Peña Labra from a spot slightly over Piedrasluengas mountain pass
When looked at from the Puerto (mountain pass) de Piedrasluengas, Peña Labra seems a small fortress with rocky walls, an apparently impossible feat for simple hikers. But it's not so... Peña Labra is in fact an easy summit that forms the westernmost end of the Massif of Alto Campoo. It's close to the Pico de Tres Mares, on the border between the spanish provinces of Santander (Cantabria) and Palencia, and offers an easy hike towards wonderful panoramas (provided you climb it in a really good weather). What about the bad news? Well, there are not many of those but getting to the base of the climb might prove to be a little tricky. Can't think of anything else... Keep on reading for more info
Getting ThereMAIN AIRPORTS:
Unluckily, Peña Labra tands quite a long way from the main spanish airports. If coming to Spain by plane, try flying to Santander or to the Asturias Airport. As far as I know, both have regular international flights (though mainly operated by low-cost companies). The airports at Valladolid or Bilbao might also be a helpful hint. If flying a regular airline, Barcelona or Madrid should be your choices and additional transport (either a connecting flight, train or road) will have to be considered.
This is the valley you will enjoy when driving from Potes to the Piedrasluengas trailheadROAD ACCESS:
As I said in the "Overview" section, the main trailhead for Peña Labra is the Puerto de Piedrasluengas, 1355 meters high and placed on road CL-627 between Potes (Cantabria) and Cervera de Pisuerga (Palencia). It's a 22 km drive from Potes and 29 km away from Cervera. But the question remains: how to get to any one of these villages?
Driving to Potes:
From Santander, take the highway to Torrelavega and turn right when you get to this town, in order to enter highway A-67 towards Oviedo. Keep going for 46 additional kilometers and leave the highway at exit 272 (signposted as "Unquera/Panes/Potes/Picos de Europa"). After you have another 40 km through the beautiful canyon of La Hermida before entering the valley of Liébana and reaching Potes. Road CL-627 to Piedrasluengas starts to your left, about 1 km before the village of Potes.
Driving to Cervera de Pisuerga:
Start driving north from Burgos, following road N-623 towards Santander. This road keeps going north-northwest for 59 km, up to the village of Aguilar de Campóo (quite well known in Spain because of its biscuit factories). At Aguilar you will have to enter the village and look for the signs to road P-212 (it might also be marked as "Embalse de Aguilar" or "Cervera de Pisuerga". Once you get out of Aguilar de Campóo via road P-212, it will be an additional 23 km drive to Cervera de Pisuerga. The first sights of the mountains of Palencia shall welcome you as you approach the village, Curavacas
being one of the first.
It goes by secondary roads, but you can also reach Piedrasluengas by leaving the Santander-Oviedo highway at exit 249 ("La Virgen/Comillas/Cabezón de la Sal/Valle de Cabuérniga"). Afterwards follow the signposts to Cabezón de la Sal, Cabuérniga, Puentenansa and Piedrasluengas.
For a start, I must say that I don't know about any bus lines getting you to the Piedrasluengas trailhead. Nevertheless, there is a bus company called Palomera
serving the route from Santander to Potes. Additional info on bus travel from Santander is found at the web site of the Santander Bus station
No need for permits or particular material when the mountain is not covered by snow. Though the climb is not particularly difficult, weather changes can be quite abrupt in the Cordillera Cantábrica. Bear this in mind if weather forecasts are not too good, always take warm and waterproof clothes with you, and be particularly careful after snowfalls: even the normal route is quite prone to avalanches!
I shall welcome any additional info by SP members, but up to my knowledge Peña Labra and the Puerto de Piedrasluengas are on the north border of the Reserva de Fuentes Carrionas, a protected area of the Cordillera Cantábrica. Special regulations could therefore be applied about camping on the south side of the mountain.
If you prefer to visit an organized (and paying!) camping site, there are a couple of them around Potes ("El Molino"
and "La Viorna"
) and some others in the valley of Liébana. The Camping Site "Fuentes Carrionas"
at Cervera de Pisuerga might be your choice if coming in from the south
External LinksNational Reserve of Fuentes Carrionas