The Jerte Valley, famous among many other things for its striking springtime, has splendid corners that surprise with their unique beauty, formed under the protection and influence of the Sierra of Gredos and the other systems that surround it. The Natural Reserve of the Gorge of the Hells brings together high mountains, leafy forests and a wide and sensational hydrographic network, ideal habitat for the varied flora and fauna that inhabit it and a paradise for hiking in Cáceres.
The route through its 15.6 km takes us fully into the Natural Reserve, starting this interesting walk from the Interpretation Center of the Gorge of the Hells. From there we begin a tireless ascent up the mountain and river through the lush forest. Newts, golden eagles, black storks, otters or mountain goats join the colourful cherry trees that dye the valley white in spring, the oaks, yews and grasses that grow in the mountains, giving even more value to the landscape that is to come. Our itinerary coincides with many of the trekking routes that run through this area of the Jerte Valley, giving us the option on some occasions of taking a small detour or shortcut to approach corners such as the Viewpoint of the Chorreo of the Virgin, an exceptional balcony from which a large part of the surrounding environment can be seen. Without hardly noticing it, the vegetation gives way to one of the great values of this route, Los Pilones. This gorge of capricious forms resembles the pots that, if they existed, would be used by the giants for their potions, hence its other name. But the route for many does not end here but continues up the gorge following the course of the river to reach, shortly after passing by the Sacristan Bridge, the Vado de Cantares where we will have the option of taking the detour to the New Bridge through the path that goes up the Three Hills Gorge, taking us directly to this regal bridge.
We can also follow our course up the slope of the mountain that borders the Gorge of the Pass of the Mares until the Bridge of the Carrascal, for from there accompanied by the privileged panoramic one that offers this part of the route, to go now if towards the New or Carlos V Bridge. Shortly before reaching it we will have the privilege of following the Route of Carlos V that follows the steps that the Emperor and his entourage took in their retreat to the Monastery of Yuste, but in the opposite direction. This well-known route will accompany us while we cross the opposite slope to the one we arrived at, until shortly after the Las Losas pass, not without first having to decide between heading towards Jerte or following the detour to the Interpretation Centre, from which we set off and from which we are still a few kilometres away. Without the company of the Carlos V Route we start the long descent that will take us to the valley. The leafy forest gradually gives way to the unmistakable cherry trees while we contemplate the town of Jerte and its curious church whose tower is independent of the main body of the temple. This part of the route is a marvel in the spring months when the fields are dyed white as if the snow covered everything. This charming landscape will accompany us as we cross the Jerte River bank to the very Interpretation Centre of the Gorge of the Hells where the end of this intense trekking route awaits us.
More information about the itinerary is available. DO NOT MISS IT...
Legend has it that in the Jerte Valley woods wanders a small, not very good-looking and somewhat unruly elf known to the locals as La Pomporrilla. Her greatest hobby is to make fun of the people who live in the valley or roam its forests and mountains. To do so, she does not hesitate to go into the houses or approach unseen the careless hikers who rest peacefully and hide their belongings from them. Then, protected by the safety of her hiding place, she laughs as she watches them frustrated for not finding what La Pomporrilla hid for them.
Jerte is located in the middle of the N-110 that links Ávila with Plasencia, not far from the latter. We can also get to Jerte following the CC-102 that goes to the vicinity of the town from Hervás, near the A-66 Salamanca-Cáceres motorway. Once there, shortly before arriving to Jerte if we do it from Plasencia, in an industrial area, we will find the detour that we must follow and the corresponding sign that indicates it, Natural Reserve Gorge of the Hells. We will follow this narrow road without deviating and shortly after crossing the river Jerte we will arrive at the parking area next to the Interpretation Centre of the Natural Reserve, where we can park our vehicle and from where the great majority of the routes start or pass.
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It is a hard route for which our friend is important to be well prepared, otherwise neither he nor we will enjoy it. It is not a good idea to let him go too much of his own free will, besides being able to get lost he will add much more distance to an already long route, in which heat also plays a role.
Some energetic food and of course water cannot be missing from your backpack, keep in mind that even though we will be passing near rivers, it may not be very advisable to let you get close, besides it is forbidden to take a bath. Along the route there are several fountains where you will surely be able to replenish their supplies.
It is not so strange to meet the native fauna of the area so we will have to be careful to avoid disturbing it. Also in the final stretch the horses and other pets that live there will come out to greet us.
A little further on from the car park, at the back of the Interpretation Centre (0h 00min), you will find the information signs that mark the beginning of the circular route of the Gorge of the Hells
From the first moment we will have to face a steep trail conditioned with the typical stairs that try to facilitate the ascent.
