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Mountain splendor from Ponferrada or El Acebo

#1
If you are on the camino Frances now and looking for a break from the crowds, may I suggest a two day walk from El Acebo to Ponferrada or a three day circle from Ponferrada. It is mountain walking in all its glory and has many Roman, visigothic, Mozarabic, and Romanesque highlights. I will elaborate with lots of details upon my return home but just want to say that the Camino doesn't get more spectacular than this. If you're in the vicinity and interested, let me know. It goes through the Valle del Silencio and gives you many opportunities to shout for joy at the amazing beauty all around you. The trails are extremely well marked despite what many if the "locals" say. image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg And if you are lucky enough to walk with Reb you will savor every moment even more.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#2
Laurie it is wonderful to see your handsome photos! So glad that you were finally able to visit Peñalba de Santiago with Rebekah. How I hope to follow both your footsteps later this autumn.

Ultreia,

Margaret Meredith
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several alone and with children
#4
If you are on the camino Frances now and looking for a break from the crowds, may I suggest a two day walk from El Acebo to Ponferrada or a three day circle from Ponferrada. It is mountain walking in all its glory and has many Roman, visigothic, Mozarabic, and Romanesque highlights. I will elaborate with lots of details upon my return home but just want to say that the Camino doesn't get more spectacular than this. If you're in the vicinity and interested, let me know. It goes through the Valle del Silencio and gives you many opportunities to shout for joy at the amazing beauty all around you. The trails are extremely well marked despite what many if the "locals" say. View attachment 11340 View attachment 11341 View attachment 11342 And if you are lucky enough to walk with Reb you will savor every moment even more.
Would follow any of your advice!
Always have loved your recommendations and advice.
I too would love to hear more about this for my next trip with kiddos!
Neve
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#5
Variations on this route are available on Wikiloc, just do searches "Acebo - Penalba," "Puentes de Malpaso," or "Ruta de los Monjes." I walked the Acebo - Penalba route in 2010 while Camino Invierno guide planning; it is part of the 30-odd hikes on the regional "Mirada Circular" hiking route of El Bierzo. It is quite challenging in places, and I too recommend doing it with walking sticks and at least one other person. Daily etapas are about 20 to 25 km., with some serious climbing and descending included (one grade was 28%!)

Four years ago waymarking was almost non-existent, so I did not include these (very worthwhile) trails in that year's guides. I needed compass and maps to find the way. In the years since then someone's done a very good job waymarking the routes, my hat is off!

Laurie and I will make up a little guide if people are interested. She has GPS tracks and lovely pictures. I have a bunch of old-fashioned maps, and some familiarity with the history and culture of the area... And plenty of opinions!
 
#7
So, while my memory is still relatively fresh, here are the instructions I would give, which may be different from Reb's recommendations because she knows more of the variants. I will also try to keep all of my effusive gushing about the beauty of these days out of this post.

Day One. If you want to start from either Ponferrada or Molinaseca, you will look for the trail "Las Fuentes del Malpaso." Everyone knows this trail so you can get directions easily. Reb and I walked from Ponferrada--go over the puente Boeza ( the medieval bridge that also marks the start of the Invierno). Walk on country roads about 3-4 km to the town of Lombillo. About 10 minutes outside of town, a wide path goes off to the right. You take it up and down and eventually arrive at the two bridges, beautiful water and green everywhere. Then up to Riego de Ambros and from there on the Francés "backwards" to El Acebo.

You can also start the Puentes de Malpaso trail from in front of the church San Nicolás de Bari in Molinaseca and it will join up with the trail Reb and I walked.

Day two. El Acebo to Peñalba. Jaime in the B&B La Trucha has lots of good info. The trail leaves from in front of his place, going down to the river. Take the turn-off for La Herrería, which is a Roman forge that's pretty amazing. There is a large map there showing you all kinds of options but we did not take the route that goes to Compludo. From the forge it's up and down, up and down, to Espinosa de Compludo and then San Cristóbal de Valdueza. There are good markings. Both are prettified little mountain towns and Bar Pili is in the second. From there it's a pretty level but sunny (and long) walk around the edge/side of the montes to get to the right valley and Peñalba.

