Pozo de los Humos

Masueco / Perena de la Ribera / Castilla y Leon Region, Salamanca, Spain

About Pozo de los Humos


Hiking Distance: 2.4km round trip (to top); 3.6km round trip (to frontal view)
Suggested Time: 60-90 minutes (to either top or frontal view)

Date first visited: 2015-06-07
Date last visited: 2015-06-07

Waterfall Latitude: 41.21746
Waterfall Longitude: -6.56984

Pozo de los Humos (meaning well of smoke) was one of those semi-remote out-of-the-way waterfalls not far from the Spanish-Portugese border.

It was really our waterfalling excuse to visit the Renaissance city of Salamanca.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_089_06072015 - Pozo de los Humos
Pozo de los Humos

It turned out that there were two different ways to experience this falls.

One way was by reaching the brink of the 50m waterfall, which was accessed from the town of Masueco.

The other way was to access a distant lookout, which yielded a direct frontal view of the Pozo de los Humos (as shown in the photo above).

This experience was attainable from the town of Pereña de la Ribera.

There was no sanctioned way to directly cross from one side of the gorge to the other by foot.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_107_06072015 - Context of some of the overlooks near the brink of el Pozo de los Humos
Context of some of the overlooks near the brink of el Pozo de los Humos

So for all intents and purposes, each method of visitation was pretty much its own excursion.

Where’s the Smoke?

Our visit to the Pozo de los Humos Waterfall was in early June 2015.

Apparently, the best time of year to visit this falls would be in the mid-Spring (say March or April time frame) when the Río de las Uces should have more substantial flow.

That said, given the Mediterranean climate of Spain (something we’re quite familiar with in California), the flow duration is also dependent on how vigorous the precipitation has been in the Winter months.

The bottom line is that the well of smoke only produces smoke if the drainages of the Río de las Uces has an above-average amount of water.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_116_06072015 - Transmission lines and power pylons around the Pozo de los Humos made me wonder if hydroelectricity exploitation may have had something to do with putting more pressure on the health of the Río de las Uces
Transmission lines and power pylons around the Pozo de los Humos made me wonder if hydroelectricity exploitation may have had something to do with putting more pressure on the health of the Río de las Uces

Working against this waterflow, we also observed that this fairly underdeveloped spot in a remote corner of the Castilla y León Region tended to dry out pretty quick early into Summer.

Further adding pressure to the river’s flow, we also noticed the presence of power lines around the gorge.

Thus, it wouldn’t surprise me if hydroelectricity production also played a role in adversely affecting the health of the Río de las Uces.

Experiencing Pozo de los Humos from the Masueco Side

What I’m calling the Masueco side was where we managed to get to the brink of the Pozo de los Humos waterfall.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_012_06072015 - Julie and Tahia descending along a quiet and narrow trail leading down to the brink of Pozo de los Humos from the Masueco side
Julie and Tahia descending along a quiet and narrow trail leading down to the brink of Pozo de los Humos from the Masueco side

From a car park linked via rugged and narrow access road from the sleepy town of Masueco (see directions below), we then walked downhill past a barricade preventing further vehicular access.

We continued on this path for roughly 20-30 minutes to cover the roughly 1.2km (in each direction).

The path that we walked on was actually the continuation of an unpaved road so the trail itself was very wide as far as foot traffic was concerned.

During our visit, it was so quiet on this side that we were able to hear voices from the other side of the gorge (at the mirador on the Pereña de la Ribera side).

Pozo_de_los_Humos_043_06072015 - Julie walking out to the overhanging mirador of Pozo de los Humos from the Masueco side
Julie walking out to the overhanging mirador of Pozo de los Humos from the Masueco side

The sound was so distinct that it was almost as if they were sharing the same trail as we were on the Masueco side!

In any case, we knew that all this downhill walking would mean that we’d have to get all this elevation back on the way back up.

Plus, the fact that the weather was starting to heat up while most of this trail was exposed to the sun wasn’t making this excursion any easier.

So the difficulty rating given at the top of this page was reflective of this despite the fact that the trail itself was not long from a distance standpoint.

Once we got to the bottom of the descent, there was some kind of hut down here with a handwritten blurb in Spanish about “Las Arribes y Los Humos” while urging the reader to respect what’s here.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_034_06072015 - Awkward view of both of the drops of the Pozo de los Humos from the overhanging mirador on the Masueco side
Awkward view of both of the drops of the Pozo de los Humos from the overhanging mirador on the Masueco side

Just a few paces further down the hill were the railings and lookouts with awkward views of the Pozo de los Humos.

Perhaps the most dramatic of these miradores was the last one, which was protruding and overhanging above the sheer drop of the gorge wall.

It offered a precipitous view just to the side of the bottom drop of the waterfall.

In any case, this marked our turnaround point, and overall, we would wind up spending under 90 minutes away from the car (encompassing both the hike as well as taking in the overlooks).

