solar flare that seems to come out of the cliffs.

The Ercina Lake

We continue on the way Ercina, a little higher, two kilometers away. We climb up to the 1108 meters of altitude. The lake, smaller than the first, is less impounded and the mountains are more directly visible. The water gives way to the summits of the Cornión. On its banks grows aquatic vegetation that feeds a whole bird community, with species such as the coot, bluebirds and teals. Its depth does not exceed two meters.

In the vicinity of the Lakes of Covadonga you can see skies with abundant birds, especially corvids and raptors. It is also difficult to see eagles and Egyptian vultures.

Many lakes can be started from the lakes routes through the Picos de Europa, approach the forests of ash and beech, meadows, flocks. Or, for the more adventurous, routes that go to any of the nearby refuges, to be able to start excursions to the high mountain from there. Among the paths to highlight are those that lead to Vega Redonda and the Ordiales Viewpoint from Lake Enol, and of Vega de Ario from the Ercina. We can also climb to affordable summits in the central massif of the Picos de Europa, such as the famous Jultayu, from which we can see the diminution of the path of the Cares route well below our position.

Say finally that Los Lagos keep the secret and the silent life of the shepherds but also their manifestations of joy. In summer (the 25 of July) are the scene of the Pastor's Feast, festive emblem of this community of the Arcadia that we hoped to find. From these lands and their culture we will doubly enjoy that day. If the sun shines, better than better.


Before going up it is good to look at the weather conditions in the area. We are in a mountain area with a certain altitude and we can be surprised by the fog, the rain, even a storm.

If we are ready to do some route in the vicinity, it is advisable to bring a raincoat, warm clothes and comfortable shoes, preferably mountain boots; food and water.

Text: © Ramón Molleda for

coordinates Latitude: 43.2753296 Length: -4.9871063
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