We stayed in La Masera albergue. Fabulous place, 20 € each includes breakfast from the albergue's well stocked kitchen. Church is closed Mondays and Tuesdays but the cantina next door has the keys and will let you in. The albergue is not open in winter so call or email ahead. Two places to eat-- the cantina where we had an over-priced meal with a great view and the somewhat upscale restaurant where you must place your order early. A lovely two km walk takes you go the cave where San Genadio lived during the 7th century.

Day three. Peñalba to Ponferrada is a long day with a lot of lovely stops and incredible views. First up the mountain on the Montes trail. You will be out on the mountain! Just incredible, there's a labyrinth and then a cruel descent over Roman road and through Roman channels. You will enter the town of Montes with its abandoned but fascinating monastery. We were so happy to get a tour with a very knowledgeable local woman.
 
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#8
Continuing on.

From Montes, get on the trail which will be known either as Mirafa Circular or Montes Aquilianos. Leave through the parking lot and stay more or less at the same altitude. The road loops way out but you will eventually be back near it and the river. When you are walking parallel to the river (but way above it) after about 20-30 minutes, you will see some buildings down on the river. A path branches right and down towards them. Don't take it! Stay straight. The path now stays close to the river and comes out on the road near the towns of San Clemente, Val de Figueros, and finally San Esteban, where there is a very nice mesón /bar. (The first of the stage, so bring food and drink. ). Then an up and down 30-45 minutes alongside the road to the town of San Lorenzo, where you can hop on a municipal bus. Or you can stay on the sidewalk and walk the last few kms back into town, making a complete circle when you get to the medieval bridge.

There are various options, but I liked the one Reb and I did very much.
 
R

Roger M.

Guest
#12
One more thing. If, fingers crossed, I was able to record the walk on the gps, Gunnar and Susanna will hopefully get the tracks properly loaded and posted for anyone to use. Laurie.
Great info and write-up. I should be in that area around the 1st week of October. Sounds like a perfect time to break away from the crowds and enjoy some mountain scenery. Thank you!
 
R

Roger M.

Guest
#14
#15
I hope very much, time permitting, to follow that trail from El Acebo to Ponferrada. What would be your estimate for how much additional time this will add vs staying on the traditional trail? Thanks

Roger

Hi, Roger, El Acebo to Ponferrada on the Frances is a short 16km. Many people will either start earlier (Foncebadon) or go on further, say to Cacabelos). El Acebo to Ponferrada on this "alternative" path would be two full days, both in the 20s range, but with a lot of elevation. It is a walk that anyone who has been walking for a while can do without feeling exhausted. I think our predominant feeling was exhiliration!

So to answer your question, I guess you would turn what would otherwise be a half or 2/3 day from El Acebo to Ponferrada into a two full day walk into Ponferrada. (you would be doing two of the three days we did, since we started in Ponferrada and took our first day to go back up to El Acebo on another alternative path). I know that for some people, once you are in the "camino mentality" it's hard to consider detours/deviations from the arrows. I saw it in El Acebo when talking to some South African pilgrims who were intrigued with our plans but couldn't imagine leaving the Camino. I respect that, but for anyone who isn't feeling that way, this is a great alternative. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Monk Moses

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept. 2014
#16
Hi, Roger, El Acebo to Ponferrada on the Frances is a short 16km. Many people will either start earlier (Foncebadon) or go on further, say to Cacabelos). El Acebo to Ponferrada on this "alternative" path would be two full days, both in the 20s range, but with a lot of elevation. It is a walk that anyone who has been walking for a while can do without feeling exhausted. I think our predominant feeling was exhiliration!

So to answer your question, I guess you would turn what would otherwise be a half or 2/3 day from El Acebo to Ponferrada into a two full day walk into Ponferrada. (you would be doing two of the three days we did, since we started in Ponferrada and took our first day to go back up to El Acebo on another alternative path). I know that for some people, once you are in the "camino mentality" it's hard to consider detours/deviations from the arrows. I saw it in El Acebo when talking to some South African pilgrims who were intrigued with our plans but couldn't imagine leaving the Camino. I respect that, but for anyone who isn't feeling that way, this is a great alternative. Buen camino, Laurie

Looks very interesting! Thanks for sharing this!
 
R

Roger M.