Experiencing Pozo de los Humos from the Pereña de la Ribera Side

The Pereña de la Ribera side was where I managed to reach a lookout with a direct view of the Pozo de los Humos waterfall.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_063_06072015 - Starting the walk to Pozo de los Humos on the Pereña de la Ribera side
Starting the walk to Pozo de los Humos on the Pereña de la Ribera side

Quite frankly if all you’re looking for is a photo of the Pozo de los Humos Waterfall, then this would be the only side you need to consider.

That said, I do advocate experiencing the falls on both sides because the Masueco side gets you closer to the waterfall as well as the gorge itself.

In any case, a well-defined road and walkway led to the lookout on a relatively gently downhill terrain, and this descent was much less steeper than the Masueco side.

It turned out that the roughly 1.8km hike in each direction (3.6km round trip) was longer than what might be possible had the road not been blocked to vehicular access between February 15 and June 30.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_070_06072015 - Most of the walk on the Pereña de la Ribera side of Pozo de los Humos involved this hot dirt road that initially climbed before descending to the lookouts
Most of the walk on the Pereña de la Ribera side of Pozo de los Humos involved this hot dirt road that initially climbed before descending to the lookouts

I only realized this when I did the hike and saw that there was a car park only 400m away from the mirador!

This restricted access policy was said to protect wildlife according to the Spanish signs posted throughout the road portion of the hike.

Incidentally, this restricted access period also happened to be the times when the waterfall would be flowing so for all intents and purposes, the waterfall excursion would pretty much be the longer hike.

It wouldn’t be as easy as it could be the rest of the year when it would only require 800m of walking round trip.

Thus, the difficulty rating given at the top of this page was pretty much the same as what I judged the Masueco side’s difficulty to be.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_077_06072015 - Passing by this car park that was only 400m from the lookouts for the Pozo de los Humos on the Pereña de la Ribera side
Passing by this car park that was only 400m from the lookouts for the Pozo de los Humos on the Pereña de la Ribera side

Nevertheless, the hike on the wide unpaved road gently undulated with hardly any shade.

It was a mostly featureless hike as the road was set back from the gorge for most of the way until it finally started to turn past a private residence along the way.

From there, the depths of the gorge started to come into view.

The trail would pass beneath power lines and pylons early on in the hike, then proceed towards a different set of power pylons before reaching the mirador near the original line of power pylons.

I noticed that both power line paths crossed the gorge and stretched to the Masueco side so I’d imagine that whatever electricity was produced nearby must supply both towns of Masueco and Pereña de la Ribera.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_099_06072015 - Full context of the Pozo de los Humos as seen from the lookout on the Pereña de la Ribera side
Full context of the Pozo de los Humos as seen from the lookout on the Pereña de la Ribera side

Throughout the entire duration of the hike, I was able to look across the gorge and see the car park and trail we had taken earlier in the morning as well as the town of Masueco further up.

The final 400m of the hike just past the car park had a slightly steeper downhill grade until it reached the mirador.

There were no railings at the lookout as it was nothing more than just an open space with dropoffs along with an interpretive sign similar to what I saw at the trailhead for the Masueco side.

Overall, I spent 40 minutes away from the car hiking fast.

Under a more leisurely pace, I could easily see this excursion taking at least an hour.

Authorities

Pozo de los Humos resides near the villages of Masueco and Pereña de la Ribera in the Province of Salamanca, Spain. It may be administered by the Arribes del Duero Natural Park. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may get leads from this website.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_005_06072015 - The vehicular barricade as we were starting the walk to the brink of Pozo de los Humos on the Masueco side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_007_06072015 - Looking across the gorge towards a group of hikers checking out Pozo de los Humos from the Pereña de la Ribera side (that side was easier to access than the Masueco side)
Pozo_de_los_Humos_010_06072015 - The downhill road that we had to walk to reach the brink of Pozo de los Humos
Pozo_de_los_Humos_019_06072015 - Julie and Tahia continuing the descent to the brink of Pozo de los Humos on the Masueco side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_020_06072015 - A hut near the brink of Pozo de los Humos on the Masueco side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_026_06072015 - Julie standing on one of the miradores by the brink of Pozo de los Humos on the Masueco side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_030_06072015 - Looking down at the plunge pool and the lower drop of the Pozo de los Humos from one of the miradores on the Masueco side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_037_06072015 - Looking further upstream at the upper tiers of Pozo de los Humos from the overhanging overlook on the Masueco side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_060_06072015 - Looking back at the context of the series of miradores by the brink of Pozo de los Humos as we started to climb back up to the car park on the Masueco side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_073_06072015 - The trail on the Pereña side passed by what appeared to be some private residence, which might be the main reason why this road has maintenance on it
Pozo_de_los_Humos_083_06072015 - Approaching the mirador for the direct look at Pozo de los Humos from the Pereña side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_085_06072015 - Contextual look at the Pozo de los Humos from the lookout on the Pereña side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_103_06072015 - Direct look at Pozo de los Humos in low flow from a different spot on the Pereña side
Pozo_de_los_Humos_118_06072015 - Finally back at the car park on the Pereña side as I was a hot and sweaty mess after having had my fill of the Pozo de los Humos

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To visit Pozo de los Humos from Salamanca, perhaps the best and quickest way to get to both sides would be to drive west on the A-62 (towards Portugal) for about 50km from the A-50 / A-62 / A-66 junction.

