Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Walking in Asturias 14: In search of Lago El Bricial

If you enjoy walking in stunning mountain scenery with very few people around then the Picos de Europa mountains are ideal. The magnificent limestone peaks, diverse flora and fauna, wooded valleys and extensive high pastures never fail to impress.

Lago La Ercina

An area that attracts visitors to the Picos are the two mountain lakes, Lago de Enol and Lago de la Ercina. During the busier summer months you can only take your car up to the lakes before 8am then it is only accessible by a procession of mini coaches that come and go at regular intervals. At this time of year there are hardly any visitors and access by car is unrestricted.

Lago de Enol

The ascent is not for the feint hearted as the road is narrow with very steep winding sections that have little or no protection to the significant sheer slopes to the valleys below. Usually no problem until you come across a coach or  herd of cattle.

This spring we decided to go in search of the third lake Lago El Bricial. This lake is seasonal and only forms during winter and spring due to the melting snow and ice. We arrived following a 1100 meter ascent by car and parked in the main parking area near Lago Enol.

We have walked in this mountain range on numerous occasions and it never fails to impress. The route is reasonably well sign posted for this part of Spain and once you get more than 500 meters into the walk you rarely see anyone.

Typical way-markers

The stone Shepherds' huts with their weighted down roof tiles are magical and are dotted around the landscape on the high mountain pastures.

After an hour of walking and taking photographs we came across Lago El Bricial and walked around its shores. It appeared to have two sources of mountain water, one from and underground gully and the other from a magnificent cascade and waterfall. We had been here before but in the height of summer when it is a green and lush pasture.

Vega/Lago El Bricial

We stumbled upon a wolf print in the snow just next to the waterfall, truly magical. We have heard wolves in the mountains but never spotted them and probably never will so a wolf paw print is some compensation.

The walk carries on through a beautiful wooded glade and we came across what we first thought was an animal enclosure but discovered it was a barrier to a deep, very deep cavern. The sound of gushing water below echoed in the stillness.

The mountains are home to many animals and birds including wolves, wildcats, brown bear, chamois, chough, vultures, eagles and fox but unless you are exceptionally lucky or patient it is rare to see the mammals.

A flock of Cough high above

The highlight of the walk was the abundance of wild flowers in particularly the Narcissus bulbocodium which was in abundance and the Gentiana Acaulis which I think is my favourite blue coloured flower.

The walk and a long lunch stop took about 5 hours but we didn't rush and took many photographs. The walk is circular and easy going but walking boots and a stick are recommended. Here are a few more photos including a rare snap of me...


  1. Anonymous9:24 am

    Beautiful post. I've never seen the lake in person but a friend posted some pictures of it on Facebook last week that really piqued my interest. (I know, I know, seeing something on FB isn't quite the same! ;-) ) I lOVE the wolf print too. Never seen one, although have seen some wolf poo in the mountains.....not quite so photogenic somehow!

    1. Well you're one up on me and I doubt I'd be able to recognise wolf poo! You must try and get there, the waterfall is magical.

  2. Anonymous3:20 pm

    This must be what paradise looks like? I can't thank you enough for taking pictures and sharing them for all to see. I would never be able to see such wonderful places if it wasn't for your generosity. I really love seeing all the stones and some of the way they were used in the area. The way markers, shepherd's huts, and the cavern almost bring you back to the time they were constructed. Certain areas of Wisconsin, have lots of rocks. In these areas you'll see a lot of buildings, and walls that were put together using river rocks. Again...thank you, for a wonderful post! Carla

    1. Thank you Carla for your kind words. It truly is a magical place and one which we hope stays exactly as it is.

  3. What a lovely excision you have taken me on early this morning! I love the Shepard's hut! Thank you!

    1. Hi Jacqueline. I am glad you joined us on this fabulous walk by reading the post. I love that part of Asturias.


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