Guest
#17
Hi, Roger, El Acebo to Ponferrada on the Frances is a short 16km. Many people will either start earlier (Foncebadon) or go on further, say to Cacabelos). El Acebo to Ponferrada on this "alternative" path would be two full days, both in the 20s range, but with a lot of elevation. It is a walk that anyone who has been walking for a while can do without feeling exhausted. I think our predominant feeling was exhiliration!

So to answer your question, I guess you would turn what would otherwise be a half or 2/3 day from El Acebo to Ponferrada into a two full day walk into Ponferrada. (you would be doing two of the three days we did, since we started in Ponferrada and took our first day to go back up to El Acebo on another alternative path). I know that for some people, once you are in the "camino mentality" it's hard to consider detours/deviations from the arrows. I saw it in El Acebo when talking to some South African pilgrims who were intrigued with our plans but couldn't imagine leaving the Camino. I respect that, but for anyone who isn't feeling that way, this is a great alternative. Buen camino, Laurie
Thank you Laurie! Ponferrada is one of the places on the Camino I want to stop and spend a little time. I have had an interest in the Knights Templar for quite a while. Spending a couple of days walking in the mountains away from the crowds is very appealing to me. And then to complete that walk and spend a day of rest and relaxation in Ponferrada would really be great. Thanks again for the info. I should be in this area around the 2nd week of of October. Hopefully it won't be too cold. I loved your pictures. Take Care --- Roger
 
#20
Hopefully we will have a little guide done up by then. And just this week a pilgrim Albergue opened in Penalba de Santiago -- 8 beds, right next to the church!
Rebekah is actually using the papal "we" when she says "we" will have a little guide. Reb, you are the guide writer, and I am the "additional comments provider" so get going girl.

And what do you think about a pilgrim albergue in Penalba? Isn't that just going to put La Masera out of existence? That was about the nicest albergue I can ever imagine staying in.
 
R

Roger M.

Guest
#21
Hopefully we will have a little guide done up by then. And just this week a pilgrim Albergue opened in Penalba de Santiago -- 8 beds, right next to the church!
Sounds great! I leave in about 6 weeks and I'll look to see if your guide is done by then. This is your chance to get an old ex-Marine walking in circles and chasing his tail in the mountains in Spain. ;)

Thanks again!

Roger
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#22
I think La Masera will survive if they just re-cast themselves as a hiker´s pension or some such -- it is superb, a great value for money. I think the pilgrim hostal is just for credentialed pilgs., and pretty minimalist. I hope to get up to Peñalba again a couple of weeks and see what is what, the info I have on the new place is pretty sketchy.

Just for the record: Laurie is the person with the GPS, photos, and connections to people who can do the mapping and distances that make a guide really work. She´s also got a well-earned fan following who would go anywhere she´s been, with well-placed confianza. I am just an old hack who likes history and is here on the ground. Between the two of us, we can do guides like nobody else!
 
#24
I think La Masera will survive if they just re-cast themselves as a hiker´s pension or some such -- it is superb, a great value for money. I think the pilgrim hostal is just for credentialed pilgs., and pretty minimalist. I hope to get up to Peñalba again a couple of weeks and see what is what, the info I have on the new place is pretty sketchy.

Just for the record: Laurie is the person with the GPS, photos, and connections to people who can do the mapping and distances that make a guide really work. She´s also got a well-earned fan following who would go anywhere she´s been, with well-placed confianza. I am just an old hack who likes history and is here on the ground. Between the two of us, we can do guides like nobody else!
Well, whatever we are, we are a great team! And great walking companions!

Reb and me.jpg
 
#26
Sounds great! I leave in about 6 weeks and I'll look to see if your guide is done by then. This is your chance to get an old ex-Marine walking in circles and chasing his tail in the mountains in Spain. ;)

Thanks again!

Roger
To all ex marines and anyone else interested in walking some or all of this circle. I now have the gps tracks on my computer and will try to get them posted in wikilocs soon. But in the meantime if anyone is walking soon and would like to see them, I can email them to you. Buen camino, Laurie
 
#27
Here are the distances and elevation gains for the three days of hiking. I would rate all three days as "moderate" but there´s a good cardio workout in all of them! Buen camino, Laurie

Day 1 (Ponferrada to El Acebo via Las Puentes de Malpaso)
11.8 miles; 3,215 feet elevation gain; 1,083 feet descent
19 km; 980 meters elevation gain; 679 meters descent

Day 2 (El Acebo to Peñalba de Santiago)
13.5 miles; 2,142 feet elevation gain; 2,228 feet descent
21.7 km; 653 meters elevation gain; 679 meters descent

Day 3 (Peñalba de Santiago to Montes de Valdeuso to Ponferrada)
14.4 miles; 1512 feet elevation gain; 3,264 feet descent
23 km; 461 meters elevation gain; 995 meters descent
 
#29
I just saw that the Herrería de Compludo, the old water-powered forge we explored when we walked from El Acebo to Peñalba, is re-opening for tourists in Semana Santa.

