Los Pilones – Cabezuela del Valle, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Los Pilones

Cabezuela del Valle, Spain

Blue-green pools and smooth stones comprise one of Spain’s most idyllic hidden wonders.  

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Los Pilones consists of more than a dozen crystalline, blue-green pools, all uniquely carved out by water rushing down from the nearby Sierra de Tormantos mountains. Located in the Jerte Valley within Cáceres, a city in western Spain’s Extremadura region, Los Pilones may be a bit off-the-beaten path but it’s worth the trek.

Smooth, rounded stones characterize the area, as well as wild green pops of diverse vegetation. Perfect for hikers, swimmers, wilderness lovers, and bird watchers, the site is one of the country’s best lesser-known tourist destinations with its stunning scenery. 

The clear, brisk waters are especially great to cool off in during the warmer months. Fragrant, white blooms of cherry blossoms blanket the area in early April, making it a bit more popular than other times. But depending on the time of day, you may only encounter a few other hikers/swimmers on your trek, especially during the fall season.

Observe the wonders of water, natural stone, and lush fauna in one of Spain’s deliciously enchanting destinations. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch, a hat for shade, and comfortable shoes for the day (the hike can get a bit steep in certain areas). Bonus? Expect to be greeted by random herds of goats on your hike. 

Know Before You Go

Most people allot around four to five hours for exploring, swimming, and hiking. Situated in the Reserva Natural Garganta de los Infiernos (known for its beautiful cascades and picturesque trails, despite the name), there are several hiking routes to Los Pilones, but one will get you there in a little under an hour. You can also easily access the trails from the main highway. The best time to visit is either in the spring (especially during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival) or summer, when the flora and fauna is in full bloom and water temperatures are better for swimming.

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