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Between lagoons and goat paths – hike in Spain’s Gredos Mountains

Claudia Aguilar González

Between lagoons and goat paths – hike in Spain’s Gredos Mountains

Hiking Collection by Claudia Aguilar González



3-5 h

/ day

16.6 mi

4,150 ft

4,125 ft

You walk in silence, listening to your breath. Ahead, you’ll face an ascent and descent with perseverance and determination. You push your thoughts away and face your fears, proving to yourself that you can do it. Mountains can be therapy. Your effort is rewarded in so many ways…

You’ll spot a brightly-coloured lizard, a little tadpole that’s just turned into a frog, a fluffy calf or an elegant mountain goat with impressive horns. In the sky, whimsical clouds roll by and vultures swoop, their feathers ruffling in the wind, as you enjoy a 360º panorama in every direction.

They say in life that everything that is easy, is unsatisfying. When you’re hungry and cold, exhausted from climbing and when your knees ache from the downhill, all you have to do is look up to smile and forget everything.

This Collection is full of experiences that will stick in your memory. I invite you to walk through three glacial cirques in the western Sierra de Gredos. The route crosses green meadows, aquamarine lagoons, beautiful waterfalls, crystalline streams, sharp gorges and mountain passes where you’ll literally be breathless (both because of the ascent and the views).

You hike through the heart of one of Ávila province’s most rural areas. Starting in Nava del Barco, I propose this 28-kilometre (17 mi) itinerary of pure joy. I’ve divided it into two stages, the second of which is more intense in terms of elevation gain.

Although anyone in good shape can do this route, it’s advisable to have some mountain experience. The path is not always obvious and it leads up some climbs which, although relatively simple, aren’t suitable for people who suffer from vertigo or who aren’t used to strenuous hiking.

Summer and autumn are the best times for this hike as snowfall is frequent in the area. The route exceeds 2,300 metres (7,545 ft), so it can be dangerous in winter if you don’t have the necessary equipment and knowledge.

The only way to get to Nava del Barco is by car, as there’s no train or bus station. The first stage begins in a car park next to the path.

If you want to get to the area by public transport, the nearest bus stop is about 11 kilometres (7 mi) away, in El Barco de Ávila. However, the connections are limited. 38 kilometres (23 mi) away, the town of Béjar has a station with more options.

This circular includes a night in the Galín Gómez Refuge – a remote place with no mobile signal – so take enough food for two days. Comfortable shoes with grippy soles, as well as thermal clothing for the night, a waterproof coat, mat and a sleeping bag are also essential. If you want, you could also bring a water filter or purification tablets, which I recommend. Also, check the weather forecast before starting each stage to avoid heavy rain.

Remember to respect the environment by picking up your rubbish and not disturbing the animals. Enjoy the mountain and it will reward you.

On The Map


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Caminata por las lagunas del sector occidental de la sierra de Gredos

16.6 mi

4,150 ft

4,150 ft

Last updated: November 8, 2022

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Nava del Barco to Galín Gómez Hut – Sierra de Gredos

    6.66 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,075 ft
    0 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The beautiful adventure you are about to undertake is marked by a strong contrast. Starting with a pleasant walk along the river, the path immediately turns slightly uphill. Thus, the route passes through meadows of an intense green to later go through a landscape where the vegetation is left behind

    translated byView Original

    by Claudia Aguilar González

  • Expert
    9.98 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,075 ft
    4,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    For this second stage, it is advisable to get up very early, since it is quite intense: although the positive slope, a priori, does not seem like much, most of the climb is concentrated in less than two kilometers. As soon as you go around the Barco lagoon, a strong and long ascent begins through a channel

    translated byView Original

    by Claudia Aguilar González

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    16.6 mi
  • Duration
    10:43 h
  • Elevation
    4,150 ft4,125 ft

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