Rebekah is the historian so maybe she will chime in to provide all the important detail that has escaped my memory. I remember an extremely verdant, lush site, a huge water wheel to turn the anvil, and a peaceful quiet all around. I had thought it was of Roman origin, but maybe it´s medieval, in any event, it´s OLD.

http://www.infobierzo.com/la-herrer...s-de-3-anos-en-una-experiencia-piloto/164500/

So, Reb, if we do this circle again in July, maybe we´ll get a proper tour! Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#31
Hopefully we will have a little guide done up by then. And just this week a pilgrim Albergue opened in Penalba de Santiago -- 8 beds, right next to the church!
I should really like a copy of your guide, with maps, preferably, as I do not use GPS. I shall be in the area around the end of October on the Frances, and I have plenty of time to detour and am totally addicted to mountains. Do you know if either albergue is likely to be open in Penalba de Santiago in late October, early November? Would they be on the list at SJPDP? Thanks so much for sharing this with the forum.
 
#32
I just found this thank you !
peregrina2000 and
Rebekah Scott
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/members/peregrina2000.537/

might just include this into my walk. Was a guide written in the end?

Davey
I should really like a copy of your guide, with maps, preferably, as I do not use GPS. I shall be in the area around the end of October on the Frances, and I have plenty of time to detour and am totally addicted to mountains. Do you know if either albergue is likely to be open in Penalba de Santiago in late October, early November? Would they be on the list at SJPDP? Thanks so much for sharing this with the forum.
I've got a copy of it somewhere on the computer in my office and will find it tomorrow, Santiago willing. Buen camino, Laurie

p.s. The albergue we stayed in, La Masera, is open in October and beyond but only upon prior arrangement. I don't know about the other one. They will not be on the list in SJPP because they are not on the main Camino Frances. I hope to be there in July and will definitely post afterwards. Albertagirl, if you are addicted to mountains, this is the walk for you.
 
#33
Here is the copy of what Rebekah wrote and I edited a bit. The lovely prose, the interesting historical/cultural explanations, etc., are all hers. My contributions are more along the lines of -- "don´t take that turn to the right like I would have but for Rebekah´s good sense of direction." :)

This summer, we hope to meet up in Ponferrada again and go back to the Valle del Silencio, but we will change up our itinerary a bit. Last year we walked Ponferrada - El Acebo - Peñalba de Santiago - Ponferrada.

This year we will try a slightly different version -- Ponferrada - El Acebo - Peñalba de Santiago - As Médulas (and from there carry on on the Camino de Invierno). Fingers crossed!
 

Attachments

#35
We did hear from Roger that when he arrived in El Acebo, he decided to stay on the Francés, so we have not yet had anyone, to my knowledge at least, who has walked using our little document. Would love to hear from someone who tries it out! Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#36
that said, we do not know how many people HAVE used our little document and are now piles of bleaching bones on the mountainside...
Brruuahahaha! ;)

Seriously, think twice about taking this route alone in late October. The weather starts getting dicey up there about then. At least check with some locals before you leave for a weather report. Don't take chances. Parts of this are pretty isolated, esp. in the off-season.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#37
I've got a copy of it somewhere on the computer in my office and will find it tomorrow, Santiago willing. Buen camino, Laurie

p.s. The albergue we stayed in, La Masera, is open in October and beyond but only upon prior arrangement. I don't know about the other one. They will not be on the list in SJPP because they are not on the main Camino Frances. I hope to be there in July and will definitely post afterwards. Albertagirl, if you are addicted to mountains, this is the walk for you.
Next time to walk Invierno it will surely be this "detour". Not only because of awfully painfull (for my knees) descend to Molinaseca, but also because my family name is Masera and I wanted to stay at La Masera ;)
 

Houlet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino Sanabres 2015
Camino Norde 2017
#39
Looks great, I may incorporate it into next year's "stroll."

