OverviewPeñalara is the highest mountain in Sierra de Guadarrama, placed in Sistema Central between two provinces, Madrid and Segovia. IGN (Instituto Geográfico Nacional) and Alpina 1:25.000 show 2.429 m. IGN 1:50.000 shows 2.428 m but a drawing on the survey point shows 2.430 m as the elevation. A lot of people climb Peñalara on weekends because of the nearness of Madrid, but only a few people ascend this mountain on working days.
Sierra de Guadarrama is a range of rounded mountains with alpin style only in some points. At Peñalara these are on NW and SE-NE faces. Below them Circo de Peñalara includes Laguna Grande as a glacial lake, but it isn't alone because other little lakes are located in the east (Cinco Lagunas) and north east (Laguna de los Pájaros) sides. On 1929 these spots were named Sitios de Interés Nacional but just on 1990 was declared Natural Park. Nowadays its surface is 768 Ha / 1,897 acres. As a result, on 2002 normal route (F) starts on Puerto de Cotos (1.830 m) and goes first across a pine wood to avoid walking on the Valcotos ski-runs once existed here, and now replan with firs. This direct route can be soften walking along a forest trail, which crosses normal route closely of the place where previously was the ski-resort altitude snack bar. Note that some maps mark 1.848 m as Puerto de Cotos elevation, but recent self-measurings indicate 1.830 m (IGN 1:50.000) as a more accurate height. Even there is a placard on a house of Puerto de Cotos wich shows 1.830 m.
The first ever climb was by the naturalist Félix Gila and 5 mates on 13 August 1890.
Getting ThereFrom Puerto de Cotos go north along a little road to the Natural Park Checkpoint and Info Center (Casa Los Cotos). Both trails I've mentioned in the Overview section start on those building sides.
The nearest International Airport is Barajas in Madrid (82 Km).
From Madrid and east Península take M-607 passing Navacerrada village, M-601 to Puerto de Navacerrada (1.860 m) and then M-604 to Puerto de Cotos (67 Km). Or take (also from S and W Península) A-6 to Collado Villalba and M-601 as the preceding route (69 Km).
From Segovia take C-601 to Puerto de Navacerrada and M-604 to Puerto de Cotos (35 Km).
From north Península take A-1, after Buitrago de Lozoya (Madrid) turn right, M-604 to Puerto de Cotos.
Go from Madrid to Cercedilla and then take the old tramway (1923) passing Puerto de Navacerrada to Puerto de Cotos. The track is the most incline all over Spain and the second higher.
First you have to go to any of the train stations in Madrid. All of them have connection with the subway, Atocha and Chamartín are both main stations. Take the train on line C-8b of RENFE Cercanías (tel: 91 328 90 20), this is the timetable on weekends and holidays:
Madrid Atocha - Cercedilla 7:03 ; 8:03 ; 8:48 ; 9:03 ; 10:03 ; 11:03 ; 12:03 ; 13:03 ; 14:03 ; 15:03 ; 16:02 (only from Chamartín) ; 16:03 ; 17:03 ; 18:03 ; 19:03 ; 20:03 ; 21:03 ; 22:03 ; 23:03
Cercedilla - Madrid Atocha 6: 37 ; 7:37 ; 8:37 ; 9:37 ; 10:37 ; 10:52 (only to Villalba) ; 11:37 ; 12:37 ; 13:37 ; 14:37 ; 15:37 ; 16:37 ; 17:37 ; 17:52 ; 18:37 ; 19:37 ; 20:37 ; 21:37 ; 22:37
Finally take the tramway at Cercedilla (line C-9) to Cotos, this is timetable for Sundays and holidays:
Cercedilla - Cotos 9:35 ; 10:35 ; 11:35 ; 12:35 ; 13:35 ; 15:35 ; 16:35 ; 16:35 ; 17:35 ; 18:35
Cotos - Cercedilla 11:00 ; 12:00 ; 13:00 ; 14:00 ; 16:00 ; 17:00 ; 18:00 ; 19:00 ; 20:00
For more information see the External Links below in the page.
Travel on line 691 (Madrid-Becerril de la Sierra-Navacerrada-Cotos-Valdesquí ski resort) of Larrea (tel: 91 530 48 00). They part from Moncloa station (with subway), this is the timetable :
Madrid - Cotos
Labour days 9:30 (also to Valdesquí ski resort) ; 11:00 ; 12:00 ; 13:00 ; 14:00 ; 15:00 ; 15:30 ; 16:00 ; 17:00 ; 18:00 ; 19:00 ; 20:00 ; 21:00 ; 22:00. Labour Saturdays: 8:00 and 9:30 (also to Valdesquí) ; 13:00 ; 15:30 ; 18:00 ; 19:00 ; 20:00. Sundays and holidays 8:00 and 9:30 (also to Valdesquí); 13:30 ; 17:00 ; 19:00 ; 22:00
Cotos - Madrid
Labour days 6:30 ; 7:00 ; 7:25 ; 8:00 ; 9:00 ; 9:30 ; 10:30 ; 12:00 ; 13:00 ; 14:00 ; 15:00 ; 16:00 ; 16:30 (from Valdesquí) ; 17:00 ; 18:00 ; 19:00 ; 20:00. Labour Saturdays 8:00 ; 10:00 ; 14:00 ; 16:00 ; 17:00 (from Valdesquí) ; 17:30 ; 19:00 ; 20:30. Sundays and holidays 10:00 ; 14:00 ; 15:45 ; 16:00 ; 17:00 (from Valdesquí) ; 17:30 ; 19:00 ; 21:00
Red TapeNo permits or summit fees are required to climb Peñalara but there are some rules for wildlife conservation you must observe due to Peñalara is inside a Natural Park. Just get informed in Casa Los Cotos.
