What to know to visit the Source of the Cuervo River

The Source of the Cuervo River is located in the extreme north-west of the province of Cuenca, on the Muela de San Felipe (Saint Philip Butte), in the municipality of Vega del Codorno, in the middle of Serranía de Cuenca and within Serranía de Cuenca Natural Park. It was declared a Natural Monument in 1999, occupying an area of 1709 hectares.

It is a travertine spring of great beauty, which rises at an altitude of 1470 meters above sea level, where the water gushes out and runs down enormous stalactites of calcareous rock covered with moss, forming long streams that freeze in winter and offering a beautiful picture.

At the Source of the Cuervo River, the water, the vegetation, the rocks, the fauna, all this is combined in a rich, exuberant and full of life ecosystem that will awaken all the senses.

Characteristics of the Source of the Cuervo River

The Source of the Cuervo River is located on the Muela de San Felipe. This contemplates a great plain formed by calcareous materials from the Upper Cretaceous and comprises the place where the highest rainfall is recorded in the province of Cuenca.

Here, the water is filtered, circulated and distributed through the different cavities and galleries of the rock until it reaches various springs, of which the Source of the Cuervo River is the most important. The water is loaded with carbonates in this underground circulation and, when it rises to the outside, it deposits them, giving rise in some cases to formations as spectacular as the Cascadas del Cuervo (Raven Waterfalls).

The entire Muela de San Felipe presents a colorful karst landscape, very well developed, with a good representation of limestone pavement, sinkholes, enchanted cities and chasms, the result of the dynamics of water infiltration in the limestone rock.

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Fauna and flora of the Source of the Cuervo River

The high altitude and abundance of rainfall give rise to the presence of species of fauna and flora that do not exist in other parts of Castilla-La Mancha.

On the way to the Source of the Cuervo River itself, you will be able to contemplate an important number of bird species such as the hawk, the goshawk, the short-toed eagle, the gray wagtail, the water blackbird, etc. You will also be able to appreciate numerous mammals such as the red squirrel, the goat moss and the wild cat, among others. Meanwhile, species such as trout, dragonflies, mollusks, etc. coexist in the waters of the Cuervo River.

Regarding the flora, in the Source of the Cuevo River the pine forests of Scots pine and black pine stand out, together with creeping juniper in the most exposed areas, as well as important forests of holly, linden, black maples and hazelnuts. There are also communities of rock plants, peat bogs and wet meadows. In all this we must highlight the presence of an important community of orchids, present here with at least 19 species.

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What to do at the Source of the Cuervo River

At the Source of the Cuervo River you will be able to see caves behind the waterfalls and chasms in its surroundings and it is relatively frequent that collapses of its tufa barriers occur naturally.

In the surroundings of the Source of the Cuervo River there are remarkable areas with elements of great relevance and beauty, such as the Rincón del Cuervo (Raven Hideout).

During your visit to the Source of the Cuervo River you can do three different hiking routes, each with a different charm.

One of these routes is known as the Nacimiento del Río Cuervo Trail, a 1.5 km circular path that allows you to visit the waterfalls and the Source of the Cuervo River. In addition, the route to the waterfalls is accessible for people with reduced mobility.

Another route is the Turbera Trail, which begins about 150 meters before the Source of the Cuervo River and runs for 1.5 km through a calcareous peat bog and ending at the car park, the starting point of the different trails.

Finally, the last route is the longest and is accessed from the Turbera Trail. It is the Pinar Trail and it is 11 km long. This path will allow you to take a tour through the Scots pine forest, enjoy wonderful panoramic views and contemplate the Rincón del Cuervo from a spectacular viewpoint.

In addition to these routes, there is a network of trails in Serranía de Cuenca Natural Park around the Source of the Cuervo River, which contains eleven marked routes with different levels of difficulty.

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Tips for visiting the Source of the Cuervo River

Before visiting the Source of the Cuervo River, it is recommended that you visit the Interpretation Centre of the Source of the Cuervo River "Casa de la Herrería", located in Vega del Codorno town. Here you can gather information about this wonderful place, as well as the schedules of the guided tours.

When planning a getaway to the Source of the Cuervo River, any time of the year is good to visit. In winter it appears snowy and with long ice suckers, in spring with abundance of water and the greenery of the vegetation, in autumn it presents a surprising range of colors contributed by the fall of the leaf, and in summer all the shades of gray of the bare and dry tuff rock in contrast to the river water.

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