Fuente Dé Trails, Picos de Europa, Spain

Fuente De trails, Picos de Europa mountains, north Spain

Blue skies and sunshine give the Mirador de Cable plateau – near the start of Fuente De trails –  a very different appearance from the low-cloud that is so common. The photo was taken about 6pm in August.

The large peak on the right is Peña Olvidada, 2406 meters above sea level. The little peak centre-left is Pico Tesorero (2, 568m), next to peak at the centre of the photo, Torre de Horcados Rojos (2, 562m).

Fuente Dé Trails

Fuente De trail start mark, Picos de Europa, Spain

The single Mirador starting point for three long but fairly simple hikes and numerous more challenging treks.

Simple Hikes from Fuente De, Mirador de Cable

Mirador de Cable viewpoint over Fuente Dé, Picos de Europa, Cantabria, Spain

Fuente Dé seen from Mirador de Cable. Fuente Dé is in Spain’s Cantabria province.

n. b. fog/low cloud can make a sudden, chilling appearance on any day so take warm gear and water with you and NEVER LEAVE THE TRACK in foggy conditions.

• PR-PNPE 24, Puertos de Áliva, 4. 25 hours. This is the simplest route with the least amount of gradient and a wide, flat path that is mainly downhill. It is a 14. 5 km circular route down to Espinama or back to Fuente Dé.

After a short uphill stretch on the (only) track from the teleferico (vaguely visible on the right of the photo in light brown), these three trails separate at the base of that peak, Olvidada, after about 20 minutes.

An hour’s walk from the teleferico there is a hotel/restaurant/bar that may be of some assistance, Refugio/Hotel de Áliva.

• PR-PNPE 23, Horcados Rojos, 4. 5 hours. More challenging is the 11.5 km Horcados Rojos (there-and-back route to Mirador) that is simple to follow, takes about 4/5 hours return and boasts a brilliant panoramic view over the Picos at 2, 343m.

BUT the last hour or so to get there is a quite tough struggle up a slippery, stony path. There is a mountain refuge called Cabaña Veronica near Pico Tesorero with a capacity for six people. Owned by the Cantabrian Federation of Mountaineering and Climbing it is equipped with food, a gas stove and first aid kit but no water.

• PR-PNPE 22, Peña Oviedo, 4 hours. The 14. 6 km hike to Mogrovejo is downhill just about all the way. It takes just over 4 hours and apart from expansive mountain views, passes by the Áliva hotel/cafeteria and ventures through some forest and visits a series of Neolithic burial mounds near Peña de Oviedo.

Remember that it’s downhill all the way but somehow you have to get back to your car/home/hostal. We did not do this walk and online information is unclear so check locally before setting off!

Ruta del Cares is the ultimate Picos de Europa walk but is NOT from here, it’s from Poncebos

PNPE-23 trail from Mirador de Cable

Hiking from Fuente Dé teleferico among the Picos de Europa, in Cantabria, north Spain

Hikers on the PNPE-23 trail back from Horcados Rojos (the centre-left peak) or perhaps somewhere more challenging beyond that point.

This part of the 11. 5 km trail is wide, smooth and fairly flat and is an easy hour out from Mirador de Cable. But there’s another 90 minutes of struggle due before arriving at the Horcados Rojos viewpoint and during that time the trail deteriorates into a narrow, steep, stony, slippery track! See track below. Officially it’s designated as of Moderate Difficulty. There is a mountain refuge called Cabaña Veronica near to Torre Horcados Rojos.

The zigzag section of the PNPE-23 route from Mirador del Cable to Horcados Rojos, Fuente De, Picos de Europa, Spain

The splendid PNPE-23 trail to Horcados Rojos where it all goes wobbly after about an hour’s hike.

Somewhere behind these barren cliffs is Peña Vieja, thought to be the highest peak in Cantabria at 2614m, tho’ recently geologists have decided that Torre Blanca is two metres higher.

Peña Vieja is a popular scramble for mountain walkers who like a challenge, approaching initially from the trail seen above before cutting thru this range to approach Vieja from the other side.
It isn’t technically difficult (so they say, but we can’t confirm that) in the summer but it’s a long way to go and involves surmounting a lot of slippery stones.

At this point we turned back to the Mirador, a dodgy ankle being the primary excuse, but actually we were dressed for the beach – sandals, shorts, no jackets – not for tackling slippery slopes.
San Vicente de la Barquera beaches were our original destination before we noticed that the Picos were unnaturally clear and cloud-free, so we changed plans on the spot. Carpe Diem!

PNPE-23 trail split

Trail signs on the track by Peña Olvidada peak leading to Espinama and Aliva, Picos de Europa, Spain

The three-way sign seen at the junction between three hikes from Mirador de Cable, PNPE 24, 23 and 22.

Don’t blame us for the unclear sign! That’s actually what it looks like, a failed 3-D effect.
PNPE 23, Horcados Rojos heads left and the other two start a downwards path towards Áliva, photo below. Fuller walking information above.

Hikers on the trail by Peña Olvidada peak leading to the Espinama and Aliva, Fuente De, Picos de Europa, Spain

The easy, 14km trail down to the village of Espinama or back to Fuente Dé, taking about 4 hours. It’s popular with mountain bikers as well as walkers. The line on the right is a lower part of the trail.

Espinama is also a base for tougher hikes (or possibly a jeep ride) to the mountain village of Sotres, from where trekking gets serious, with trips to Naranjo de Bulnes mountain range, along with Picu Urriellu (also known confusingly as Naranjo de Bulnes), a toothy peak at 2, 519 m (8, 264 ft) that is one of the two most popular climbs.

Off-piste from Mirador de Cable

Hiker with wild horses in Picos de Europa, near Fuente De, north Spain

Off-piste in the Picos de Europa.

And if you don’t have the time or energy to tackle Horcados Rojos or the Espinama route, exploring the green space and rocks behind Mirador de Cable offers some different sights of lakes (though they are more like green ponds in the summertime), flowers, goats, sheep and horses.