Lagos de Covadonga, an iconic Vuelta a España climb
Lagos de Covadonga is the name given to a couple of glacial lakes (Lake Enol and Lake Ercina) ending at an elevation of 1.134m (3,720ft) above the sea level, located in the region of Asturias, in northern Spain. The road is a popular climb in professional road bicycle racing, with ramps up to 15%. It's said to be one of the most beautiful drives of the country.
The road to the lakes is asphalted and has very few hairpin bends, but it’s pretty steep and narrow. It’s called CO-4. Basically the same as Alpe d’Huez climb, the lakes are located in the Picos de Europa National Park. The climb has been used many times by Vuelta a España race. Starting from Covadonga, the ascent is 12.6 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1056 meters and the average percentage is 7.4 %. The most demanding section is La Huesera, 7 kilometres from the top of the climb, with an average gradient of 15% during 800 meters.
The drive is definitely worth it. It's a place of majesty, of history and of epic events. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Once at the top it is well worth spending some time at the lakes. As well as the beautiful scenery there is an old metal mine at the top lake which is interesting to see. Don’t forget your camera!