One of the things we love to do on a trip is get out in nature, and a hike at the glacial Covadonga Lakes with stunning views of the snow capped Picos de Europa makes a great destination for an afternoon of easy hiking with fantastic views.
Traffic – the Four Legged Kind
If you go off season you’ll be able to drive the long winding scenic road to the Covadonga Lakes yourself – during the summer you have to park at the bottom and take a bus – but in the middle of May the only traffic we had were the kind I’m totally charmed by – a herd of sheep with their sheepdog!
The herd was so cute to see – and hear with their little hooves ratatat-ing on the ground, their bleats and their bells – just a delightful racket.
Starting the Hike – Lago Ercina
Not wanting to chance a change of weather for our hike, we resisted the urge to stop at the scenic viewpoints along the road and started the hike at the smallest of the glacial lakes, Largo Ercina, with the stunning snow capped Picos de Europa looming impressively behind.
You will be hiking around cows on this hike!
Around the end of Lake Ercina and past many placid cows going about their business of grazing, we came across the first of several rustic stone cabins that were around the area.
They didn’t look too comfy but I could just imagine a good spot to shelter if you had to tend your herd in the winter.
Green Valleys and Snow Capped Picos
Far below the hillside footpath you could see a gorgeous green valley, a stunning scene with the forest on the steep rocky escarpment and the snow capped Picos in the background.
What you can’t see are the cows grazing in the meadows far below, but you could sure hear them – I don’t know how those cows could not be deaf from the constant clanging of the cowbells around their necks as their heads bobbed up and down grazing.
Rocky Outcrops, Meadows…and Cows
Trail markers point the way if you lose the path in the rocky outcrops.
You’ll be hiking away from the Picos, make sure you turn around to see the stunning scene of green pastures and those dramatic white capped peaks.
There’s plenty of cows on the hike, they were a little curious before turning back to their business.
Vega de Enol
Past meadow after meadow, rocky outcrops and plenty of cows, the path eventually comes to the Vega de Enol, a big grassy valley with stone houses, sheds and buildings related to the business of livestock. This is the valley you drove through to get to the lakes.
Seeing a big bull in the valley taking off at a trot after a group of cows, we kept to the high ground.
We skirted the road (and the bull chasing after the cows!) to get to Lago Enol.
Did I mention that there were lots of cows on this hike?
I’m convinced that the cows in Asturias are the cutest in the world, what do you think?
The hike continues up the road until heading down again to the path around the lake.
Always look behind you on this hike! You get a peek of the magnicifent Picos as you walk around Lago Enol.
The path around the lake goes to an overlook for terrific views of both the Covadonga glacial lakes – this view of Lago Enol where we just came from and Lago Ercina on the other side of the knoll where we started our hike.
From this high vantage point you can even see the ocean far away in the Bay of Biscay!
Ending the Hike with an Espresso
Back to the beginning of the hike, a perfect end is an espresso at the restaurant.
An easy hike with stunning scenery, it only took us a couple of hours, including a stop for our picnic lunch by the shore of Lake Enol.
Viewpoints on the Return Drive
The way back down from the Covadonga Lakes has scenic viewpoints to stop and admire the stunning countryside, with the blue Bay of Biscay in the distance.
Snow capped mountains, green meadows, rustic shelters, lots of cows and the sound of cowbells, I loved this hike in Asturias – this is the one I still like to dream about, nodding off to the memory of the constant clang clang clang of those cowbells and the stunning Picos de Europa.
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