Late autumn. The sun slowly sets behind the mountains as our 4×4 drives up the winding road. Inside the four-wheel drive the sound of excited kids voices overrules the noise of the wind. Every time the road takes a turn, the kids ask the same question. Are we there yet? Where? At mountain hut Branagallones, in biosphere reserve Redes in the heart of Asturias.
Mountain hut Branagallones
To be frank, some of our mountaineer friends would not call Branagallones a mountain hut, or refugio. They rather refer to it as a hotel, given the availability of warm water, a kitchen from where food is served and the presence of “private” rooms (meaning 9 rooms with 4, 5 or 6 beds each). However, this makes it a perfect destination for families or people who are not yet used to the basic standards of other huts in Asturias (or do not want to ;).
As soon as we arrive and have enjoyed the self-catering compartment of the refugio, we install ourselves in the common room. With the sound and warmth of an open fire in the background, we enjoy the couches, games and many books about biosphere reserve Redes.
Hiking routes starting from Branagallones
Various hiking routes start at the refugio. They offer the possibility to enjoy the nature and flora and fauna of biosphere reserve Redes, including brown bear (Ursus arctos), wild cat (Felis silvestris), chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica parva), Griffon Vulture (Gyps vulvus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus). We decide to do part of a route with the great name “Ruta del Cantu l’Osu“, or route of the bear song. It starts right behind the hut. Whereas the total distance is 11 km, we decide only to do the first part until the Cave of Valdebezon given that the kids also need to enjoy the hike. It is a beautiful walk along pastures and crossing small brooks over tiny wooden bridges. After a short break at the cave we walk the same way back.
Walking back to the nearest village
After a well-deserved lunch and rest, there are two options to go back to the nearest village. The first is to take the 4×4 back again. The access to the mountain hut is limited to authorized cars only. There are a few companies offering this exciting taxi service. By car it would take us about 30 minutes to go down from Branagallones at 1250 m to Bezanes at 650 m altitude. However, we take the second option, which is to walk back (about 11 kilometers). Even though we follow the same road as the cars, it is a fun walk down with beautiful views on the surroundings mountains. We arrive in Bezanes village just before sunset. Even though we only stayed one night in the hut and park, it feels like a mini-holiday. We have also seen that there are much more possibilities for routes, so we’ll be back!
Impression of mountain hut Branagallones in biosphere reserve Redes
Want to get an impression of mountain hut Branagallones and its surroundings? Watch this video and I am sure you are eager to visit!
A big thanks to Asturias-based author and illustrator Kelly Crull (kellycrull.com) for providing the pictures accompanying this blog!
Do you want to experience a night in refugio Branagallones and Biosphere Reserve Redes yourself? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide you with the details. We can also create a customized tour for you!