The Sierra of Gredos is located in the centre of the Central Mountain Range and, extending from east to west, separates the basins of the Tagus and the Duero. Its massif begins to form in the north in the valleys of the Alberche and Tormes, integrating into the landscape of the plateau, while in the south, in the province of Avila, the mountains form an impressive wall where Gredos sees the birth of the Tietar River, a natural setting of great beauty and countless hiking and mountain routes that reveal the Sierra of Gredos.
The route of the Path of the Big Lagoon with its 13 km, round trip, begins in the Platform of Gredos, more concretely in the parking, where it finishes the road that ascends until this spectacular place. The Gredos Platform is the natural beginning of the ascent to Gredos and of the different routes that can be made or ascents that can be undertaken to the craggy peaks that form this mountain range. The path to the Big Lagoon is an entertaining and challenging hiking route that allows us to enter the very heart of Gredos, breathing and feeling the true high mountain atmosphere that these peaks have. As we walk we can discover the interesting fauna and flora that live in the rocks and the meadows, ranging from insectivorous birds, to the red rocker or the rocker plane. In all probability we will also feel observed from the heights by the griffon vultures, kites and eagles that glide over us with their majestic flight. But what we are sure to come across is the mountain goat, endemic to Gredos, which takes advantage of the heat given off by the rocks so as not to lose any detail of the curious visitors who tour these domains.
It is not without effort that we will leave behind us beautiful landscapes as we discover every corner of this hiking route. Corners such as the Cavadores fountain, or the Barrerones fountain, shortly after saving the hill from which it takes its name, where we can take a break and recover the strength used to reach them. The effort undoubtedly has its reward and when we reach the so-called Cirque of Stone of Gredos or the square of the Moro Almanzor, our goal appears, the Gredos Lagoon, of glacial origin, whose deep waters are guarded by the steep walls of the Cuchillar de las Navajas, the Almanzor, Los Hermanitos, Risco Moreno... With the work done, and as long as our objective is not to trample on any of the peaks that surround us, we will start our way back, undoing what we have walked, to conclude the trekking route through Gredos in the parking lot of the Platform where we started it, having taken with us forever the unforgettable memory of the places we have discovered.
The Platform of Gredos can be accessed from the towns of Navarredonda de Gredos, Navacepeda de Tormes and Hoyos del Espino, all of them in the middle of the AV-941 road that links El Barco de Ávila on the N-110 between Ávila and Plasencia, with La Rasquilla on the N-502 road that links Ávila with Talavera de la Reina. The AV-931 road that leaves Hoyos del Espino and goes up to the Platform is joined by the different roads that leave from the other towns to reach the Platform car park where we can leave our vehicle. Once there we have to take into account that there is an access regulation that, during the months of July, August and the first week of September as well as during the weekends of the whole year, limits and manages the passage of vehicles from kilometre 7 where the barrier is located and the box that sells the access tickets to the car park from where the route starts.
Our walk starts at the parking lot located in the place known as the Gredos Platform (0h 00min).
For the time being and in smooth ascent, a cobbled path, general tonic of almost all the route, will be in charge of guiding our steps.
We continue without loss on the marked upward path with our eyes wide open so as not to lose any detail of the environment around us. The unevenness seems to give us a false truce at the same time that in the cobbled route some wooden crossbeams offer us their smooth surface facilitating our progress.
We gain height again, as we pass by the few crossroads we find, while following our well-marked path of stones.
After a while we arrive at the junction with the route that if followed would take us to the Reguero Llano shelter. We leave this junction behind and continue with the marked slope we are facing.
The route, in the Meadow of the Pozas, gives us a short respite and lets us recover part of the effort made.
Shortly after crossing the bridge over the Las Pozas River, we will take the steep slope that we must overcome. The Hill of the Barrerones demands an extra effort from us, making us gain height with every step.
We continue with the ascent always by the cobbled path now marked with some milestones.
The steep ascent as soon as it gives us a little break, as it quickly punishes us again with steep ramps.
The Cavadores fountain (1h 35min) invites us to rest and replenish our strength while enjoying splendid views.
Once we have recovered our breath, we continue with the ascent that will take us to the plateau that constitutes the summit of the Barrerones, above 2100 meters of altitude.
From here we can already sense some of the peaks that surround the impressive Cirque of Gredos. The route now leads us along a well marked path and in an almost imperceptible descent.
Soon we arrive at a privileged viewpoint from where we can contemplate the steep peaks that surround the Big Lagoon.
The majestic Cirque of Gredos appears before us inviting us to come closer, we continue towards it while we continue to lose the height previously gained.
