The wild road to Picon del Fraile in northern Spain

Picón del Fraile is a high mountain peak at an elevation of 1,590m (5,216ft) above sea level, located on the boundary between Cantabria and Castile and León, in Spain.

Picón del Fraile

Where is Picón del Fraile?

The peak is located in the northern part of the country, in the Collados del Asón Natural Park, within the Soba Valley.

What’s on the summit of Picón del Fraile?

The summit hosts a military base of Escuadrón de Vigilancia Aérea nº12 (EVA 12) built in 1997, and many radars.

Is the road to Picón del Fraile paved?

The road to the summit, also known as Las Motas, is totally paved, but curvy and winding. The last part of the road is closed to private vehicles.

How long is the road to Picón del Fraile?

The road to the summit is very steep, hitting a 17% maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at Portillo de Lunada (Portillo de Hoz), on the paved BU-572 road, the ascent is 4.5 km (2.79 miles) long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 308 meters. The average gradient is 6.84%.

What’s the weather like on Picón del Fraile?

The weather in this zone is terrible, harsh, and highly unpredictable. In February 2013, the road was impossible to snowplug for 40 days, and the only way to reach the military base was by helicopter. The snow had walls over 20m.