Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo (Cascada de las Merindades)

Valle de Sedano / Castilla y Leon Region, Burgos, Spain

About Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo (Cascada de las Merindades)


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2015-06-13
Date last visited: 2015-06-13

Waterfall Latitude: 42.83424
Waterfall Longitude: -3.79305

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The Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo (I’ve also seen it called Cascada de Merindades) was an example of how a waterfalling motive to visit a particular area could yield hidden surprises.

In this instance, we were treated to an attractive waterfall tumbling through and below the town of Orbaneja del Castillo, which sat near the border of the region of Castilla y Leon and Cantabria.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_063_06132015 - Context of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo surrounded by the town of the same name
Context of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo surrounded by the town of the same name

Further adding to the atmosphere and enchantment were the cliffs and rock walls surrounding the town.

At least one of the formations atop the rock walls overlooking the town and gorge below contained an impressive natural arch.

Moreover, the rural town itself was quite charming with its historical-looking stone buildings.

Indeed, the unusual and mind-boggling combination of all these things made our visit to the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo very memorable.

Experiencing the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo

The waterfall was essentially a roadside attraction, and the difficulty rating you see above pretty much reflected this.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_014_06132015 - As much of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo that I could fit into a single photo after scrambling further downstream beneath the road bridge
As much of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo that I could fit into a single photo after scrambling further downstream beneath the road bridge

After parking the car in one of the pullouts just past the bridge fronting the waterfall (see directions below), we then walked along the road back towards the falls.

Immediately, we got the most contextual and impressive views of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo from there.

That said, we were also able to scramble closer to the base of the main cascading portion for a closer and more intimate look.

The buildings perched amongst cliffs provided that unique backdrop where waterfall and civilization mixed.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_034_06132015 - Looking across a colorful plunge pool just beneath the road bridge fronting the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo, which kind of reminded me of a small version of the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
Looking across a colorful plunge pool just beneath the road bridge fronting the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo, which kind of reminded me of a small version of the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia

Yet, this mixture was not done in a destructive way like what tends to happen around urban waterfalls.

Moreover, we also scrambled further downstream from the bridge and saw other travertine cascades and pools that reminded us of a mini-Plitvice experience.

Extending Our Visit at Orbaneja del Castillo

For all intents and purposes, the waterfalling portion of a visit here was essentially this falls through town and the cascades further below.

That said, we extended our visit at the Orbaneja del Castillo since we were also interested in checking out the town and its other attractions.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_080_06132015 - Looking upstream towards an upper cascade tumbling right from the center of the village of Orbaneja del Castillo
Looking upstream towards an upper cascade tumbling right from the center of the village of Orbaneja del Castillo

First, we ascended a walking path along steps through parts of town alongside the main waterfall.

This path passed by an accommodation and then some kind of valve or waterflow control contraption (implicating that the waterfall could be turned off).

Eventually, the walkway deposited us in the center of the town of Orbaneja del Castillo.

Just upstream from the center of town, we saw a water cave that seemed worth visiting, but it wasn’t open during our visit.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_086_06132015 - Looking uphill from the center of the town of Orbaneja del Castillo
Looking uphill from the center of the town of Orbaneja del Castillo

In any case, we next pursued a better view of the natural arch along with the cliff formations above town.

So we continued walking steeply up the town’s main road until we were able to look back over the town’s tiled rooftops backed by the enchanting rock formations including that natural arch.

This is shown in the photo below.

It appeared that there was another trail that branched off the main road that continued climbing higher up the neighboring cliffs.

However, we didn’t pursue those trails so we can’t say what’s up there nor what it’s like.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_197_06132015 - Looking over the tiled rooftops of the village of Orbaneja del Castillo towards the rock formations and the natural arch adorning the cliffs surrounding the town
Looking over the tiled rooftops of the village of Orbaneja del Castillo towards the rock formations and the natural arch adorning the cliffs surrounding the town

Overall, our visit here took nearly 90 minutes, but the waterfalling part of the visit could’ve easily taken less than 20 minutes.

When we showed up in the morning at around 10:15am, it was pretty quiet.

But when we returned, there were already some local tour groups along with several more families and individual visitors as well.

So while we originally thought Orbaneja del Castillo might be a hidden secret in Spain, it wasn’t necessarily a “secret” to the Spanish nor to well-researched tourists in the know.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_229_06132015 - Looking across some travertine dams and plunge pools backed by the cliffs surrounding the Orbaneja del Castillo town as we walked back to the car
Looking across some travertine dams and plunge pools backed by the cliffs surrounding the Orbaneja del Castillo town as we walked back to the car

Perhaps the ideal visit here would be to linger as long as we did for during our June 2015 visit.