The trail makes us gain height with a certain speed, while it winds along the mountainside looking to reduce its unevenness.
There are several trails to be found along this stretch, but the marks of the route and our trail, a little more stepped and with the mentioned stairs will serve us as a reference in case of doubt.
Almost without noticing it, our trail goes out to the first of the paths that we will encounter. We will continue to climb it for a few more metres until we find another trail to follow.
Once again, the unevenness requires us to make an extra effort, which, if we are calm enough, becomes much more bearable. The altitude gained allows us to enjoy splendid views of the Jerte Valley, in the areas where the vegetation opens a window.
This stretch of trail alternates areas with greater unevenness with other softer areas, as well as some stony sections with areas in better condition.
Once again it is a clue that marks the end of our trail. Now it's time to lose some of the height gained in search of the next crossroads.
We quickly reach the detour where we leave the comfort of the track to continue along a wide trail. The slope seems to have given us a break, at least for now.
Soon we will reach the crossroads with the path that goes up to the Viewpoint of the Chorreo of the Virgin. If we follow this detour, we will be able to resume our route a little further on, without having to return here.
If we do not deviate, there is a comfortable stretch of trail ahead of us with hardly any unevenness that cuts the side of the mountain following the course marked by the ravine we are climbing.
Without almost noticing it, again the trail ends suddenly in a perfect path where those who strayed to the viewpoint will descend.
Already together we will undertake a notable descent following this conditioned track, whose firm cobblestone is not very pleasant to step on, especially if it is wet.
The descent is coming to an end leaving us closer than we think to our first goal of the day.
After a short ramp the path leads us correctly to a small recreational area with tables and benches.
The Pilones (0h 50min) await us as soon as we pass through this area, although to reach them we will still have to descend to the course of the river.
Once down, the route crosses the river thanks to a strategic little bridge that acts as an unbeatable viewpoint.
Some stairs carved in the rock allow us to go up Los Pilones, while we contemplate this beautiful spot.
Once up we will leave the railing that accompanied us, to continue climbing along some huge blocks.
The trail snakes through the hillside again making us gain height with every step. The ramp we are facing is short but demanding.
Once we are up we find another crossroads, just when the slope seems to end. Here we will say goodbye to the Route of the Umbria that continues its course towards Cabezuela del Valle.
There is a long stretch ahead of us that for the moment does not require much effort to cover. We advance up the gorge, following the marked and wide trail that runs halfway up the hillside.
Soon the relative comfort gives way to the occasional ramp that reminds us that we are in constant ascent.
The trail saves the occasional creek that rushes to the bottom of the valley.
The Fishermen's shelter watches us at the bottom of the gorge as we leave behind the detour leading to it.
The trail alternates again between steeper and decomposed areas, with other more comfortable areas that usually coincide with the passage through some creek.
In the distance we can already see the silhouette of the Gorge of the Three Hills at whose entrance we are about to arrive.
Another detour is behind us, shortly before we reach the point where the Path to Los Pilones and the New Bridge say goodbye to us.
At the confluence of the next two ravines that we are going to cross is where the signal is located, it indicates the Detour to the New Bridge (1h 35min). If we follow this route we will go up the Gorge of the Three Hills not before crossing the stream that separates us from its entrance.
A chaos of stones, which added to the variability of the flow that goes down them, will force us to look for the best way to cross to another side to be able to follow this route that leads directly to the Carlos V Bridge, saving us about 3 km approximately, but also overcoming a good unevenness.
We set off for the Carrascal Bridge following the steep trail that zigzags up the side of the mountain.
This part of the route makes us face strong ramps, while we leave behind the previous crossroads and progress through the ravine of the Pass of the Mares.
The slope barely gives us a break and the effort is compounded by the worst state of the terrain that does not allow us to advance as before.
In addition, the trail is sometimes not as defined as it used to be, forcing us to look around for the landmarks that point the way forward.
We continue to gain height by walking the whimsical trail that takes us from one side to the other, trying not to lean too much. We face without a doubt the most demanding part of the whole route, as well as the less civilized one.
Here there are also several streams or torrents that we will have to overcome, although they usually do not have much water.
The rugged terrain and the surrounding landscape make the hard ascent more enjoyable.
Curves and more curves that little by little are taking us up the slope of the Sierra of Tormantos, which we are crossing.
After a while, the slope seems to smooth out almost at the same time as the gorge narrows.
The vegetation is thick and for some time now it has almost completely covered the trail.
