Route to the Purgatory Waterfalls

Purgatory waterfalls

The route to the Purgatory waterfalls It is one of the most beautiful hikes you can do in the region. Autonomous Community of Madrid. Furthermore, both because of its length and its difficulty, it is suitable for you to do as a family.

It is a tour that allows you to be in full contact with nature and what it offers you other attractions, in addition to the waterfalls themselves. You can even do it at any time of the year, although in winter you may find snow. Next, we are going to explain everything you need to know about the route to the Purgatory Waterfalls.

Location and how to get there

Lozoya River

Lozoya River as it passes through Rascafría

The Purgatory Waterfalls are located on the mountainous branch of Long rope, which is one of those that makes up the central part of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Specifically, they are in the Aguilón stream, one of the main tributaries of the Lozoya river. Precisely, they are the result of his jumps to overcome different rock barriers.

As you can imagine, you cannot reach the area by car. You have to leave your vehicle, or next to the monastery of Santa María del Paular, or in the town of Rascafría (we will talk to you about one and the other later). However, the route to the Purgatory Waterfalls that we are going to propose starts from the latter.

If you leave Madrid, you must take the AP-6 until Guadarrama and then continue along the M-614 until Navacerrada. Next, you must take the M-601 and, finally, the M-604, which takes you to the aforementioned monastery first and until Rascafría after.

On the other hand, if you are traveling from the north, you have to go along the AP-61 and then take the AP-6 and, once in the aforementioned town of Guadarrama, follow the previous route. Another possibility is to arrive from Segovia. In this case, follow the CL-601 road to the ski resort of Navacerrada. Once there, turn off onto the M-604 until Rascafría. Finally, another way to travel to this town is from Lozoya by the last of the proposed routes.

Technical data of the route to the Purgatory Waterfalls

the Morcuera

View of the port of La Morcuera

Once we have explained how to get to the beginning of our route, we are going to give you the technical data of the walking route that we are going to take. As we told you, our starting point is the town of Rascafría, from which you have 14 kilometers until the end of the route. The approximate time to travel is five hours. Logically, this depends on your level of training and the speed you want to go. But it is a conservative estimate.

Its positive slope is about 250 meters, since the starting point is around 1150 and the maximum height is 1400. However, this occurs towards the middle of the route and then descends to, more or less, the initial height. Regarding the degree of difficulty, the route is classified as three in a ranking of one to five. That is, it has a medium difficulty.

On the other hand, part of the route is a continuation of the old historic road of La Morcuera. This linked the Paular monastery with Madrid through the port that gives its name to the road. Later, we will tell you about what you can see along it, but first we will describe the route to the Purgatory Waterfalls.

Route Description

The Cascades of Purgatory

One of the waterfalls in the Purgatory Waterfalls

Although, as we have told you, there are several routes that reach the waterfalls, the one we have chosen is part of Rascafría. From here you have wonderful views of the Lozoya Valley, de los Carpetan Mountains, which separate the provinces of Madrid and Segovia, and the Long rope, to which we are heading.

Next, we come to monastery of Santa María del Paular. Then we will focus on this and other monuments that you will find along the route. But now we must continue walking. We cross the bridge of forgiveness, which overcomes the Lozoya River and we continue along a path framed by pines, oaks, willows, rowan trees and hazelnut trees.

Then we go through The Loops. This name is given to natural pools that have been prepared for bathing. In addition, a recreational area with meadows and a picnic area has been created around them. But the best thing about this area are the magnificent views of Peñalara peak.

We follow the route and arrive at the Aguilón stream, one of the many that supply water to the Lozoya River and also surrounded by exuberant vegetation. In its highest part, we find the Purgatory waterfalls. The origin of its name is uncertain, but is believed due to the proximity of the monastery. Apparently, its monks atoned for their sins by meditating in this area. In any case, the place is of enormous beauty, with waterfalls up to ten meters high and leafy trees.

The final part of the route also runs through the impressive cut from Majada Grande, with its vertical walls. Finally, we return along the same route to the point of origin.

