Hello dear pilgrims! Today we bring you the perfect plan to start 2021 on the right foot and burn those extra calories we have accumulated during the holidays: the route of the Xanas. This time we move you to the Asturian council of Santo Adriano to discover one of the most beautiful routes of the Asturian mid-mountain.
The environment of the Xanas Gorge
The route is located in the council of Santo Adriano, specifically in the parish of Villanueva, just 25 kilometres from the city of the beginning of the Primitive Way: Oviedo. The gorge of the Xanas owes its name to the Asturian-Leonese mythology. The xanas are a mythological character of this area that lives in crystal clear waters. Xana refers to different types of fairies and nymphs.
Geographically it is located in the surroundings of the Sierra del Aramo, in the Cantabrian Mountains. The surroundings of the route follows a ravine that can be up to 90 meters deep. It should be noted that the entire Xanas Gorge has been declared a Natural Monument and therefore forms part of the network of protected landscapes.
This route is one of the most frequented of Asturias, since within the Cantabrian Mountains is one of the most accessible areas for all audiences. However, the route runs through a gorge on a limestone substrate, so we recommend not to run and walk with caution.
Once we have arrived at the parking lot of the recreational area of Molín de las Xanas, we will have to walk up the road a few meters, until we reach a signpost on the right that gives access to the route. It is interesting that we stop to read the information they give us about the origin of the path. The route is linear and its total distance is about 7 long kilometers, which are perfectly doable in two and a half hours, or three if you want to go more calmly.
In the first part of the route you will enter the gorge itself, walking along the left bank. The panoramic views and the landscape are spectacular. The path is wide enough to go at ease, but even so, always walk close to the wall, as the substrate is stony. After walking for about two kilometres, we leave the gorge behind us and enter a densely wooded riverside landscape, very idyllic. In this part we find the river Xanas at the same height.
Afterwards, you cross the river and the road continues uphill, crossing rural and natural landscapes where you will often come across the typical blond cows of the country. Once we leave the forest and find ourselves in a clearing, we are about to reach the end of the route, at the church of San Antonio de Pedroveya. Now all you have to do is go back the way you came.
How to get to the starting point of the Xanas route?
The best way to get there is by private vehicle. From Oviedo you have two options. The first is to follow the A-66 motorway until exit 36 towards AS-322 and at La Arquera change to the AS-360 signs for Villanueva. Another option is to take the AS-63 from Oviedo and at Soto take the AS-228 to Villanueva. In both cases the distance is twenty and a few kilometres covered in half an hour.
Although it is also possible to travel there by public transport, taking a bus from Oviedo in the direction of Teverga.
What physical preparation do I need?
To do this route it is not necessary to be in good physical shape, as the effort is very low and the route is short. Bear in mind that it is just over 3 kilometres of “uphill” and once you reach the end, you will return the way you came with the slope favourable to your steps.
What is the best time of the year to do the route of the Xanas?
Any time of the year is a good time to go hiking in the mountains. Anyway, as we always say, the most beautiful seasons to go to the forest are spring and autumn. The route of the Xanas is a route practicable even during the winter. Of course, although it often does not reach the snow level, keep in mind that if temperatures are very low, the ground may be frozen for some stretches. For this reason we recommend extreme caution and walking in the middle of the day, when temperatures are higher.
As we always tell you, it is necessary to wear suitable clothing for sports appropriate for the time of year in which we find ourselves. The footwear should be trekking shoes with a good grip sole to avoid slipping. Trekking poles are recommended to feel more comfortable and safe when walking through the gorge. Of course, pack snacks and enough water in your backpack to keep you hydrated throughout the ride.
If you have any questions or want to share something about this wonderful route with us, feel free to leave a comment. Have a nice day pilgrims!