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The Lagoons of Ruidera a paradise in Ciudad Real

Some of the most important wetlands in the whole peninsula are located in the province of Ciudad Real, in this case we would like to talk about the Lagoons of Ruidera Natural Park. The characteristics of the terrain have created a succession of sinkholes at different heights, but connected to each other, resulting in a natural complex of great beauty. In the park there are different hiking routes that allow us to visit it and get to know every corner, astonishing us with the striking colours that characterise it. One of the best routes around the Ruidera lagoons is the circular route around the lagoons of the King, Colgada, Batana and Santos Morcillo, which we suggest below.

How to get to the Lagoons of Ruidera

The central axis of the Lagoons of Ruidera Natural Park is to be found in the town of Ruidera, located on the N-430 road that connects Manzanares with Albacete. The local road CM-3115 also passes through Ruidera, which crosses the natural park from one side to the other, linking Ruidera with Tomelloso on one side and Ossa de Montiel on the other, and serving as the main access to the different lagoons and points of interest in the park.​

Itinerary of the circular route around the lagoons of the King, Colgada, Batana and Santos Morcillo

From the car park to the Sinking Waterfall 0.3 km

Just before we reach the village of Ruidera on the national road from Manzanares we find several parking areas (0h 00min), one next to the cemetery of the village and another one in a tourist complex not far from the interpretation centre of the park. In our case, we take the cemetery car park as our starting point, as this is the starting point for the short detour that will take us to visit one of the must-see spots in the Lagoons of Ruidera Natural Park, the Sinking Waterfall (0h 05min), formed by the flood of 1545, which gives us an idea of the peculiarities of this area of Ciudad Real.

From the Sinking Waterfall to the Lagoon of the King 0.7 Km

After enjoying the views of the waterfall from the viewpoint, we retrace our steps along the path that takes us to the nearby cemetery. If we go a few metres along the road towards Ruidera we will not only find the pedestrian crossing that allows us to cross to the other side of the road, but we can also approach the viewpoint that is a little further on and that allows us to contemplate the Lagoon of the King. After doing so, we return in search of the path that starts on this side of the road, not far from where we started this route. This path takes us along the left side of the lagoons, the first one we walk along being the Lagoon of the King (0h 15min), as we already know.

From the Lagoon of the King to the Lagoon Colgada 2.3 Km

The route has hardly any slope or complications, we only have to cross each lagoon following the path that borders them. As we know, each lagoon we cross is followed by a new one, each of them with its own peculiarities that characterise it. The Lagoon Colgada (0h 45min), is one of the most extensive of all the lagoons in this natural park.

From Lagoon Colgada to Batana Lagoon 4.1 Km

As the Lagoon Colgada is the largest of all the lagoons we will visit today, it will also take us the longest time to cross it. Shortly after passing in front of the Island, the route separates from the edge of the lagoon to look for the pass to ford one of the tributaries that feed it. The Island is nothing more than a small islet that can be accessed from the opposite side of the lagoon and is actually a peninsula, at least when the lagoon is not full of water.

This section of the route passes through the Cañada de las Hazadillas, which gives its name to one of the seven signposted routes that we can follow in the park.

After passing through the House of the Hazadillas we start our way back in search of the shore of Colgada Lagoon. Almost without noticing it we reach the point where the Lagoon Colgada and Lagoon Batana converge (1h 45min), where we can also see a tourist complex on the other side.

From Lagoon Batana to Lagoon Santo Morcillo 0.5 Km

We leave aside the paths that would take us to the shore where the tourist complex is located to continue along the edge of Laguna Batana. We also leave aside a path that climbs up to the hill we have just skirted. We quickly reach the junction of Lagoon Batana and Lagoon Santo Morcillo (1h 50min), where we have two viewpoints to contemplate each lagoon in peace and quiet.

From Lagoon Santo Morcillo to Ruidera car park 6.1 Km

Once you have made the most of this natural spot, it is time to decide whether to continue further along the same slope and visit the Lagoon Salvadora, Lagoon Lengua and so on to the end of the Hazadillas hiking route, which will have covered a little over 10 km, not counting the return journey. Or leave this area for another day and return to our starting point. If this is the case, we will have to decide whether to return along the same route we came or jump to the other side to do it on the other side and get to know other panoramic views and other corners of the lagoons we have crossed. If this is the case, we can do it either by the area that separates Batana Lagoon and Santo Morcillo Lagoon or by the one that separates Batana Lagoon and Colgada Lagoon. In any case, we should be aware that practically the entire return journey follows the local road that runs through the park. However, in exchange we will discover other corners of the park and we will save some distance.

Tips for doing the circular route around the Lagoons of Ruidera

1-The route has hardly any slope and except for the stretch along the road, if we return that way, it has no complications, making it ideal to do with children, as long as they are used to walking in the countryside.

2-Protect yourself from the sun, bring plenty of water and in summer it's not a bad idea to bring some mosquito repellent.

3-The Natural Park has a series of obligatory rules and it may happen that areas are closed to protect the habitat in certain seasons.

4-In addition to the landscapes you will discover, you can also take the opportunity to observe the birds that inhabit the area, which is another of the attractions of the Lagoons of Ruidera.

Waypoints of the route
1-Parking 0:00h 780m 0km 30S 509573 4313599
2-Sinking Waterfall 0:05h 775m 0.3Km 30S 509419 4313724
3-Lagoon of the King 0:15h 775m 1Km 30S 509568 4313192
4-Lagoon Colgada 0:45h 800m 3.3Km 30S 577838 4249781
5-Lagoon Batana 1:45h 800m 7.4Km 30S 511831 4311819
6-Lagoon Santo Morcillo 1:50h 800m 7.9Km 30S 511575 4311352

Coordinates UTM Datúm WGS84

Profile of the circular route to the Lagoons of Ruidera

Profile of the circular route to the Lagoons of Ruidera

ico-distancia-totalDistance: 14Km

ico-tiempo-totalTime: 3:45h

ico-dificultadDifficulty: Medium

ico-desnivel-acumuladoSlope: 130m

ico-desnivel-positivoSlope +: 65m

ico-desnivel-negativoSlope -: 65m

ico-altitud-maximaMaximum altitude: 810m

ico-altitud-minimaMinimum altitude: 775m


Topographical map of the circular route through the Lagoons of Ruidera

ico IGN

This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 787-2 y 788-1 1:25.000".

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¿Did you know that...

Even Miguel de Cervantes was captivated by these lagoons, including them in some passages of Don Quixote de la Mancha. In fact, the Lagoons of Ruidera are also part of the Route of Don Quixote, which runs through the most significant places of this famous literary work.

Don't miss out...

The Peñarroya Castle, which you will find next to the dam of the Peñarroya reservoir, is one of the most important in this area and its state of conservation gives us an idea of its importance in the 14th century.


Go to Hiking equipment What to bring?


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Route information updated on 01-12-2020. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.

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