Jito de Escarandi-Alto de Sotres, a sensational road in Picos de Europa

Jito de Escarandi (also known as Alto de Sotres) is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.308m (4,291ft) above the sea level, located within the Picos de Europa National Park, in the Picos de Europa mountain range, in northern Spain. The road features sections up to 21% in gradient.

Jito de Escarandi-Alto de Sotres

The summit of this pass (also known as Jitu d'Escarandí) is the border between the autonomous communities of Asturias and Cantabria. The pass was the summit finish of Stage 15 of the 2015 Vuelta a España. The climb is stunning and offers spectacular views. At the summit there’s a wonderful sight of the surrounding mountains which usually are covered by fog and are thought to be full of legends and attractiveness. The paved road is nicknamed as ‘Carretera de las 3 villas’ (3 Villages road). It’s said to be one of the roads with the most extraordinary landscapes in Picos da Europa range, with mountains, hills and meadows.

Starting from Sotres, the road is called CA-1. This is a road with a bad asphalt quality, gravel sections, and deep pot holes. To ascend from here to the crest of the climb is a difficult 14,5km with an average percentage of 7,5%. The gradients hammer up to the highest that the Jito de Escarandi has to offer - 2km at 10,8%, including a 400m stretch averaging 17% and maxing out at 21%, and another 500m at 15%!  The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall.