OverviewHoces (plural) or hoz (singular) is a common term in Spain to talk about canyons, although there more words to define it, terms as garganta, barranco, desfiladero or cañón.
One good example of these canyons is one situated only 30 Km from Leon city that has the name the main near village on its South: Hoces de Vegacervera.
The Hoces of Vegacervera (Vegacervera Canyon) it´s an outstanding example of the erosive processes perform by water on limestone in this area, that has other expresion in the Cueva de Valporquero (Valporquero Cave) only some Kms from the canyon.
Crossed by Torio river, the Hoces of Vegacervera with 1,5-2 Km long it´s situated between the village of Vegacervera on the South, and the Felmín on the North, and it´s defined by the high vertical walls on both sides of the river (the highest wall has around 500 m), with diferent different grades of difficulty for climbing.
In the climbers world, the Hoces of Vegacervera it´s one of their favourite corners, and you´ll often find climbers on its wall some hundred of metres over the road during good days of summer and spring and weekends most of the year. One of the most relevant magazines on Spain, Desnivel, has dedicated several articles to describe some ascension on the Hoces de Vegacervera walls.
The human component of the canyon it´s a road going on its right and left and some bridges. The reason of this road along this canyon was an old idea: it was planned for this road to be the main way between Asturias in the North and León and the rest lands on the South of Cordillera Cantábrica massif, So the road crossing the canyon was constructed. The rest of the plan was a road from the village of Piedrafita on León province and Casomera in Asturias, crossing the mountains through Puerto de Piedrafita mountain pass (1683 m). Finally the road from the village of Piedrafita to the col was constructed but the road wasn´t covered by asphalt, and the road from Asturias to the col was never stated, and today theres only a mountain trail along dark and wet asturian forests. The reason why was the election of Puerto de Pajares (N-630) to play this role of communicating Asturias with the rest of Spain. Nowadays Hoces de Vegacervera let comunications with villages along Torío valley.
The canyon it´s close related with the famous cave, the Cueva de Valporquero. The subterrain river that formed the main galleries of the cave (first level) and now goes over, on the second level (know as Curso de Aguas de Valporquero) finishes on the Torío river along the canyon. It´s possible to access the low part of Curso de Aguas through the cave some meters over the canyon, situated on the West (not far from Felmín), place what is considered the end of Curso de Aguas (accessing without permision it´s not allowed, and accessing without equipment could be a suicide).
Not far from there, there is a construction, in other times very important for the economy of the people of the villages around: El Calero de Felmín,
a big furnace where limestone where transform into lime, used for building.
The main peak around, it´s the famous Correcillas peak, situated on the East of the canyon and visible from Vegacervera. The typical access to the peak it´s from Rodillazo, a village 2-3 km from Felmín, but it´s possible to access the plateau of Valle del Marques, where the North face of Correcillas peak stands, throug a hard and long pass that starts on Hoces de Vegacervera, some meters on the North of El Calero, that has the name of Paso del Lobo (Wolf Pass).
Unfortunatelly, with Puerto de Piedrafita unconclused, you´ll need to drive some extra Kms.
Take N-630 through Puerto de Pajares. On Villamanín you can take LE-321 toward Cármenes. This will take you to the LE-311, then go to the South. Also you can continue along N-630 to La Vid, the take the road to Vegacervera.
If you want to use public transport there are coaches from Bus Stations in León City to Vegacervera and Felmín. You can information about timetable calling on the León Coach Station:
Estación de Autobuses de León
Av Ingeniero Saenz de Miera, s/n
+34 987 211 000
To drive ther just take LE-311 to the North.
Red TapeAs in other mountains in León province there´s nothing special to say about. No wild dangerous animals known.
PLEASE: Keep the environment clean.
CampingFree camping it´s not allowed in this area, but there is a camp site on Vegacervera where you can stand you tent. Here you have its web site: http://www.aytovegacervera.com/campingvegacervera.htm
My Suggestions** Take a MOBILE PHONE with you. You can use it most of the mountain areas. If you can phone try going up or changing your
position. I can remember my moibile ringing on the summit of Torre de Friero... I couldn´t believe it! Mobile is the best thing to make an emergency call.
Take note of this number: 987 718 004. It´s the number of G.R.E.I.M., Guardia Civil Mountain Rescue Team. They are really good proffessionals with lots of years of experience. If you have serious problems phone them: tell them who you are, how many people is in difficulties, try to tell them where you are, or at least a detailed description of the area.
* Don´t leave this region without tasting the delicious cecina de chivo of Vegacervera.
* Visit Valporquero cave.
Special InfoThe meaning in English of some Spanish words.
* Collado, collada: col, for instance "Collado de Gete"
* Pico: peak, for instance "Pico Fontún"
* Peña: peak (very tipical from León, Asturias, Santander), for instance "Peña Ten"
* Torre: peak (very tipical from León, Asturias, Santander), for instance "Torre del Friero"
* Cueto: peak, for instance "Cueto Millaró"
* Puerto: mountain pass, for instance "Puerto de Pajares"
* Cordillera: big group of mountains, for instance "Cordillera Cantábrica"
* Macizo: group of some mountains or peaks, massif, for instance "Macizo Central, Urrieles of Picos de Europa"
* Cumbre: summit
* Cima: summit
* Canal: corridor, for intance "La Canal de Dobresengos", note it´s in femenine
* Canaleta: narrow corridor
* Hoces: canyon made by a river, for instance "Hoces de Vegacervera", "Hoces de Valdejeja"
* Valle: valley, for intance "Valle de Valdeón"
* Río: river, for instance "Río Torío"
* Horcado: narrow col between two peak, normally difficult to cross, for intance "Horcado de Pambuches"
Another canyons in the area
Again, we have (only in Spanish) a great page of Cristino Torío with detailed descriptions of rock-climbing routes:
Another interesting page about canyons on León province: