Hiking Around the Covadonga Lakes

Covadonga Lakes Lago Ercina and Picos

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!

Sheep on the road to Covadonga

Sheep on the road to Covadonga

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.

Covadonga Lakes Lago Ercina

Lago Ercina

You will be hiking around cows on this hike!

Covadonga Lakes Lago Ercina

Lago Ercina cows

Rustic Shelters

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.

Rustic shelters around Lago Ercina

Rustic shelters around Lago Ercina

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.

Covadonga Hike pano

Covadonga Hike pano

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.

Green valleys and beautiful Picos

Green pastures and beautiful snowy Picos

Rocky Outcrops, Meadows…and Cows

Covadonga Lakes trail

Covadonga Lakes trail

Trail markers point the way if you lose the path in the rocky outcrops.

Covadonga Lakes trail markers

Covadonga Lakes trail markers

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.

Covadonga Hike

Snow capped Picos and green meadows

There’s plenty of cows on the hike, they were a little curious before turning back to their business.

Covadonga meadows and cows

meadows and cows

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.

Covadonga Hike Vega de Enol

Vega de Enol

stone houses and sheds

Vega de Enol stone houses, sheds and livestock buildings

Lago Enol

We skirted the road (and the bull chasing after the cows!) to get to Lago Enol.

lago enol from the hillside

Lago Enol

Did I mention that there were lots of cows on this hike?

Cows on the road

Cows on the road

I’m convinced that the cows in Asturias are the cutest in the world, what do you think?

Cows on the road

The cute cows in Asturias

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.

Peek of the Picos beyond Lago Enol

Peek of the Picos beyond 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.

Lago Enol

Lago Enol

Lago Ercina and Lago Enol

Lago Ercina and Lago Enol

From this high vantage point you can even see the ocean far away in the Bay of Biscay!

Bay of Biscay from Lago Enol

Zoom view of the Bay of Biscay from Lago Enol

Ending the Hike with an Espresso

Back to the beginning of the hike, a perfect end is an espresso at the restaurant.

Covadonga Lakes restaurant

Covadonga Lakes 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.

Viewpoint on the Covadonga drive

One of the viewpoints on the Covadonga drive

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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