In addition to that, it would’ve been worthwhile to visit the Cueva del Agua (Water Cave) and maybe have a lunch here.

The understated and non-commercial feel of this rural town certainly made it attractive to do so.

Authorities

The Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo resides in the town of Orbaneja del Castillo in the province of Burgos, Spain. It is administered by the local municipality of Orbaneja del Castillo. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may want to visit this website.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_219_06132015 - Before getting a closer look at the main waterfall just below the town of Orbaneja del Castillo, we spent some time going further downstream to check out some travertine pools and cascades
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_023_06132015 - Once we got towards the bottom of the descent beneath the road before Orbaneja del Castillo, we got this look back upstream towards the context of all these mini cascades and pools seen together
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_029_06132015 - Looking towards the upper tiers of the cascades beneath the road bridge at Orbaneja del Castillo
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_045_06132015 - Getting closer to the main drop of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo, which was quite a popular subject to take pictures
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_058_06132015 - Looking up at the main drop of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo from its base
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_069_06132015 - Once we had our fill of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo, we then walked up these steps to get into the town of Orbaneja del Castillo
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_090_06132015 - Looking downstream towards the brink of the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo as we got closer to the center of Orbaneja del Castillo town
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_095_06132015 - Looking upstream towards the source of the stream and the cliffs backing the town of Orbaneja del Castillo
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_098_06132015 - Walking up the steep street as we pursued an overview of the town of Orbaneja del Castillo as well as the rock walls backing the town
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_110_06132015 - We first followed an ill-defined path that led us on some rock ledges that would ultimately dead-end where those people in front were.  At least it afforded us this view of the natural arch above town
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_111_06132015 - This was the ledge we walked on when we turned around and looked elsewhere for the sought-after overview of Orbaneja del Castillo
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_119_06132015 - Finally, we were able to get this view of Orbaneja del Castillo backed by the rock walls with that natural arch
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_169_06132015 - Looking directly towards the natural arch overlooking the town of Orbaneja del Castillo as we continued walking further up the town
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_186_06132015 - Julie and Tahia heading back into Orbaneja del Castillo after getting their fill of this narrow road and overview of town
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_212_06132015 - As we walked downhill to the center of Orbaneja del Castillo, we started to notice more people, including this tour group
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_213_06132015 - Descending back down the steps to the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo and eventually back to where we parked the car
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_215_06132015 - Looking across the stream containing the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo towards some buildings perched atop the neighboring cliffs
Orbaneja_del_Castillo_230_06132015 - Context of Julie and Tahia walking back along the road bridge on our way back to our parked car at Orbaneja del Castillo

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While there may be many ways to reach Orbaneja del Castillo, we’ll just describe the way we came from the city of Burgos.

From Burgos, we drove north on the N-623 for about 60km.

Orbaneja_del_Castillo_001_06132015 - Context of one of the pullouts at a hairpin turn where we could already start to see the natural arch overlooking the town of Orbaneja del Castillo
Context of one of the pullouts at a hairpin turn where we could already start to see the natural arch overlooking the town of Orbaneja del Castillo

Then, we followed the sign and turned left onto the narrow CA-275 (formerly Bu-613) road, which continued for about 6km as we crossed the bridge fronting the Cascada de Orbaneja del Castillo.

We pulled over at a pullout at a hairpin turn just beyond this bridge though we did notice that there were more parking spaces further along the road.

Overall, this drive took us about 70 minutes.

For some geographical context, Burgos was 185km (under 2 hours drive) east of León, 159km (over 1.5 hours drive) southwest of Bilbao, and 249km (2.5 hours drive) north of Madrid.

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Checking out the clear Plitvice-like pools below the bridge as well as the lovely waterfall and village above the bridge


Checking out the falls right beneath the village from its base

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Tagged with: orbaneja del castillo, valle de sedano, castilla y leon, burgos, spain, waterfall, natural arch, cantabria, merindades, cueva del agua, puentedey



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Cascada de Orbaneja (Spain) January 17, 2020 9:42 am by Jose Luis Sanchez Esteban - Some additional pictures with plentiful of water flowing. It was so much that not having a wide-angle lens it was not possible (or I didn't find the right place) to catch the whole waterfall in a single picture. ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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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