Monuments on the route to the Purgatory Waterfalls


Rascafría Town Hall

As we had promised, below, we are going to explain the main monumental jewels that you have on the route to the Purgatory Waterfalls. There are, fundamentally, two: the monastery of Santa María del Paular and the Puente del Perdón, which join all the natural wonders that we have shown you. Let's discover them.

But first we must explain to you that, in the town of Rascafría, where we have started our route, you have the Church of Saint Andrew the Apostle, built in the 15th century; the old one Post House, which dates back to the 18th century, and Town Hall, from the beginning of the 20th century and neo-Mudejar style.

Paular Monastery

Paular Monastery

Monastery of Santa María del Paular

It was built at the end of the 14th century by order of the king Henry II of Castile as a Carthusian monastery, although, in the 1876th century, it became a Benedictine priory. Since XNUMX, it is A Cultural in the Monument category and you can visit it.

Originally, the complex was made up of three buildings: the monastery, the church and a palace for the rest of kings. Such prestigious architects as Rodrigo Alfonso, Juan Guas and brothers Gil de Hontañón. The church is one of the jewels of the complex. Inside it, you should look at the fence that separates monks and faithful and the choir stalls, made of walnut wood by Bartolomé Fernández. But, above all, in the altarpiece from the end of the 15th century, which is made of polychrome alabaster, and in the Chapel of the Tabernacle, built in the 18th century to replace a previous one. The latter was due to Francis Hurtado and it is one of the most beautiful baroque works of its kind.

For its part, also the chapter house and the refectory They are very pretty. The first is covered with a pointed vault and has an equally baroque altarpiece that some attribute to Churriguera, although, apparently, its author was Jose de la Torre. For its part, the refectory is Gothic and stands out for its Mudejar pulpit and the wooden representation of Calvary.

But the Paular monastery still has another surprise for you. Its about cloister, which is closed and houses in its fifty-four spaces as many paintings of Vincent Carducho made between 1626 and 1632. In them, this court painter recreated scenes from the life of Saint Bruno of Cologne, founder of the Carthusians, as well as the history of this order. For a time, these paintings were distributed among different museums, but in recent years they have been returned to the monastery.

Bridge of Forgiveness

Bridge of Forgiveness

Puente del Perdón, on the route to the Purgatory Waterfalls

It was built at the end of the 14th century, although little remains of that time. The bridge we see today is the result of a reconstruction carried out in the 18th century. As we indicated, it is next to the Paular monastery and, originally, it served the monks to reach the Los Batanes paper mill. Precisely, the manufacture of this was one of the activities of the monastery.

As an anecdote, the paper on which the first part of the book was printed came from this mill. Quijote in 1605. And, since we are with curiosities, we will tell you that, it is believed, the bridge owes its name to a tragic circumstance. Due to the distance from the cities and the isolation of the area, next to it, the judgments in which the prisoners were sentenced. And these, when crossing the bridge towards the place where they were going to be executed, requested the forgiveness.

Giner de los Ríos Arboretum

Giner de los Ríos Arboretum in Rascafría

The construction is made of granite ashlar and has three semicircular arches. On its pillars, there are two rest areas with benches to sit on. Furthermore, next to the pass, you have a mansion that houses the Puente del Perdón Environmental Education Center. In this they will inform you about the activities they organize and about the routes you can take in the area. Likewise, they will guide you to visit areas such as the Giner de los Ríos Arboretum.

It is a botanical garden for the study of trees and plants that is one hectare long. It houses more than two hundred plant species that come from the five continents, but it focuses, above all, on flat-deciduous forests which are typical of humid places with marked winter temperatures.

In conclusion, we have shown you the route to the Purgatory waterfalls, which is one of the most beautiful in the Sierra de Guadarrama, In the province of Madrid. As you have seen, it combines spectacular natural beauty with interesting monuments. Even in summer, it offers you the possibility of taking a bath in The Loops. Come and enjoy this beautiful tour.

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