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