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Monk's Cave

Naturcleta Route Cueva del Monje (Monk's Cave)

Difficulty: Medium-Low

A circular route that leads you to a centenary corner of the mountain chain of Valsaín: La Cueva del Monje. You will be able to know its legend and enjoy the magic of its surroundings.

Naturcleta Route: Cueva del Monje (Monk's Cave)



Monk's Cave Forest Road milestone














Scot pine of Valsaín














Monk's Cave













Fountain of el Milano












 Peñalara from Monk's Cave















Monk's Cave Prairie











Natural Sculptures




DISTANCE: 12,6 km. Circular Route


DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL POINT:  Puerta de Cosíos, La Granja (South access gate to La Granja de San Ildefonso Gardens )





From Madrid:


By car:


Option A: Colmenar  road (M-607) and  M-601 up to Navacerrada Port. Then go on CL-601 road to La Granja and Segovia. Turn right at  km 8,6, just before a big poster who says “San Ildefonso”. Then continue 250 m to get  the Puerta de Cosíos.

Option B: AP-6 to La Coruña. Exit AP-61 to  Segovia. Exit  SG-20 to La Granja. CL-601 road to La Granja. Arrive to  La Granja and go on to Madrid and Navacerrada Port up to km 8,6. Turn left and continue 250 m up to  Puerta de Cosíos.


By bus:


Madrid-La Granja: Linecar (www.linecar.es)


From Segovia:


By car:


CL-601 road to La Granja. At La Granja continue to Madrid and  Navacerrada Port  up to km 8,6. Turn left and go on 250 m to get  to Puerta de Cosíos.


By bus:


Segovia-La Granja: La Sepulvedana (www.lasepulvedana.es



APPROXIMATE DURATION: 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes, plus the time we will take to enjoy the different spots we pass through.


DIFFICULTY: Easy/average








DESCRIPTION OF THE ROUTE: La Granja (Puerta de Cosíos) – Cueva del Monje – Puerta de Cosíos

      The difficulty of this route is low: a gentle ride, fit for everyone, and also ideal to make with our family. We only have to take precautions in the first part of the journey going downhill along Camino de Navalonguilla once we abandon the asphalt road that has led us to Cueva del Monje. We also need to pay attention as we cross the CL-601 that happens twice: first as we abandon the CENEAM heading for Valsaín; the second time almost at the end of the journey, after we go around the Polo Stadium of La Granja, we cross the CL-601 one more time and continue along the path that leads us to Puerta de Cosíos, where our route ends.


      The route starts at Puerta de Cosíos, the south gate giving access to the Gardens of the Palace of the Real Sitio. Opposite the gate there is a barrier, along which our way leads us to the oak forest. We start a gentle ascent along oaks and pine trees, reaching the Paso del Vado de los tres Maderos. We go ahead along the track, leaving on our left the track that leads to La Silla del Rey (route Naturcleta nº7).


      From this point to the prairie of La Cueva del Monje there is a steep slope. We need to stop at La cueva del Monje for two reasons: to enjoy the cosy prairie and to watch the magnificent views of Peñalara. After resting for a while we continue our journey along the asphalt track for about 1 km and take the path on our right towards Navalonguilla. This way leads us to CENEAM. From this point there is an asphalt road, parallel to the hillside that takes us to Valsaín. Riding down we cross the CL-601 and cross over the Valsaín bridge taking the road from Valsaín to Robledo. After a steep short ascent, we leave Valsaín and just before we get to some sharp bends, we take the vereda de Valparaíso on our right. This path leads us to Puente de las Pasaderas. We cross over the bridge and turning to our left we continue our way to La Granja through Puente del Niño and by the Polo Stadium towards the CL-601 again that leads us finally to Puerta de Cosíos, where this pleasant journey ends.





      The route wanders about an area of melojo oaks (between 1100 and 1350 m), and as we climb up the road there appears a forest of Scot pines (between 1200 m and 1900 m), the typical pine tree of the mountains of Valsaín. In the last part of the descent from Cueva del Monje to Valsaín we come across a wide area of melojo oaks.

