Cascada de Nocedo (Cascada de Valdecesar or Cola de Caballo)

Valdepielago / Leon / Castilla y Leon Region, Leon, Spain

About Cascada de Nocedo (Cascada de Valdecesar or Cola de Caballo)


Hiking Distance: 200-300m round trip
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2015-06-12
Date last visited: 2015-06-12

Waterfall Latitude: 42.88755
Waterfall Longitude: -5.40319

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The Cascada de Nocedo at first glance seemed like a pretty ordinary waterfall.

However, when we paid more attention to its somewhat tight surroundings within a small chasm, we realized that there was also a natural bridge right above it!

Cascada_de_Nocedo_046_06112015 - Context of Cascada de Nocedo (or Cascada de Valdecésar or Cola de Caballo) and the span of a natural bridge above it
Context of Cascada de Nocedo (or Cascada de Valdecésar or Cola de Caballo) and the span of a natural bridge above it

That’s right, this was one of those rare waterfalls where we were also able to combine it with a natural bridge (or natural arch) sighting!

Mercifully, the Arroyo Valdecésar (the creek responsible for the falls so it’s sometimes called Cascada de Valdecésar) didn’t have a very forceful flow during our visit.

Therefore, given tight gorge where we stood to view the waterfall, we didn’t have to fight a misty mess and thus enjoy the experience.

Indeed, this contrasted with a similarly-situated waterfall at say the Cascate del Varone near Riva del Garda, Italy, where that waterfall threatened to drench and destroy our electronics.

Experiencing the Cascada de Nocedo

Cascada_de_Nocedo_004_06112015 - Starting on the short walk leading up to the Cascada de Nocedo and its natural bridge from the bottom
Starting on the short walk leading up to the Cascada de Nocedo and its natural bridge from the bottom

Visiting the Cascada de Nocedo (or Cascada de Valdecésar) was very easy.

From the trailhead (see directions below), we followed a relatively short (maybe 100m or so) footpath crossing over a couple of bridges and being towered over by some tall cliffs.

Towards the end of the trail, there was a catwalk entering the chasm as the gorge closed in tighter.

On the final turn, we were face-to-face with the somewhat horsetail shape of Cascada de Nocedo.

Cascada_de_Nocedo_012_06112015 - Looking ahead at the catwalk clinging to the walls of the narrowing gorge containing the Cascada de Nocedo and its intriguing natural bridge
Looking ahead at the catwalk clinging to the walls of the narrowing gorge containing the Cascada de Nocedo and its intriguing natural bridge

By the way, I’ve also seen this falls called Cola de Caballo or horse’s tail (a rather common name for a waterfall).

Naturally, the closer to the end of the catwalk I went, the mistier and more difficult it was to take a photo or a movie.

Moreover, given how dark it was in this little chasm, this might be a situation where a long exposure photo or a high ISO would be necessary to reduce the blurriness or let in enough light or both.

The natural bridge was practically directly above the waterfall and mini-chasm.

Cascada_de_Nocedo_057_06112015 - Facing the Cascada de Nocedo and the end of the trail at its base
Facing the Cascada de Nocedo and the end of the trail at its base

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture both the natural bridge and the waterfall in one frame (believe me, I tried).

I pretty much either had to capture the falls or just the bridge, but not both.

I heard that it’s possible to approach this chasm from the top and get a closer look at the natural bridge, but we didn’t exercise that option so we can’t comment more on it.

In any case, this entire excursion pretty much took us a mere 30 minutes, and that included the picture-taking.

Cascada_de_Nocedo_085_06112015 - Julie and Tahia making their way back from the Cascada de Nocede surrounded by rugged cliffs and mountains
Julie and Tahia making their way back from the Cascada de Nocede surrounded by rugged cliffs and mountains

We were the only people at the Cascada de Nocedo so it felt like a nice and intimate experience.

In fact, it seemed like a lot of cars just drove past this trailhead as if hardly anyone cared this falls was here!

Perhaps the lack of signage had something to do with it.

Anyhow, their loss was our gain in the form of having this place to ourselves!

Authorities

The Cascada de Nocedo resides between near the village of Valdepiélagos and La Vecilla de Curueño in the province of León, Spain. It may be administered by the local municipality. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may get leads from this website.

