After reluctantly leaving Cuenca, I headed northeast into the mountains of the Serranía de Cuenca National Park, established in 2007 in the Castille-LaMancha region of Spain. I was driving up to a town called Tragacete to find waterfalls near the head of the Júcar River. It was a gorgeous drive with stunning views and whimsical rock formations lying around the fir and juniper trees. Just past a town called Uña, I came across a gorgeous lagoon. Like so many other lakes and rivers I have seen in Spain, this one also had the same milky turquoise color. It must be from high mineral content as the water is very hard.
After winding through numerous gorges on what felt like a thousand switchbacks, I finally made it to Tragacete. For some reason I was imagining a cool little town full of tourists and restaurants with verandas overlooking the river (#1 rule of traveling…let go of expectations so you can see what you are supposed to see). What I found instead was a tiny deserted town with almost every business closed and two restaurants that seemed to be open but were not at all inviting. So I skipped that lovely lunch and cold beer I had conjured up in my head and found a sign pointing to the “casades” about 2km up a narrow dirt road.
The weather was quite gloomy and damp and for a minute I considered blowing off this excursion, but I had come this far so no point turning back. On up the hill I finally found the entrance for the footpath to the waterfall. It was impressively well-maintained with sturdy wooden handrails along the more perilous parts of the trail. The walk was luscious…everything was so green and the fall was beautiful and loud and a bit eerie. I was the only person there. So worth the effort.