In 2000 was decided that wildlife, plants and environment had to be protected. Laguna Grande and other lakes tended to be dirty because urban people didn't respect the habitual rules in wild areas. As a result many amphibious (with Valle del Paular is one of the higher concentrations in Europe), like some little species of frogs, and reptiles like viper were in extinction threat. 90% of rock-climbing pitches were dismantled, leaving only Pared de la Teresa as a climbing spot. Recently (in 2001) lots of pitches has been re-equiped in other spots. Also there were 3 ski resorts on the area and another near. Valcotos was one of the smaller resorts, so Comunidad de Madrid decided to buy it (520 million pesetas) to the owners and create El Parque Natural de Peñalara. Estimate for restoration is about 1.000 million pesetas ( = 6.01 million euros). I think this fact set an example of wild areas management in Spain, even though I was one of the skiers that went there.
Historia de la estación de esquí de Valcotos.
A free restored parking is situated on the East side of Puerto de Cotos. It is divided in two parts separated by a stream to preserve amphibious. Also at Cobertizo del Depósito, near Mirador (viewpoint) de la Gitana (Lagunas de Peñalara Descent Route), is placed an amphibious preservation area with species like Sapo Corredor (Bufo calamita) and Sapillo Pintojo Ibérico (Discoglossus galganoi).
Presentación del Parque Nacional.
Propuesta de Parque Nacional.
Espacio Natural Sierra de Guadarrama's PORN (law).
Aplazada la aprobación del Parque Nacional de la Sierra de Guadarrama.
El Congreso aprueba el Parque Nacional de la Sierra de Guadarrama
And finally: Guadarrama, al fin Parque Nacional
CampingCamping is forbidden in Peñalara Natural Park and all over Madrid province. The huts like Refugio de Zabala or Refugio El Pingarrón are closed due to the vandalism caused by the urban people that don't respect the wilderness. All the mountain routes can be attempted in a day but, if you want to spend the night in the area, best way is bivouacing (only 1 night permited over 2.100 m) out of winter months.
See more information about lodging in the External Links section, below in the page.
When To ClimbYou could climb Peñalara at any time of the year but the winter months are the worst because of the fog and snowstorms. They can confound you, at least on the summit area and Dos Hermanas and force you not to find the trail. In this case always descent to the valley, Rascafría (NE) and La Granja (NW) could be the reference towns. In Winter, temperatures of -10 ºC and below are usual on the Peñalara area.
Complete weather conditions just above Puerto de Cotos (1830 m).
AEMET weather forecast for Sierra de Guadarrama and Somosierra.
Get informed of winter road conditions in pages 601 and 611 of
Webcam installed on Puerto de Cotos wich points at Cabezas de Hierro. Includes current temperature.
2000ers in Sierra de GuadarramaThe heights are those of the Spanish IGN 1:25.000 maps except the peaks without any reference of them, on these cases I've put the elevations that the Spanish IGN 1.50.000 maps show.
|02||Risco de los Claveles*||2387|
|03||Cabeza de Hierro Mayor||2381|
|04||Cabeza de Hierro Menor||2376|
|05||Dos Hermanas Mayor||2285|
|07||Dos Hermanas Menor||2268|
|08||Risco de los Pájaros||2266|
|09||Bola del Mundo||2255|
|11||Asómate de Hoyos||2242|
|17||Alto del Parrinoso||2174|
|18||Alto del Puerto||2164|
|20||Montón de Trigo||2155|
|28||Peña del Buitre||2106|
|37||Peña del Aguila||2012|
|38||Pico de Pasapán||2003|
|39||Peñas de la Majada||2001|
|*Could be a subsidiary summit of Peñalara|
Numbers 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 24, 26 are the mountains wich forms Cuerda Larga, one of the most classic and hard traverses in Sierra de Guadarrama.
I've climbed the majority of those summits, many of them can be attempted in a whole day.
External LinksWeb of the suburban trains of this Spanish railway company. Timetables and prices. Only in Spanish.
Special section of renfe.es where there is a route to climb Peñalara from Puerto de Cotos and descending on the Lagunas de Peñalara route. Only in Spanish.
Web of this Club Alpino Español mountain shelter situated on Puerto de Cotos.
Web of Desnivel (Spanish publishing company of mountain books) climbing section. You can find all about climbing in Peñalara (Puerto de Cotos). In English.
Site of the North Madrid province municipalities, Peñalara is in Alto Lozoya/Rascafría. In sierranorte.com you can find information about: roads, lodgings, restaurants, bars, and pubs in towns, shopping and a mountain bike route in Valle del Alto Lozoya. Interest devolves upon the Puerto de Cotos webcam (¡En Directo!) showing Cabezas de Hierro.
El Chorro is one of the highest cascades in Sistema Central and is located near Navafría (Segovia). This site offers information about the recreational area established there. Contains hiking routes. Only in Spanish
Rock and Ice climbing school. Mountain Guiding. English speaked.
Summit Log (Peñalara) from La Granja de San Ildefonso. I spent the night in "Laguna de los pájaros" and came to La Granja the next day. (In spanish)
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