Our next stop, where we are heading, is already visible at the bottom of the ravine. Luckily the hard ramps have given way to a stony descent that will bring us closer to the river we have to cross.
The Carrascal Bridge (2h 35min) is a great ally for this company.
As soon as we cross the bridge we will change direction, to go through the gorge where we arrived, but on the other side.
Although the first steps on this hillside made us think that the ascent was not finished, nothing could be further from the truth.
Although there are still some ramps to ascend, ahead of us lies an area of continuous descent that will take us to the Charles V Bridge, where we will have to face another stretch of ascent.
The trail takes us along the slope of the mountain allowing us to contemplate or rather to intuit the route we are taking on the other side of the ravine.
The forest once again offers us its precious shade, very grateful for the hot days.
After a while, we are surprised by a new crossroads, this time that of the Carlos V Route with which we will share a few kilometers, even though its usual course is in the opposite direction to the one we are going to travel.
Soon, on our left, we will be able to contemplate the trail that we did not follow and led directly to the Carlos V Bridge. And on the mountain opposite, the trail that awaits us a little further on.
However, for now we still have a long way to go.
Almost under our feet we can already contemplate the New Bridge towards which we are heading, just before undertaking the steep descent that will take us there.
Once again the trail winds through the mountain making us lose height with some speed.
A few bends later, we will come across the trail that comes directly from Los Pilones, to make the last stretch together to the Carlos V Bridge.
The cobblestone trail takes us without further ado to the very gates of the New Bridge or Carlos V Bridge (3h 10min), which will allow us to cross the river without any problems.
As soon as we crossed it, the steep trail that we were observing when we arrived, on the other side, was waiting for us.
Despite the fact that its slope is not as outstanding as it seemed to us from the other side, the accumulated kilometers and the effort required make it more demanding than it really is.
On the contrary, we will be able to enjoy the magnificent views offered by this clear stretch of the route.
The ascent gradually seems to lose intensity as we follow the battered trail, without finding many places that might make us doubt the itinerary to follow.
As we move away from the Carlos V Bridge, the grove of trees takes over again and provides us with its comfortable shade.
Once inside the forest our trail reaches its end, giving way once again to a wide dirt track.
The end point of the ascent is near, but first we will have to leave behind a new crossroads.
We face the last stretch of the ascent that takes us straight to a new crossroads.
Before reaching the detour to the Interpretation Centre (3h 45min), we leave a short trail on our right which, if we follow it, takes us directly to the beginning of the section that goes down to Jerte.
If we approach the crossroads we can decide between following the circular route we are taking or returning along the path on the left, without passing through Jerte, to the Interpretation Centre, shortening the route by approximately 1 km.
We follow the path on the right for a few meters, joining the trail that acts as a shortcut.
In that place begins the long and steep descent that will take us back to the bottom of Jerte Valley.
Once again, a battered trail serves as a guide on this entertaining hiking route.
We will quickly meet up at a new crossroads where, here, we will say goodbye to the Carlos V Route, to continue our descent along the narrow trail.
The shady forest brings all its freshness making this part of the route more bearable. The thick vegetation of the forest we are walking through dominates the landscape again and sometimes almost covers the trail.
The trail, at the same time as the descent, seems to take a break, takes us to a small path that will now be in charge of guiding us.
We continue to descend, leaving behind another track, while our path begins to draw the curves with which it cuts the side of the mountain. The path leads us through hidden corners of the nature reserve where we are.
After a long time descending this path, we arrive at another crossroads where we will have to continue on the right.
Quickly the track is divided in two, making us choose the option on the left, of the two possible ones. A conditioned track will be in charge of leading us to Jerte itself.
We continue to lose height without leaving the cemented track at any time. The forest gives way to the cherry trees that add their special touch to this part of the route.
The Valley of Jerte stretches out before us as we approach it. This stretch also has a significant slope that fortunately we had to descend.
We will not come across too many paths or tracks, in any case the always downward trend of the option to be followed will take us out of doubt.
After a good while the, sometimes uncomfortable, descent comes to an end when we reach the track on our right that leads to the heart of Jerte (4h 30min).
From this place we have a good walk following the course of the river Jerte from afar.
The conditioned and undulating track has nothing to do with the trails and paths we have traveled so far.
This part of the route although it does not have big ramps that put us in trouble, if it becomes harder due to accumulated tiredness.
We advance without ever leaving the cemented track that will take us without complications to our destination.
After a long walk along the track we will arrive at the Interpretation Centre of the Gorge of the Hells (5h 10min) where we close the circle and the trekking route we have done in the Jerte Valley.
