Asturias always manages to surprise me, there are so many jewels that this community hides that I never tire of visiting it over and over again. Sea, mountains, routes, idyllic landscapes, wild nature, enviable gastronomy… what more could you ask for when all you want is to enjoy the surroundings in a healthy and pleasant way, feel at home and enjoy absolutely magical roads and trails. Welcome to the Bear´s Trail, a cycling route that will make you enjoy the surroundings of this natural paradise.
Text & riding: David Cachon
Photography: David Ponce
Asturias in its purest form
The Bear´s Trail is an old mining train track, converted into a Greenway that can be done on foot or by bicycle. Currently, the Ruta del Oso is one of the most visited places in Asturias by couples, groups of friends and, of course, families with children. In other words, there are thousands of people who come every year to enjoy it. But why? What makes Senda del Oso so special?
First, the Bear´s Trail is Asturias in its purest form and a route suitable for all audiences. In addition, it is located in a spectacular enclave. Along the route you will cross bridges, tunnels and gorges.
Second, is a linear route. However, you can adapt the length to your needs: from a simple 2h route to a more sporty day of longer duration and length.
Third, along the Bear´s Trail you will pass through different towns where you will find cafes, bars and restaurants. Likewise, if you like the picnic plan, you will also find the possibility of stopping at one of the picnic areas on the Bear´s Trail.
The Bear´s Trail, cycling in Asturias
The “Senda del Oso” is an ideal route for lovers of cycling. Its great natural and ethnographic wealth advances through tunnels and bridges that give a touch of adventure to the walk. The 22-kilometre section that goes from Tuñón to Entrago always runs on paved terrain, with a protective fence, frequent sources for supplies and informative signs about flora and fauna, monuments in the area, alternative routes or advice.
Eleven bridges have been rehabilitated that cross the Trubia, Picarós, Teverga and Llanuces rivers. Thanks to them we went from shore to shore. We will also go through numerous tunnels through which the train used to circulate. Some of them, with more than one hundred meters in length, are provided with light.
The path, which runs along the bottom of the valley next to the river, between slopes of limestone and quartzite rock and vegetation made up of riverside forest, carbayeras and chestnut patches. If we travel the Senda del Oso by bicycle and given the slight difference in level between the start and end points (145 m. and 450 m.) it becomes a pleasant ride, affordable for cyclists of any level. Total time spent on the route, in both directions, will be about 3 hours.
The itinerary is shaped like a Greek “y”. It begins in Tuñón, municipality of Santo Adriano, passing through Villanueva -shortly we will see the Cercado de los Osos and the Buyera recreational area with ample parking, sports facilities, cafeteria, tables and benches to enjoy food-, we continue towards Proaza , and a few kilometers away is the fork. If we turn left we go towards Barzana, passing through Caranga and the Valdemurio reservoir; if we turn to the right we go towards Entrago.
Tunón – Proaza: 6 kms.
Proaza – Valdemurio: 8 kms.
Proaza – Entrago: 14 kms.
Here you have all the information about the route, slopes, advice, etc… Turismo Asturias
Asturias the home of the brown bear
The best way to get to the brown bear is through the busiest greenway in Asturias. The path that bears his name comes from the mining past of this area. In the middle of the 19th century, the railway was built to transport coal from Proaza and Teverga to Trubia. A century later the road was abandoned. Currently, without rails or trains, it transports sensations, sport and nature.
There are more incentives to bet on this path, such as recreational areas: a stop along the way to eat something. But perhaps the greatest attraction of this excursion, at least for the youngest, is being able to closely contemplate two Asturian bears: “Paca” and “Moli”, who spend the day from one side to the other, inside a fenced mount next to the path. The first has lived here since 1996. And the second arrived at the facilities in 2018, after Tola’s death. The decision has the support of experts and biologists from the Doñana Biological Station, who believe that the two bears living in semi-freedom will be better together because they will be able to interact with each other.
When to travel to The Bear´s Trail
The best times of the year to travel to Senda del Oso are spring, summer and autumn.
When spring arrives, the greenery of Asturias surrounds the route, creating a spectacular setting.
In summer we enjoy the pleasant temperatures. Even the bravest dare to take a dip in the river (the low water is cool). During autumn, incredible ocher colors give life to the trees to gradually give way to winter. Each season is different, but they all have something magical.
Where to eat in The Bear´s Trail
The options to eat in “Senda del Oso” are the following:
Snack: Along the route you will find benches, recreational areas and picnic areas where you can stop to eat a sandwich. In summer, many people take advantage of the shadows on the banks of the river that run parallel to the route all the time to eat there and cool off.