The Barrerones fountain (1h 55min) offers us its icy glacier water, although it is always well received, especially on summer days.
Leaving the fountain behind, we continue along the cobbled path that, with the typical zigzagging, will help us to save the steep descent that separates us from the lagoon we are heading for.
As you descend the slope, it gradually becomes gentler, as if you wanted to prolong the already long descent.
The Lagoon, which can already be seen, is still far away even if its presence makes us think otherwise. The enormous rocks begin to take over the landscape around us forcing us to walk among them.
The lagoon is splendid before us as we watch it in search of the trail along which we will border it.
A trail that, as long as it is passable, runs along the edge of the lagoon allowing us to advance without problems.
Above our heads, anchored in the rocks, runs the rope that as a railing helps the mountaineers when the landscape changes impeding the passage through the trail.
Shortly after overcoming this changing passage, a stylized wooden bridge allows us to cross the creek that feeds the lagoon.
Finally our goal, the Big Lagoon (2h 30min), from here start some of the ascents to the main peaks of the area, the Almanzor, the Cuchillar de las Navajas, the Hermanitos...
Once we have enjoyed such a place, following our steps we will return passing again by the Barrerones fountain (3h 30min) and the Cavadores fountain (4h 00min) until the parking of the Gredos Platform (5h 00min) where this entertaining trekking route ends.
This figure is subject to variations depending on our starting point and the route we take around the lagoon.
Our physical condition and how we face the ramps that we will find can condition this figure notably, not only lowering it but also increasing it in quite a few minutes, if we do not dose our strength.
With winter conditions, the route widens its beauty and even more its difficulty, and we can find snowdrifts and somewhat exposed areas that make the route unsuitable for inexperienced people without the proper equipment. The rest of the year in normal conditions we are in front of a spectacular place that will not stop surprising us at every step.
We are in a mountainous terrain and as such we must adapt our equipment to it. Hiking shoes and clothes without forgetting the raincoat, which protects us from the weather that even in the middle of summer can occur along the route. It is important to know the state of the route in order to adapt the material we carry to those conditions, crampons, ice axes can be essential even if it does not seem so at first sight. Water and food, as well as a first aid kit with the basics, map and GPS, should not be missing from our backpacks. The walking poles and the camera will also be good companions for the adventure. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.
The important unevenness to overcome and the distance are the factors that in normal conditions, of summer, mark the difficulty of the route. Ramps of a certain hardness and the jagged profile that both on the way up and on the way back forces us to make an effort to gain height can take their toll if we do not plan the route with the necessary calmness.
Severity of the environment
As long as we don't get out of the path, and the path is not slippery, it's the cobblestone surface that should cause us the most trouble. As we get closer to the lagoon, the terrain becomes rougher but with caution and enough common sense, it is not too difficult. The weather conditions and the route, fog, rain, snow or ice are the factors that we must take into account and can bring more difficulty to the route. Be careful if the stones are wet, they can become a skate. Be careful if you have to border the lagoon on the rocks, using the handrail with which they are equipped, it is not a great difficulty but it requires some skill.
Both the correct signposting and the definition of the path and trail make it very difficult to have problems, to know the route to follow. Things change with the fog that is in the area and that will force us to be attentive not to get lost or if the snow covers the route in which case following the route is complicated considerably. It is important not to get too confident and always carry a map of the route with you in case you need it.
|30T 310219 4460727
|2-Fountain of Cavadores
|30T 307975 4460287
|3-Fountain of the Barrerones
|30T 307112 4459567
|30T 306101 4458074
|5-Fountain of the Barrerones
|30T 307112 4459567
|6-Fountain of Cavadores
|30T 307975 4460287
|30T 310219 4460727
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 577-2 y 577-4, 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.
Me encanta la Sierra de Gredos :-)
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¿Did you know that...
Part of the path to the lagoon coincides with a section of the so-called Royal Trail that was built between 1914 and 1915 for the incursions that King Alfonso XIII made during his hunts in these places.
Don't miss out...
The Charca Esmeralda, also known as the Lagunilla, which is located just a few meters above the Big Lagoon, following in the direction of the portilla of the Machos. It is a small lagoon nestled between huge stone fields that owes its name to the unmistakable green crystalline color of its waters, which come from the thawing of the snowdrifts.
From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go.
Besides sharing with all of us your experience on the route we would be grateful if you could write to us to inform us of any erroneous or outdated information you may have found, or simply to let us know what you think at Thank you.
This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 14-10-2016. 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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