The defile of The Xanas

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The defile of the Xanas is similar to the well-known route of “El Cares”. This new route is shorter than that of Cares, but it is also one of the most appreciated jewels of the Asturian landscape.

Despite the fact that this new one is not so well known, it is without doubt a route with a great variety of ecosystems, and this as a difference to that route of Cares, does not require special good physical conditions.

Photo by Camilo Alonso.

Around two or three hours will be enough to complete and cross this natural gorge, the defile of The Xanas.

We may cross this defile slowly, crossing some steep areas of a path which is drawn over 80 meters above the river Viescas or also called the river of the Xanas. This landscape is characterised by a rocky profile with tunnels, bridges and natural springs. The second stage of this route will be done through a deep forest.

This natural path was carved through the rocks in the 1050’s with the intention to link the towns belonging to these three following town councils: Santo Adriano, Quirós and Proaza. Although this rocky path was never finished, it is ideal for those walking lovers.

This defile is two kilometers long and counts with vertical pillars of 500 meters of height. This is the result of the patient excavation of the mountain by the river Viescas. In its descend it converges with the river Trubia.

The name of this defile pays homage to ancient asturian mythology. The “Xana” is the name given to the asturian fairy, per excellence. It is thought that this fairy has always been living in the caves of rivers and also in the fountains. This mythical character takes here special relevance because the water in this route is the queen and lady of this natural landscape.

Many stages of this route are very suitable to practise the canyoning. After one hour from the beginning of our route, we can take a diversion and descend to the stream. Then we will put on a neoprene suit and start a new adventure: three or four hours will be needed to practise an extreme sport through natural slides and amazing jumps of water.

Near this route you may also enjoy doing the “Bear Route”, it is the ideal route for walking lovers and cyclists, it is a 22 kilometers long road that starts in Tuñón and ends in the locality of Entrago.

Texto: © Ramón Molleda para

Information of interest


We have to get closer to Villanueva, the capital of the council of Santo Adriano. We can do it by the N-634 road from Oviedo, Grado direction, or the A-66 from Oviedo. Both the National Highway as we reached Trubia. There connect with the AS-228 that leads to Villanueva.

Shortly before this town, to our left, there is a recreation area where we can leave the car. Here there is clear signage trailhead. Shortly after starting cross a scree, we leave behind us Proaza Valley and the mountains that separate Teverga de Quirós.
Continue to climb and entered the gorge. We crossed several tunnels in the most abrupt of the way. Shortly after, we went through a beech forest to cross the river Viescas by a wooden bridge.

After a slight climb a steep meadow, we reached the village of Pedroveya, the end of our journey where, among other things, we can admire a centennial Tejo.
The return we will do the same itinerary.