Laguna del Duque (The Duke Lagoon)

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'The Duke' lake is a mountain lagoon situated in a small glacial hanging valley on the south slopes of the Sierra de Béjar, located at Macizo Occidental de Gredos (Gredos Western Massif), in the Sistema Central (Central System) near Avila. It is in fact a man-made lake, enlarged in 1925 when a dam was built to channel the water down the gorge towards the hydroelectric station below, known as 'El Chorro', where the route starts. There are many lagoons within the heart of these mountains, but this one is especially appealing because of its accessibility.

In a little less than one hour's walk we can reach the most fantastic and wild scenery and be surrounded by peaks 2,400m high. The tube that channels the water down to the station from the dam 250m higher up is one of the striking features of this route. Today, this plumbing would be considered an environmental atrocity, but then it was more like a feat of engineering. It was also a first attempt to sustainable management, a way to produce relatively clean energy to support the local population. On our way up the lane we will follow the tube, with the stream cascading down next to us. On reaching the lake we can walk around its shore on a well-maintained track 2km long and then walk back down, taking a longer but less steep path over the south side of the granite walls.

This route is listed as a Short Distance route (Pequeño Recorrido or PR) and its name is PR-AV 41. It is well-signed along the way, sometimes with posts with the white and yellow signs for PR walks and most times with cairns. The terrain is quite varied: sandy tracks, tussocky grass, granite slabs, stone paths, even concrete steps at some points. Some steep areas have rails to hold on to and in a couple of places small streams have to be waded.

Spain - North West Spain - Castilla y León - Sierra de Gredos


Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Lake/Loch, Moor, Mountains, Nature Trail, River, Waterfall, Wildlife