I never get lost but I do sometimes " explore alternative routes."
 
R

Roger M.

Guest
#40
We did hear from Roger that when he arrived in El Acebo, he decided to stay on the Francés, so we have not yet had anyone, to my knowledge at least, who has walked using our little document. Would love to hear from someone who tries it out! Laurie
Yeah, I did not feel up to the hike to the Valley of Silence. I have continued my walking and am trying to lose some additional weight in hopes of returning to the Camino in 3 or 4 years. Rebekah and Laurie provided a lot of good information that I hope to take advantage of then. Beautiful area from what could observe from the main trail.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#41
We did hear from Roger that when he arrived in El Acebo, he decided to stay on the Francés, so we have not yet had anyone, to my knowledge at least, who has walked using our little document
Hi, love the thread, thanks for posting. If the weather is good, and the forecast is good, and I can find someone to walk with me, I’d like to try walking from El Acebo to Molinaseca on this route via La Herreria and Espinoso de Compludo in early November. Google Maps shows it to be 21 kms with lots of ups and downs. I realise it will be early winter so will check and double check with the locals. What do you think? Appreciate any advice. Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#42
Hi, love the thread, thanks for posting. If the weather is good, and the forecast is good, and I can find someone to walk with me, I’d like to try walking from El Acebo to Molinaseca on this route via La Herreria and Espinoso de Compludo in early November. Google Maps shows it to be 21 kms with lots of ups and downs. I realise it will be early winter so will check and double check with the locals. What do you think? Appreciate any advice. Jill
No advice, but I am planning on walking that side trip at about the same time, if all goes well.
 
#43
Hi, love the thread, thanks for posting. If the weather is good, and the forecast is good, and I can find someone to walk with me, I’d like to try walking from El Acebo to Molinaseca on this route via La Herreria and Espinoso de Compludo in early November. Google Maps shows it to be 21 kms with lots of ups and downs. I realise it will be early winter so will check and double check with the locals. What do you think? Appreciate any advice. Jill
Hi, Jill,
I am very cartographically challenged, so it's not immediately clear to me how you will go from El Acebo to Molinaseca while going to La Herreria. I'm sure it can be done, but it would not be the way Reb and I walked, at least I don't think so. To go from El Acebo to Molinaseca, the most obvious way would be to go to Riego de Ambros (on the Frances) and then detour off onto the Puentes de Malpaso trail. There is a turnoff for Molinaseca further on. We left El Acebo and descended to the forge (La Herreria) and then continued to Penalba de Santiago, which I would highly recommend if you have the time. But what I don't know is how to get from that trail over to Molinaseca. I'm not sure I"m making sense, so I'll have to look at a map and see what you are planning to do. Buen Camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April/May 2015
Camino Portuegese April/May 2016
Norte and Primitiveo Sept/Oct 2017
#44
If you are on the camino Frances now and looking for a break from the crowds, may I suggest a two day walk from El Acebo to Ponferrada or a three day circle from Ponferrada. It is mountain walking in all its glory and has many Roman, visigothic, Mozarabic, and Romanesque highlights. I will elaborate with lots of details upon my return home but just want to say that the Camino doesn't get more spectacular than this. If you're in the vicinity and interested, let me know. It goes through the Valle del Silencio and gives you many opportunities to shout for joy at the amazing beauty all around you. The trails are extremely well marked despite what many if the "locals" say. View attachment 11340 View attachment 11341 View attachment 11342 And if you are lucky enough to walk with Reb you will savor every moment even more.
Wow! I leave from the States on Monday to Madrid. Apologies for the question in advance but where is this on the Frances?
 