Then, we’d take exit 293 to the SA-315 road towards the Urbanización Las Cantinas and La Fuente de San Esteban.

We’d then follow the SA-315 road for just under 31km to the CI-517 road at Vitigudino.

Turning right onto CI-517 road, then quickly turning left to continue going west on CI-517, we then turned right onto the SA-314 road about 1.2km later.

Once we were on the SA-314 road, we then proceeded north for the next 25.5km.

At this point, we reached a junction.

Keeping left on the SA-314 would lead to the town of Masueco in another 2km.

Turning right would take us on a narrow road that would eventually arrive at the turnoff for Pereña de la Ribera in about 7.5km.

Driving to the Masueco Side

Since we did the Masueco side first, let’s start with this side.

As we drove into the sleepy town of Masueco, SA-314 would become Calle Humilladero.

By now, we started to see Pozo de los Humos signs so we’d then turn right onto Calle Eras and follow it for about 150m until another sign had us turn right to continue accessing the waterfall trail.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_003_06072015 - The smaller and more remote car park for the Pozo de los Humos on the Masueco side
The smaller and more remote car park for the Pozo de los Humos on the Masueco side

Next, as the access road quickly became unpaved, narrow, and increasingly bumpier the further away from Masueco we went, we’d ultimately follow the signs and drive VERY slowly for about 2.1km to the car park and trailhead.

It took us between 90-120 minutes to get from Salamanca to this trailhead.

When we were returning to the town of Masueco, after 300m going back the way we came, the signs then pointed us onto a different road since they wanted the roads to be uni-directional given how narrow they were.

There was practically little or no opportunities to pull over or pass.

This road was an even narrower route than on the way in (we were practically driving almost side-by-side with fences and stone walls) as we passed by some farms.

After 1.8km of this scary and bumpy road, we would re-enter Masueco on Calle Abajo, then turn left on Calle Alegría.

Then, we’d turn right onto Calle Eras and leaving the town on Calle Humilladero, which became SA-314.

Driving to the Pereña de la Ribera Side

As for the Pereña de la Ribera route, we took the narrow road for about 7.5km until signs pointed us into the town of Pereña de la Ribera.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_062_06072015 - The larger and more developed car park for the Pozo de los Humos on the Pereña de la Ribera side
The larger and more developed car park for the Pozo de los Humos on the Pereña de la Ribera side

By now, there were signs pointing us to the car park for Pozo de los Humos (mostly along Avenida Constitución) until it would turn left onto a rural road that also became unpaved.

But unlike the Masueco route, this road was wider and less bumpier.

The unpaved road would persist for about 3.2km leading to a well-established car park and picnic area.

If the barricade is set up (like it was for us), then this is where you start walking.

However, if the barricade is not up, then it’s possible to drive another 1.8km to the closer car park to reduce the hiking even more.

I would recommend returning to Salamanca by following these directions in reverse.

Pozo_de_los_Humos_064_06072015 - The barricade was set up for us so we had to walk the rest of this road for the Pozo de los Humos on the Pereña de la Ribera side
The barricade was set up for us so we had to walk the rest of this road for the Pozo de los Humos on the Pereña de la Ribera side

That’s because we tried to follow the GPS on our visit by going the direct route via Cabeza de Framontanos then onto the SA-303 then SA-302 after Trabanca and SA-300 after Ledesma.

Even though it was shorter from a distance standpoint, the roads were much curvier and narrower from Pereña to Trabanca, and it ended up being a bit slower than the longer way we took on the way in.

Finally, for some geographical context, Salamanca was 213km (2.5 hours drive) west of Madrid, 244km (over 2 hours drive) southwest of Burgos, 205km (2 hours drive) south of León, and 426km (over 4 hours drive) southeast of Santiago de Compostela.

Checking out the top of the falls from the various lookouts on the Masueco side


Checking out the comprehensive and direct view of the falls from the Perena de la Ribera side

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Tagged with: masueco, perena de la ribera, castilla y leon, salamanca, spain, waterfall, portugal, arribes del duero, national park, rio de las uces



Visitor Comments:

Río de las Uces January 18, 2020 11:38 pm by Jose Luis Sanchez Esteban - Before cascading to Pozo de los Humos, Las Uces River keeps quiet and offers scenic views including this small waterfall. ...Read More

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Cascada del Pozo de los Humos (Spain) January 13, 2020 5:17 am by Jose Luis Sanchez Esteban - This is a better look of this waterfall that deserves a more positive rating. ...Read More

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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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