Cascada_de_Nocedo_063_06112015 - Julie and Tahia starting the short walk to Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_005_06112015 - Looking ahead at a bridge spanning the Arroyo Valdecesar as we made our way up to the Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_065_06112015 - Julie and Tahia crossing over the first bridge on the way to the base of Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_008_06112015 - Continuing on the short but semi-rugged trail leading us closer to the next footbridge and ultimately to the Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_070_06112015 - Context of the towering cliffs and formations at the top of the gorge with Julie and Tahia barely visible at the bottom of the gorge in the lower right side of this photo en route to the Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_073_06112015 - This was the second bridge over the Arroyo de Valdecésar as we made our way closer to the Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_061_06112015 - About to enter the chasm containing Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_031_06112015 - Looking up above the Cascada de Nocedo, which revealed the span of the natural bridge above it
Cascada_de_Nocedo_039_06112015 - Looking back at the chasm entrance on the catwalk that we took to even get inside and experience the front of Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_053_06112015 - Another look at the Cascada de Nocedo and the span of its natural bridge above it
Cascada_de_Nocedo_078_06112015 - Julie and Tahia heading back after having had their fill of the Cascada de Nocedo
Cascada_de_Nocedo_082_06112015 - Looking ahead on our return hike with Julie and Tahia crossing the second bridge over the Arroyo Valdecesar incontext with the rugged cliffs above us
Cascada_de_Nocedo_084_06112015 - Julie and Tahia crossing the first bridge as we were just about to conclude our short visit to the Cascada de Nocedo

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Since we visited Cascada de Nocedo (or Cola de Caballo or Cascada de Valdecesar) as a stopover on the drive between Caín de Valdeón (the southern end of the Cares Gorge) and the city of León, this is how we’ll describe this driving route.

Later on, I’ll discuss the driving route in reverse if you’re coming from León, which is how I’d imagine most people coming here would do it.

Driving from Caín de Valdeón to Cascada de Nocedo

From Caín de Valdeón, we returned the way we came on the Le-244 (23km).

Then, we continued south on the N-625 road for 18km to the town of Riaño where the N-625 and N-621 roads became one.

From Riaño, we then took the N-621 road for the next 29km before turning right onto the CI-626 road.

Cascada_de_Nocedo_088_06112015 - Context of the small stone pullout where we made the short jaunt to the Cascada de Nocedo and its natural bridge
Context of the small stone pullout where we made the short jaunt to the Cascada de Nocedo and its natural bridge

We followed the CI-626 road for roughly 26km, then we turned right onto the Le-321 road (we had to go under a railroad bridge before turning to leave the CI-626).

Next, we followed the Le-321 road north for the next 4km or so to the trailhead for Cascada de Nocedo on the left.

Now we didn’t see any signs indicating that the trailhead was for this waterfall (as of our June 2015 visit).

We essentially just started walking once we saw some kind of infrastructure to leave the car (i.e. a tiny pullout that had a stone surface).

Fortunately, the walk was short enough to finally figure out that we were indeed in the right place.

Overall, this drive took us about 90 minutes or so.

Driving from León to Cascada de Nocedo

Coming from León, we would go north on the N-630 road for just under 25km to the town of La Robla.

Then, we’d turn right onto the CI-626 road and follow it for the next 20km turning left onto the Le-321 road.

Once on the Le-321 road, we’d follow it for the next 4km or so before reaching the trailhead on the left side.

Overall, this route took us less than an hour, including some of the city navigating in León (which is always slower than the distances would lead you to believe).

Finally, for some context, León was 185km (under 2 hours drive) west of Burgos, 263km (about 3 hours drive) southeast of Ribadeo, 206km (2 hours drive) north of Salamanca, 337km (over 3 hours drive) southwest of Bilbao, 332km (3.5 hours drive) east of Santiago de Compostela, and 337km (3.5 hours drive) northwest of Madrid.

Checking out the impressive waterfall and natural bridge while trying to avoid the mist as well

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Tagged with: valdepielago, leon, castilla y leon, leon, spain, waterfall, valdecesar, natural bridge, nocedo de curueno



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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