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Los Picos de Europa


The hydrological network of the Picos de Europa massifs flows mainly through the deep mountain passes or gorges which have conformed the valleys´ landscapes over the centuries. The gorge of La Hermida, crossed by the Deva river; the gorge of Los Beyos, crossed by the river Sella; the "Garganta divina" (Divine Throat) where the Cares river flows; and the valley of Aliva with the gorge La India, furrowed by the Duje river, are the exceptional landscapes of the rivers: Cares, Deva, Duje and Sella, specially, without forgetting the river Dobra, opening way towards the sea.

The river Deva has its source in Fuente Dé, at the foot of the glacier circus of Fuente Dé, 28 km from the Cantabrian village of Potes, and next to the "Parador Nacional" (one of a network of special Spanish hotels). Also very near is the lower base where a cable car sets off, climbing an altitude gap of 753 metres, from 1,094 m to 1,847 m at the top, taking tourists and mountaineers into the Central Massif of Picos de Europa.

The Deva river, after sprouting in Fuente Dé, crosses the villages of Espinama, Cosgaya, Enterría, Camaleño, Turieno, Potes, Ojedo, Tama, Castro-Cillorigo, Lebeña and La Hermida, travelling 68 km from its source and flowing into the Cantabrian Sea, through the ria of Tina Mayor, in Unquera. The Deva will cross the municipalities of Camaleño, Cillorigo and Peñamellera, belonging to both provinces; Cantabria and Asturias, when it receives the Cares river, before arriving to Panes, flowing through the impressive gorge of La Hermida. Among its many tributaries we should mention the Nevandi, descending along the mountain pastures of Aliva; the Belondio, which sprouts nearby the Cortés peak; San Carlos river, whose source is in the channel of the same name; the Corvera, descending from Bejes; the Urdón, receiving the waters of the rivers, Valdediezma and Los Lobos; and Quiviesa and Bullón; the first one joins the Deva in Potes, after draining the municipality of Vega de Liébana, and the second one joins these two in Ojedo, after crossing the municipalities of Pesaguero and Cabezón de Liébana.

The Cares flows inside Picos de Europa through both massifs; the Urrielles and Cornión. This a beautiful river flowing through a very rugged landscape, accentuated when it seems to dissapear in the bowels of "Garganta Divina", the world wide known and marvellous Cares gorge where its waters are . The Cares has its source at the foot of the mountain col of Fradaña, where several springs arise, nearby the Gildar peak, belonging to the Cantabrian mountain range it furrows the valley of Valdeón south to north (Caldevilla, Soto, Posada de Valdeón and Cordiñanes) to continue opening way through the steep cliffs and along the pastures and winter cattle sheds of Manzaneda and Sesanes, as well as the mythical place of Corona, arriving to the village of Caín. From here, the Cares, crosses through more than ten kilometres, the "Garganta Divina", a spectacular and singular layout where the river seems to get lost at the bottom of the valley, arriving at Poncebos Bridge and later crossing another five kilometres to reach Arenas de Cabrales. Then it sets off towards Panes, where it will join the Deva, travelling over a total of 53 km. On this journey it receives the waters from the rivers and streams of: El Arenal, in Posada, coming from Pandetrave; the stream of Asotín, in Cordiñanes, between the Llambrión and the Friero peaks; the stream of Tejo or Bulnes, coming down from a place near the Urrielles; and the Duje and the Casaño rivers, flowing down from the Cornión.

The river Sella sprouts at foot of the mountain pass of Pontón, in the province of León, crossing the valley of Sajambre through the magnificent gorge of Los Beyos; later, arriving to the Asturian lands starting from the bridge of Angoyo and passing by Cangas de Onís, flowing into the sea in Ribadesella. With nearly 65 km it receives the courses of the rivers Ponga, Dobra and Güeña during its journey.

The Duje sprouts at the foot of Peña Vieja (Central Massif) in the source called El Resalao, as well as another series of springs which leave from Canal del Vidrio. It flows in a S-N direction, separating the Central and Eastern Massifs. When it reaches Vegas de Sotres practically disappears to sprout again near the winter cattle sheds El Tejo. Later crosses through the village of Sotres and precipitates down to Tielve. The last section flows down the Canal de la Rumiada, joining the Cares next to Puente Poncebos, travelling 18 km in its whole course.

The Dobra has its source next to the mountain col of Dobres and crosses the pastures of Vegabaño and the mount of Carombo, along the pastures of Angón and flowing through a narrow gorge to drive its waters onto the river Sella, at the place of the Roman bridge of Miyares. Here, it also receives the waters of the Rivers Pompedi and Junjumia.

Picos de Europa:
Panorámic | Eastern massif | Central massif | Western massif | The rivers | Routes | Fuente Dé