Total distance. 15,6 Km
Total time. 5h 10min
If we take any of the possible variants this figure can be reduced, although not as much as the kilometres saved can make us imagine.
Time of year. Attention on very hot days
Except for very specific days, this is a hiking route that runs through a natural area that has great attractions throughout the year. Without a doubt, spring and autumn are special in this region of Jerte, bringing their unique colours to the already beautiful landscapes. In summer or with high temperatures it is interesting to get up early so as not to see ourselves in the hottest hours of the day in the midst of our efforts, although in a good part of the route we will be able to enjoy the good shade of the forests that it crosses.
Required equipment. Food and water essential
It is advisable to wear good hiking shoes, preferably boots, and long trousers to protect you from scratches and hives on the long stretches where the vegetation almost completely covers the path. If you are in doubt, you should also take the necessary equipment to be able to return to the path or follow it. The walking poles on such long routes and with such a steep profile are other great allies providing stability and reducing the effort to the legs. The sun and heat are other factors to take into account, sunglasses, a cap, and sunscreen are fundamental, as well as enough water and food. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
Slope acumulate. 1374 m Slope positive. 687 m Slope negative. 687 m
Both in terms of distance and the difference in altitude to be covered, we are faced with a demanding hiking route, but which has the advantage of being able to cut down if necessary, although these other options do not make it much easier, but we do reduce part of the final mileage. The heat will undoubtedly increase the physical demand hardening the route.
Severity of the environment
We will advance in most of the route by well marked paths and roads in good condition so as long as we do not get out of them we should not have more complications than some cobbled or gravel area where we will have to walk with more caution. We will also pass sections of path in the middle of the slope that can impose us a little if we do not go out a lot to the mountain. Pay attention to the river flows, especially if we decide to shorten the route by following the orange route of Los Pilones and the New Bridge or Carlos V since we must cross the stream. This pass can also put us in difficulty even if the river does not have much flow, given the maze of stones and large blocks that we have to cross looking for the best place to do so.
Generally well signposted, it is the different routes with which we are going to coincide that will surely generate some doubts when they follow their course saying goodbye to us. How well defined are the paths and trails of the entire route are also of great help in case of doubt. Given the distance we are going to cover, it is important to prepare the activity in advance, as it should be the usual way, in order to have a clear idea of the route and the different alternatives we are going to encounter.
|1-Interpretation Centre||0h 00min||550 m||0 Km||30T 264068 4454306|
|2-Los Pilones||0h 50min||674 m||2,5 Km||30T 265559 4453763|
|3-New Bridge Detour||1h 35min||789 m||4,5 Km||30T 266941 4453352|
|4-Carrascal Bridge||2h 35min||1015 m||6,6 Km||30T 267987 4452579|
|5-New or Carlos V Bridge||3h 10min||875 m||8,7 Km||30T 267989 4453833|
|6-Detour Interpretation Center||3h 45min||960 m||10,2 Km||30T 266794 4454150|
|7-Jerte||4h 30min||595 m||13,1 Km||30T 266006 4455713|
|8-Interpretation Centre||5h 10min||550 m||15,6 Km||30T 264068 4454306|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
This sketch of the route is not made to scale nor does it contain all the information relating to the area, it is merely indicative.
This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 576-3, 1:25.000"
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems with the reception of the GPS signal. In any case the tracks are always approximate. SENDITUR encourages you to use the new technologies within your reach, using them as support and consultation in your activity, not basing the realization and orientation of the same only and exclusively on them, since they may see their functioning altered by very diverse causes, not functioning correctly and their indications may not be precise.
Decidimos hacer la "Ruta de Los Pilones-Puente Nuevo" 12km (ida y vuelta) para hacer la con los niños y que no quedara muy larga. Nos encanto el bosque y la parte de los pilones. Se os decidis banharos, hay que tener mucho cuidado, pues se resvala mucho.
Una pasada de sitio, nosotros solo subimos hasta los pilones y luego nos dimos la vuelta, vamos un paseo, pero muy recomendable.
¿Did you know that...
The formation of Los Pilones is due to the erosive action of small rocks that are trapped in these cavities and thanks to the eddies that the water forms in them, these rocks move in a circular fashion hitting the walls, giving shape to this spot, one of the most spectacular natural pools in Spain.
Don't miss out...
The Mirador of the Chorreo of the Virgin, from it you can contemplate an exceptional panoramic view of one of the beautiful corners of the Natural Reserve of the Gorge of the Hells, the Chorreo of the Virgin, an impressive waterfall that flows from the skirts of the mountain.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 07-10-2016. 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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