The Ruta de las Xanas is one of the best-known hiking trails in Asturias. It is a natural gorge, opened by the course of the Las Xanas stream. It is one of the most spectacular landscapes to enjoy in the north of the Iberian Peninsula.
On the Xanas de Asturias route, nature lovers can find some of the best views in all of Spain. In this deep natural gorge , full of small caves, the walker can discover ancient stalactites and fantastic limestone rock formations that were once inside the caves. Today, these rock formations are in full view, thanks to the fact that the Las Xanas River cut through the rock, opening the caves to the open air.
The Las Xanas gorge opens onto a deep valley, in which a large riparian forest grows. This type of forest, typical of the north of Spain, grows following the course of the river, sinking its roots among the stones and ancient limestone rocks, where the pine disappears and the oak grows.
Most of the paths in Asturias were opened by the miners. In fact, the area of the gorge and the valley have a great tradition in iron mining. In this sense, along the route you will find more than one mine head. On the other hand, once you leave the gorge and its rock walls behind, the path invites you to first enter a large forest and, later, cross long green pastures. Finally, you will arrive at the Pedroveya church where you can sit, rest and enjoy the wonderful landscape.
If you want to enjoy this fantastic natural route in Asturias, take your hiking shoes and follow our instructions.
The itinerary of the Las Xanas route
The beginning of the route is somewhat complicated, since access to the Asturian Xana is not the easiest in the world. In this sense, to reach the first part of the path it will be necessary to travel about 200 meters of the Tenebro road. It is important to do it on the shoulder, in the opposite direction to traffic to avoid accidents, since the road has regular traffic.
The entrance to the route is marked and is located on the right side of the road. To avoid confusion, a large stone slab marks the start of the route and the access to the gorge. From this point the route and the ascent begin, which will be very smooth at the beginning. As you advance, you will leave behind the Proaza valley and the Teverga de Quirós mountains.
The first area of the gorge is the steepest and most abrupt. In this part of the route you will find the first tunnels carved into the rock. Further down, at the foot, is the Las Xanas River. This is one of the most dangerous sections of the route, since in some parts the precipice is up to 80 meters high , so a slip could be very dangerous. Luckily, the sections with the greatest risk have rope and wood railings, as well as handrails that facilitate safe progress.
As you walk, you will go out of the gorge, leaving behind the different open caves and the mouths of abandoned mines. In this second part of the route you will find a typical forest of northern Spain, with chestnut and beech trees. This forest reaches its maximum splendor in autumn, when it turns yellow, red and brown. We will continue advancing through the forest, following the path and crossing a small wooden bridge that crosses the river.
Finally, as we slowly ascend and leave the forest, we will come across the final stage of the route. Here we will go out to open land to an Asturian meadow, with fresh green grass. From the meadow you can see the end point of the route, which is the hermitage of San Antonio de Pedroveya.
The Las Xanas route is circular, so once you have reached the hermitage, all you have to do is rest and return the same way you came.
Where to rest on the Las Xanas route
The path, which runs through the gorge, begins in the recreational area of Molín de Las Xanas, next to the town of Villanueva. In this area there is a free car park where you can leave your car. From here, you will have to walk about 200 meters to the monolith that marks the beginning of the path.
It is a “pedrero”, a path opened by man in the rock of the gorge during the 19th century to connect the towns of Santo Adriano (Dosango), Pedroveya (Quirós) and the Trubia valley area.
This route, from its exit to the hermitage of San Antonio, is 3.8 km long, to which the same distance must be added again for the return. On the other hand, it is a wild area, so there are no recreational areas with services . In this sense, the only spaces to rest are the parking lot at the beginning, as well as the hermitage that marks the end point.
In fact, the hermitage of San Antonio marks the place where hikers usually stop to rest, have lunch or eat. This is because the building is located in a high area, so it is possible to enjoy the landscape of the entire valley and the entrance to the forest.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that although the route is circular (round trip), it is also possible to return via the Valdolayes route. This return route is longer, since it forces the hiker to reach the town of Dosango.