#45
Hi Justabob,
The route is located between El Acebo and Ponferrada. Both of these towns are on the Frances. Rebekah and I walked a three day circle from Ponferrada, but you could just as easily walk two days if you don't have time for a circle -- from El Acebo to Penalba de Santiago, and then day 2 Penalba to Ponferrada. But that means you would miss the Puentes de Malpaso trail, a lovely green mountain path that goes from either Ponferrada or Molinaseca up to Riego de Ambros and on to El Acebo.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#46
[
QUOTE="peregrina2000, post: 291430, member: 537"]Hi Justabob,
The route is located between El Acebo and Ponferrada. Both of these towns are on the Frances. Rebekah and I walked a three day circle from Ponferrada, but you could just as easily walk two days if you don't have time for a circle -- from El Acebo to Penalba de Santiago, and then day 2 Penalba to Ponferrada. But that means you would miss the Puentes de Malpaso trail, a lovely green mountain path that goes from either Ponferrada or Molinaseca up to Riego de Ambros and on to El Acebo.[/QUOTE]

Laurie, I obviously still have only the faintest idea as to where you and Rebekah walked. I still want to try to follow your route, but I should probably have a lot more information before I try it. I believe that you said at one point that you will be giving more information on your route later in the year. I also need a good map. (I have no idea where to acquire maps of Spain). I can see that I have some work to do before I go off the trail, especially as some of you may have have seen the thread where I confessed to having no sense of direction.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April/May 2015
Camino Portuegese April/May 2016
Norte and Primitiveo Sept/Oct 2017
#47
Hi Justabob,
The route is located between El Acebo and Ponferrada. Both of these towns are on the Frances. Rebekah and I walked a three day circle from Ponferrada, but you could just as easily walk two days if you don't have time for a circle -- from El Acebo to Penalba de Santiago, and then day 2 Penalba to Ponferrada. But that means you would miss the Puentes de Malpaso trail, a lovely green mountain path that goes from either Ponferrada or Molinaseca up to Riego de Ambros and on to El Acebo.
Thanks so much...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#48
Hi, Jill,
I am very cartographically challenged, so it's not immediately clear to me how you will go from El Acebo to Molinaseca while going to La Herreria.
Go to google maps https://maps.google.com/ and enter direction from El Acebo de San Miguel, Spain to Molinaseca, León, Spain. Select the Walk option, zoom in until you see Espinoso de Compludo to the south, and drag the route down to it. You should then see the route of 21,4 kms marked out along country roads. Jill
 
#50
This circle route intrigues me ... safe for a lone walker in your opinion??
Hi, ShellsG,
Yes, I think it is totally safe. I did walk this route with Rebekah, so I wasn't alone, but I have walked many caminos totally alone and this one would have been fine, too. You can see the gps tracks on my wikilocs page (my name is peregrina2000) in case you have a gps.

It is one of the most beautiful three days I have walked on my 15 years of walking Caminos. Buen camino, Laurie
 

ShellsG

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept/Oct. 2015)
#51
Hi, ShellsG,
Yes, I think it is totally safe. I did walk this route with Rebekah, so I wasn't alone, but I have walked many caminos totally alone and this one would have been fine, too. You can see the gps tracks on my wikilocs page (my name is peregrina2000) in case you have a gps.

It is one of the most beautiful three days I have walked on my 15 years of walking Caminos. Buen camino, Laurie
I don't and won't have a GPS but am doing to copy and print the instructions you gave .... I have been looking for suggestions on side trips, this is perfect and perhaps I will meet someone who is also interested .. or not.
 
#52
I don't and won't have a GPS but am doing to copy and print the instructions you gave .... I have been looking for suggestions on side trips, this is perfect and perhaps I will meet someone who is also interested .. or not.
Reb and I have a written "guide" to this route, there is a link to it in post #33 in this thread. If you can't find it, let me know. Buen camino, Laurie
 
#53
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#54
Ok, if these pictures don't make you want to walk this little circle, you are a bad judge of beauty. :)
El Acebo - Peñalba de Santiago - As Médulas (and from there carry on on the Camino de Invierno
Wow, wow, wow. Thank you both, Laurie and Reb!!
OK, so this is definitely going on my list...
Laurie, how did the mountains compare to the ones on the San Salvador? (In terms of beauty, I mean, not difficulty...)
 
#55
The Salvador mountains, I think, must be at a higher elevation. But both have a lot of walking through green meadows (think from after the Pajares pass to the town of Pajares) and both have those stretches when you can see nothing but natural beauty all around you. Maybe more flowers and gorse on the Salvador mountain part, while as the top picture shows, these are mostly green. I could not pick one over the other no matter how hard I tried, however.
 

Rcowbury

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - Sept/Oct 2016
#57
Just completed the 2 days of this route from Acebo to Ponferrada, and can confirm there are no piles of bleached bones but some of the best walking in my life (not just my Camino). Thanks guys for the excellent guide!