Restaurants: There are numerous restaurants in the valley. If you start the route early, you will almost certainly finish the excursion before eating, so you can choose whether to eat in a restaurant in the lower part of the route (Proaza) or in the upper part (Teverga). On the other hand, if you start the route at mid-morning, the most common thing is to eat in the Proaza area. And what to do with the bikes while eating in a restaurant? Don’t worry, Proaza restaurants are very used to having their customers arrive by bike. Some even have bike parking.
Bear´s Trail and its accommodations
There are numerous tourist accommodations in the area. From rural houses and apartments to hotels with exclusive services for cyclists, spas, massages, bike parking, laundry, gym, swimming pool…
My experience at Hotel Las Caldas Spa & Sport
In my case, I was very lucky to stay at Hotel Las Caldas, the perfect starting point to live countless experiences in the middle of nature while also spending a few spa and sports moments for your personal well-being. Located very close to Oviedo and the beginning of the Bear´s Trail.
It is a hotel with modern facilities that forms part of the Las Caldas Villa Termal by blau hotels complex, one of the best sports, active tourism and spa resorts in all of Spain, which was inaugurated in 2011. Its Wellness & Beauty Area is the the perfect place to recover energy with treatments designed for you, while at the Aquaxana Ecothermal Center you will surrender to the pleasure of relaxation in a space of water, light and sound equipped with bubble beds, active pools, warm loungers, panoramic sauna, bath turkish… that can be enjoyed day and night.
Its history makes it a place of maximum attraction. It was created in 1776, famous for the mineral-medicinal natural hot springs that flow from its spring, which have given the complex its name, and which enjoy immemorial fame in gratitude for its benefits.
40,000 m2 designed for the total comfort of its guests, an idyllic space in which to relax and practice sports in an aura of absolute well-being. A hotel in which its complete facilities, its spectacular natural environment, its complete service and its variety of wellness and health treatments make it a unique place, perfect for cultivating body and mind.
The Sports Center of Las Caldas by blau hotels is truly a jewel for sports lovers: 400 m² of state-of-the-art spaces with 4 different areas (Cardiovascular, Bodybuilding and toning, Proprioception and Flexibility).
Its restaurants are a delight for the palate, I recommend you take your time, relax and rest after your bike sessions.
From the hotel you can take all kinds of running routes through the beautiful surroundings that you will find, as well as enjoy the 25 road cycling and mountain bike routes.
The Bear´s Trail with motorhome
If you come to the Bear´s Trail with a motorhome, you can spend the night at various points. They are car parks or overnight areas, not campsites, so it is very important to comply with the regulations for the use of motorhomes.
In the Bear´s Trail, there are several areas to spend the night with motorhomes.
- Entrago Area: Located right at the beginning of the Bear´s Trail, it has toilets and showers.
- La Plaza area: Located between San Martín and La Plaza, it is 1 km from Entrago, it does not have bathrooms but it does have a water emptying and filling service. At 500 meters from the area there are cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and banks.
- Parking Tuñón: The public parking in Tuñón is located in the lower area of the Bear´s Trail. This is not an area as such, but you can park without problems.
- Buyera Recreational Area Parking: Parking located 600 meters from the Bears enclosure. It is not an area, but you can park.
What to see near The Bear´s Trail?
These with some of the activities, routes and museums that can be visited near the Bear´s Trail:
- Route of Las Xanas
- Teverga Prehistory Park. Visit website.
- Bandujo medieval town.
- Quirós Ethnographic Museum. More info here.
- Somiedo Lakes.
- Port of Marabío.
- Montegrande Beech Forest and Xiblu Waterfall.
- Corroriu mills.
- Teixo de Bermiego.
- Collegiate Church of San Pedro and Teverga mummies.
- Hermitage of Alba (Quirós)
- Sanctuary of the Cébrano (Carrea)
The 3 secrets of the Bear´s Trail
This beautiful path is a place that has become enormously popular in recent years due to the many possibilities that it offers to lovers of nature and outdoor activities. It is precisely for this reason that before an imminent visit to these beautiful lands Asturias, it is convenient to know what are the 3 secrets of the Senda del Oso.
What is the best time to see Paca y Tola?
Not all those who are going to visit the Bear´s Trail know that the best times to see these beautiful bears that were rescued when they were little from poachers are between 12:00-12:30 in the morning and 17:00- 5:30 p.m. in the afternoon, at which time they both go down to the feeder to taste the delicacies that their keepers have served them. Do not stay without seeing the protagonists of this path.
What is the location of the bear enclosure?
Many visitors often have doubts about the exact location of the bears along the route. The bear enclosure is located approximately 1 km from Proaza, in a northerly direction. Or what is the same, the fence of the bears is located about 10 minutes walk from the town of Proaza itself.
Shall I take my swimsuit?
One of the secrets of the Bear´s Trail that few visitors know is that if they wear a swimsuit they can take a good dip in the Valdemurio reservoir. In addition, at the end of the route (starting from Teverga, since the path is downhill), you can also find a leisure area with a swimming pool.