      A very unteresting phenomenon happens to this type of oak in the mountains of Valsaín, known as marcescencia, through which we can observe the melojo oaks start losing their leaves late in October, though it is common to see how dry leaves remain in the branches for a long time during the winter. The new leaves begin to sprout quite late (mid-May); this proves how well they adapt themselves to the late snowfalls, so common in the area.




PUERTA DE COSÍOS: (point of departure and arrival), the south gate giving access to the Gardens of the Palace of the Real Sitio


FUENTE DEL MILANO: Time to stop and take a swig of fresh water. There is a table to rest an regain strength. Looking ahead we have the Cerro del Moño de la Tía Andrea, where the Silla del Rey is located. (Route Naturcleta nº 7 will take us to this point).


CUEVA DEL MONJE: Placed next to a plant nursery. According to a legend the Knight Templar Hugo de Marignac set off for France  with the secret mission to hide a treasure in Siete Picos mountain. As he reached the court in Valsaín he fell in love with Condesa Blanca, who ignored him since she was in love with Roger de Alenza. As an angry lover he wanted to give the countess a present for the palace. It was a petrified statue of Roger de Alenza. The countess did not accept it and did not want to meet Marignac any more. As a last resort to win her love he asked a monk for advice. The monk Oriel asks him to let him know where the treasure is. Marignac kills the monk and kidnaps the countess. He is chased by mounted soldiers and as Marignac and the countess reach the top of the the hill, known as Ventana del Diablo (Devil’s Window), they fall down the mountain and disappear. The legend tells that Hugo did not die and his ghost wanders about the mountains of Valsaín.


FUENTE DEL RATÓN: Stop and have a swig of fresh water. There is a table. Sit and rest. Drink with moderation.


CENEAM (ROUTE WAR LANDSCAPES): This is the Environmental Education Center. Don’t miss it; it is worth a visit. There are permanent exhibitions about the nature and landscape of Sierra de Guadarrama and we can also see a wonderful model of the old Royal Palace of Valsaín. All around it there exist several ecological trails. Park your bike and follow the signs of the route Paisajes de Guerra starting at the back of CENEAM. This route will provide us of a general overview of how the Spanish Civil War took place in the pine forest of Valsaín. Both adults and children will enjoy running around the trenches and will know a bit more about the history of Spain. http://www.magrama.gob.es/es/es/ceneam/ . Phone +34921471711.


PRAIRIE OF VALSAÍN: Close to Valsaín bridge. Remember to stop and enjoy the extraordinary views of the prairie and the mountains in the distance.


PUENTE DE LAS PASADERAS: Located at the crossroads of Camino de las Pesquerías Reales.


CAMPO DE POLO (POLO STADIUM): Built by order of Alphonse XIII, who was very fond of this sport, it was inaugurated in 1910. He played polo very few times since the Palace of La Granja caught fire in 1918 and the King decided to spend summers in another place. The last game was played  in 1934, when it fell into disuse until it reopened in October 2011, after the rehabilitation work carried out by the High Sports Council and National Heritage.



      A few suggestions will help you enjoy your ride: Bring along some water and food (dried fruit, chocolate, cereal bars). Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. And don´t forget your sunscreen lotion, above all at the central hours of the day.


      Stop at Fuente del Milano and Fuente del Ratón, where you can rest and gather strength, while drinking some fresh water.


      At Cueva del Monje it is high time to take a snack. Here you may find groups of trekkers and cyclists, due to the popularity of this route. Take every precaution while riding down. You may find others on the way. Another recommended stop is on the banks of River Eresma close to Puente de las Pasaderas.

If you happen to feel hungry, no problem! Both La Granja and Valsaín offer you a wide range of restaurants where you can taste the typical judiones  de La Granja (giant broad beans from "La Granja de San Ildefonso), lechazo (tender baby lamb), roast "cochinillo" (suckling pig), and a wide variety of delicious foods.



Naturcleta Route Map: Cueva del Monje (Monk's Cave)





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Monk's Cave

Monk's Cave

Naturcleta Route Cueva del Monje (Monk's Cave)

Difficulty: Medium-Low

A circular route that leads you to a centenary corner of the mountain chain of Valsaín: La Cueva del Monje. You will be able to know its legend and enjoy the magic of its surroundings.

Write your review