I used the additional description of the route from http://www.pilipalapress.com/cordillera.php and although they describe a more simple (i.e. less exciting) route it was a useful comparison to have.

I also foolishly ignored warnings to call ahead and arrange accommodation in Peñalba. As a result I ended up sleeping on a balcony, which was atmospheric but very cold! It being Monday & Tuesday in October, basically nothing was open anywhere, so be prepared.

Also worth emphasising that the section between Peñalba & Montes is particularly challenging (up and down), but so worth it.

I uploaded photos to facebook, and think this link will work if that will help anyone with the decision to make the trip... https://m.facebook.com/robbie.cowbury/albums/10101730878977062/?ref=bookmarks
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#58
I'm bookmarking this. More to dream about for next year!
Just completed the 2 days of this route from Acebo to Ponferrada, and can confirm there are no piles of bleached bones but some of the best walking in my life (not just my Camino). Thanks guys for the excellent guide!

I used the additional description of the route from http://www.pilipalapress.com/cordillera.php and although they describe a more simple (i.e. less exciting) route it was a useful comparison to have.

I also foolishly ignored warnings to call ahead and arrange accommodation in Peñalba. As a result I ended up sleeping on a balcony, which was atmospheric but very cold! It being Monday & Tuesday in October, basically nothing was open anywhere, so be prepared.

Also worth emphasising that the section between Peñalba & Montes is particularly challenging (up and down), but so worth it.

I uploaded photos to facebook, and think this link will work if that will help anyone with the decision to make the trip... https://m.facebook.com/robbie.cowbury/albums/10101730878977062/?ref=bookmarks
 
#59
So glad to see that we've enticed at least one other peregrino! Good update and a heads up on making a reservation in Peñalba. Did you get into the church and/or the monastery in Montes? We were there in summer so I'm not sure about fall hours of operation for these places. Thanks for reporting back. Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
#63
Lots of big fires here - some started deliberately - over the last couple of weeks, unfortunately.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2015)
Camino Frances (2016-2018)
A complicated Camino from Madrid (Aug/Sep 18)
#64
Well this is making my decision making very difficult for my little trip in August.
1. Camino Madrid, CF to Leon, Salvador,
.....or.....
2. Camino Madrid, CF to Ponferrada, this little beauty, Invierno

Completely undecided and in 2 minds. So many recommendations for all. Love mountains so anything up and downy is just fine with me. The less flat the better :)
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
#65
Rich tough decision. You will know once you get seasoned in spain. Follow your ❤.
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
#67
Very tough
Just had another idea....start in Leon, Salvador, Primitivo, back track to Ponferrada, this little circuit, then Invierno!!!
Good idea
 
#68
I just saw that an American non-profit has donated 100,000€ to restore the paintings in the church in Peñalba de Santiago, the town where we spent night number 2 on this gorgeous circular walk from Ponferrada. https://www.infobierzo.com/un-mecen...uras-califales-de-santiago-de-penalba/398163/

I hope to return next year, but just saw that the Albergue Masera appears to be closed, and if that's true, I'm not sure there is anywhere to sleep in Peñalba. Does anyone have any recent info?

And if you are on the Camino Francés now with some extra days, check out this gorgeous walk!

Another option, which I hope to walk next year would be to walk from Peñalba de Santiago to As Médulas, instead of back to Ponferrada, which would get you on the Invierno.
 

CaroleH

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2006, Portugues 2007;Madrid 2009, Finisterre 2009; Sur and VdlP 2011,2013; Manchego and Madrid 2014; VdlP (parts) 2016; Hospitalero plan 2017.
#69
Oh my, I've just whiled away a couple of hours with you guys on this stream and just when I was thinking I might have finished with Spain and caminos, I find myself dreaming again...
Well, having done the magical Invierno last month, in June, a few weeks ago really, might also have contributed to renewed enthusiasm. I'd be happy to do it again tomorrow.

So, Rich1, I like the sound of your options, especially 2 and 3, thank you. Which route did you end up doing?

I love your photos of the 3 day circle from Ponferrada, Laurie and Reb. I loved the Invierno, and especially the mountain area around Ponferrada which is so beautiful, with fascinating villages, so very happy to explore more. Pity about Albergue Masera, but perhaps some other option has opened..
Buen camino. Carole
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#70

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