Posada de Valdeón - Poncebos. Poncebos- Caín
This hiking route has its development in the Central Massif of the Picos de Europa, between the provinces of Asturias and León. The true Ruta del Cares begins in Poncebos (Asturias) and ends in Posada de Valdeón (León) or vice versa, but due to its long duration, 21 kilometers, this option can only be undertaken if a car will pick us up point of arrival. The bus company ALSA offers trips to Poncebos and Posada de Valdeón, to know their schedules you can call: 902 42 22 42.
Currently, the company S-cape Travel It offers a package of 3 days that includes the Cares Route on foot combined with the return in 4 × 4 so that there is no need to make the round trip walking.
From Posada de Valdeón We will take between 5 0 6 hours to reach Poncebos. Once in the town we follow the road to Cordiñanes; past this village we find the Mirador del Tombo, with a sculpture of the most emblematic species of the Picos, the chamois. The road continues parallel to the river Cares, and shortly after, passing the Chorco de los Lobos, we crossed the flock of the Crown, to reach the town of Cain. After the bridge over the dam, once past Caín, the path narrows, because the walls of the two massifs already form the true gorge. Several tunnels excavated in the middle of the rock lead us to the Rebecos bridge and the Bolín bridge, from where we see the Cares flow in the depths of the gorge. Follow the road and leave behind the small sheepfold of Culiembro, where the canal that bears his name starts, and on a steep climb leaves us far above, in the sheepfolds of Ostón, in the Massif del Cornión. The path continues along the river, and after a slight climb, it approaches us at the end of the route in Poncebos.
From Poncebos to Caín. This is the route that is normally carried out. They are 12 one-way kilometers and other 12 return. The time is similar to the one in the detailed option from Posada de Valdeón, but in this case we do not have the inconvenience of a third party coming to look for us at the destination point. We can leave the car ne Poncebos and pick it up at the same point after returning from Caín. The route can take us between 3 and 4 hours in a sense and a similar time in the return. The degree of difficulty is low and the slope of about 700 meters. After the town of Poncebos, a few meters later the road becomes a gravel track and a sign indicates the beginning of the Path of Cares with the legend of «Caín 3h, Posada de Valdeón 6h». The initial 2,5 kilometers may be the hardest, a continuous steepness of a certain slope until reaching the ruins of a house and a tree (first shadow in many meters). Shortly after we arrived at The Collaos, point at which a slight descent begins until finding the path carved in the rock next to the channel. From here the difference is almost non-existent. After five kilometers we reached the sheepfold of Culiembro, from where the channel of the same name rises to the ports of Ostón. We continue walking, we appreciate that it increases the height with respect to the river. We reached the Bolín bridge, where we crossed the river at high altitude, crossing it again shortly after by the bridge of Los Rebecos. Finally, we go through a tunnel area with windows carved into the rock, in the narrowest part of the route and we reach the Cain dam, where the valley begins to open and we will see the houses of the town of Leon.
Max elevation: 679 m
Min Elevation: 229 m
Total ascent: 958 m
Total descent: -720 m
Total time: 05:03:15
Travel: One way, Poncebos - Caín
Some practical advice: it is advisable to bring water and comfortable shoes; in summer you have to be careful with the sun. Remember that the water in the canal is not potable.
Of course do not forget the camera because the views are really spectacular.
To get to Poncebos we will take a detour on the AS-114 as it passes through Arenas de Cabrales. There is a clear signaling.