Hiking Ruta del Cares. It’s early february 2020. A sunny day. Heading to Picos de Europa National Park for hiking. The Picos de Europa are part of the Cantabrian mountain range that stretches along the northern coast of Spain, on the border of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile-León. Its highest peaks are covered in snow for much of the year. For sailors, those white peaks were a beacon: Europe was in sight. That is why they were called Picos de Europa.

P.S.: Did you know that the Ruta del Cares is part of our 6-day Picos de Europa hike? A 5-stage walk from Fuente Dé to Llanes, through the beautiful Picos de Europa National Park. On day two of the 6-day Picos de Europa, you will follow the Ruta del Cares.

Embracing the Ruta del Cares Adventure

Before delving into the Ruta del Cares, it’s essential to understand what makes this hike in Picos de Europa so special. This region, known for its breathtaking natural beauty and rich history, offers an unparalleled hiking experience. The Ruta del Cares, a path that winds through stunning gorges and alongside the rushing river, is not just a trail; it’s a journey through the heart of Spain’s rugged landscape. This hike is a must-do for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a deeper connection with the outdoors. Prepare to be mesmerized by the sheer beauty and tranquility of the Picos de Europa as you embark on this unforgettable trek.

Hike Ruta Del Cares Picos De Europa

Divine rift

Do you want enjoy a beautiful hike in Picos de Europa? Then we highly recommend the Ruta del Cares. Ruta del Cares is the most popular hiking route in Picos de Europa National Park. About 300,00 hikers walk this trail every year. Ruta del Cares lies between the provinces of León and Asturias. The Ruta del Cares hike runs from the Asturian village of Poncebos to Caín in Leon along the Cares Canyon.

It used to be the only route that made it possible to reach both towns during the snowy winters. The Cares Trail runs between the Cantabrian mountains, past caves, bridges and paths sculpted in rocks, and is also called the “Divine Gorge” of the Cares River.

We start our hike Ruta del Cares in Caín. We reach this mountain village after a beautiful car ride with breathtaking views. The weather in Ruta del Cares is unpredictable. After all, you are in the mountains. Today is a beautiful day, so shorts, sturdy walking shoes and we take some food for the road.

Hika Ruta Del Cares


The hike Ruta del Cares in Picos de Europa, is famous for its views and the narrow path, which crosses an impressive gorge. With rocks on one side and the precipice on the other, it has a width of 1 to 3 metres. This is plenty of room to cross, but be careful! During our walk of the Ruta del Cares, we enjoy the incredible scenery of Picos de Europa. Looking up, we see the majestic peaks. Looking down, we see the Cares river flowing wildly.

From Caín, we immediately enter a very beautiful part of the Ruta del Cares. The river is wild, flows fast and via ‘covered’ walking path we cross the river several times. Hiking Ruta del Cares along rock walls in Picos de Europa where the water trickles down and enjoying the landscapes, the bridges, the limestone holes and the occasional cute goats along the way. 


We don’t meet very many other hikers in Picos de Europa. Halfway through our hike Ruta del Cares, we pick a nice spot for a picnic. What is striking is that it is very quiet in Picos de Europa. You only hear the sound of the river flowing and the birds flying around. And that is what makes Picos de Europa and the Ruta del Cares hike so unique!

It is an authentic and pure hiking route. Of course, the route has been maintained, but nothing has been built to make it more beautiful or better. So, for example, you won’t find any restaurants or bars along the way while hiking in Picos de Europa. You are on your own and on nature. And that gives a huge sense of peace and freedom.

The Unmatched Beauty of the Ruta del Cares

The hike Ruta del Cares is about 11 kilometres long. And thus takes about 3-4 hours. It is difficult to get lost, as you follow the river. You can start the hikeRuta del Cares in Poncebos or Caín; it doesn’t make much difference. If you want to start the Ruta del Cares walk in Picos de Europa in Poncebos, there is a 2km slope that can be a bit difficult. If you start in Caín, it is downhill in and the beginning.

The rest of the walking route Ruta del Cares is almost entirely flat! So you don’t need to be an experienced hiker.

But good and sturdy walking shoes are definitely recommended. There are no facilities along the way, so be sure to take something to eat and drink with you when hiking Ruta del Cares. Keep in mind that if you leave your car in one of the villages to walk Ruta del Cares, you will have to go back to where your car is parked. This means you have to rain 22 km (double the Ruta del Cares route). However, there is always a way around this. The options are to swap cars with someone or hire a company to pick you up.

Hike Ruta Del Cares Gap

Enjoy good food in Caín

After finishing our walk Ruta del Cares, we look for a restaurant in Picos de Europa. There is not a lot of choice in the small mountain dens in Picos de Europa, but that has its charms. When you go into a restaurant in Picos de Europa, you imagine yourself back in time and the aroma hits you. The gastronomy of northern Spain is known for its chorizo, delicious cheeses and stuffed soups.

Together with a cold cerveza, of course that will tast really well after such a great hike in Picos de Europa. It was a fantastich day and we will definitely come back to Picos de Europa again.

Are you looking for peace and nature. Then go hiking in Picos de Europa. And Ruta del Cares is highly recommended. Enjoy every minute of this breathtaking hike, which is a must-do while visiting Picos de Europa!

Will you join us?

Did you know that the Ruta del Cares is part of our 6-day Picos de Europa walk? A 5-stage walk from Fuente Dé to Llanes, through the beautiful Picos de Europa National Park. On day two of the 6-day Picos de Europa, you will follow the Ruta del Cares. Want to discover more of northern Spain? During this 15-day roadtrip you will discover the best this region has to offer. Are you a real hiker and is walking or cycling to Santiago de Compostela on your bucket list? Then WAW.travel is also the right place for you. We would love to help you!