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The Cave of the Saint, a privileged place for spiritual retreat

In the Distercios or Idubedas Mounts, later known as Sierra of La Demanda, in the upper course of the river Cárdenas belonging to the municipal district of San Millán de la Cogolla, we find the Cave of the Saint. The route runs through one of the most spectacular, leafy and shady beech woods in the region, which are joined by holly, maple, hazel and ash trees, which contain some of the most unique trees in La Rioja.​

The Cave of the Saint

Without forgetting the privileged viewpoints that offer us some beautiful panoramic views that invite us to know this hidden place. The 1.8 km route starts at Corrales of Urre, where we find a recreational area and a large car park once we cross the river Cárdenas. On both sides of the building some paths begin, our route undertakes a soft ascent by the way of the right, that gains height leaving to our feet the parking of the recreational area.

The Cave of the Saint

Shortly after beginning to walk we arrive at a small bridge that crosses a whimsical stream and gives way to another recreational area that is distributed by a hidden esplanade. The path now turned into a wide trail begins a new ascent that does not abandon until the end. Leaving behind this recreational area and after a hard ramp we arrive at a spectacular viewpoint that allows us to contemplate the high part of the valley next to the mountains that flank it.

The Cave of the Saint

After catching your breath in this place, the trail turns to the left to continue the somewhat less demanding ascent thanks to the typical zetas that zigzag along the hillside, until you leave the protection of the forest and find a stone cliff, where the ascent ends. The trail, as if it were a "mini-girdle" typical of the Pyrenees, borders the vertical rock wall protected by a balustrade that separates us from the void. A few steps further on we find the stairs that lead us to the hermitage adjoining the Cave of the Saint, which can be accessed by opening the bolt that closes the door, provided that we leave it closed when we leave.

The Cave of the Saint

Once here, we can not only know the place where San Millán, after receiving the teachings of his master San Felices in the Riscos of Bilibio, decided to retire to devote himself to ascetic life as a hermit, but also enjoy a privileged balcony overlooking a true natural paradise. We return following our footsteps to the recreational area.

The Legend

According to legend, once a plague affected the women of the valley, so the men approached the cave to ask the saint for their mediation, thus initiating the tradition of climbing only men in pilgrimage every year to the Cave of the Saint.

How to get to Saint Cave

San Millán de la Cogolla can be reached via the LR-331 from Bobadilla or following the LR-205 from the nearby town of Berceo, where the different access roads converge from the A-12 Camino dual carriageway and the N-120 between Logroño and Burgos, well signposted as " Route of the Monasteries". We can arrive by the LR-206 from Azofra or Santo Domingo de la Calzada and from Nájera by the LR-113, which joins it with Salas de los Infantes, taking the detour of the LR-205 that will take us to Berceo and then to San Millán de la Cogolla, which also has an interurban bus service every day. Once there we will continue towards the Monastery of Yuso which is located on the other side of the accesses to the town of San Millán de la Cogolla, so we must cross it from side to side by its main street or by the road that surrounds it and that we will find, as we come from Berceo, a little before reaching the town. This road will lead us directly to the entrance of the Monastery of Yuso, where we will find the asphalted track that will take us through Lugar del Río until the entrance to the corrals of Urre, where the proposed route begins.

Pet area, hiking with my dog

Spectacular route through wide paths in good condition, which will allow you to enjoy the coolness of the forest in summer and the streams. If we decide to start in San Millán, the route is considerably hardened, becoming largely asphalt and with few shaded areas.

Constantly close to the river, with a fountain and crossing a stream of easy access. Water is generally not a problem on this route.

Livestock area par excellence is very common to find us with livestock, like some shepherd dog especially near Lugar del Rio.

Technical data sheet of the route

ico-distancia-totalDistance. 2Km

Initially this figure should not change, unless we are forced to park our vehicle further away from the mentioned parking place.

ico-tiempo-totalTime. 0:45h

Total non-stop time. If we dare to make the route from the Monastery of Yuso the route is extended in 8 Km of soft but constant ascent which supposes approximately 2h 15min, only of going to what we will have to add the return.

ico-calendarioTime of year

Preferably in not very dry season, to be able to enjoy the streams with sufficient flow. The colours of autumn make this route a marvellous landscape, in winter the place is high enough to find frozen areas or snow, so we will have to inform ourselves before the state of the route, but the ascent is certainly worthwhile, showing a white mountain environment.

ico-materialRequired equipment

Clothing and footwear for sports or hiking according to the time of year and the weather. Recommended water bottle if we do the route in summer. If the route is done in winter, we will have to assess the need for specific material depending on the conditions we find. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more.

ico-dificultadDifficulty. Low


The itinerary overcomes a good unevenness in a short distance, nothing excessive for someone accustomed, but this small distance allows, to assume it calmly and to take the necessary time to be able to overcome the unevenness without complications.

Severity of the environment

The entire route is made by path in good condition and with perfect firm, the short ramp just before reaching the first viewpoint can be somewhat slippery given its inclination, especially the descent. The final stretch is perfectly conditioned and wide enough not to pose any danger as long as we do not leave the marked route. Be careful with the access stairs to the hermitage, the descent is somewhat steep.


Signposted from San Millán, it is not lost as we must not leave the asphalted track until we reach the bridge that crosses the river and reaches the recreational area of the Urre corrals. Once there, informative signs next to the refuge indicate the beginning of the path, which is well delimited.

Important places to pass through
1-Corral of Urre 0:00h 935m 0Km 30T 506404 4680373
2-Cave of the Saint 0:30h 1067m 0.9Km 30T 506571 4679964
3-Corral of Urre 0:40h 935m 1.8Km 30T 506404 4680373

Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84

Profile of the route

Profile of the route The Cave of the Saint

ico-desnivel-acumuladoSlope: 310m

ico-desnivel-positivoSlope +: 155m

ico-desnivel-negativoSlope -: 155m

ico-altitud-maximaMaximum altitude: 1067m

ico-altitud-minima​Minimum altitude: 935m

Cartography, maps and tracks

Map of the route of the Cave of the Saint

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.

Topographic Map The cave of the Saint


This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 240-2 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.

Corrales of Urre
Hermitage of San Millán
Privileged panoramic view from the hermitage
Recreational area and stream
Road to San Millán de la Cogolla and Lugar del Río
Steep stairs
Trail to the Cave of the Saint
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Listado de experiencias
Created the 11-08-2014

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¿Did you know that...

The men of San Millán go up in pilgrimage to the Cave of the Saint, they do it the second Saturday of June, a week before the men of Berceo have done it. Afterwards, a popular lunch is held.

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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 03-05-2021. 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.

All the times are approximate and take an orientative character, the stops have not been taken into account, no matter how small they are. All the information related to the route, texts, images, videos, maps, diagrams, tracks, towns, and places of tourist interest are published as a guide, and may not coincide with the current state of each place. Before undertaking any activity, assess your technical knowledge, your physical condition, find out about the weather and the variations that the route may undergo, equip yourself correctly, be prudent and responsible at all times, and do not exceed your capabilities. SENDITUR is not responsible for any misuse or inappropriate use of the comprehensive guides of its routes and/or publications as well as its electronic guides, nor for any variations in their descriptions for the aforementioned reasons, and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. We also encourage you to read books and specialised guides to complement the information described above.

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