Nordic skiing and snowshoeing

Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are becoming increasingly popular and are one of the most interesting ways of getting to know the peaks of the Sierra de Guadarrama in winter.

Esquí de fondoUnder the generic name of Nordic skiing, we can group different modalities whose common characteristics could be the absence of facilities and infrastructures (unlike in the alpine ski) and the way to fix the boots to the skis, permitting to let heels untied.

The two best known modalities are cross-country skiing and mountain skiing.

Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are becoming more and more popular and they are one of the most interesting ways to get the summits of the Sierra de Guadarrama in winter, as they allow to reach sites and trails which are almost inaccessible when snowfall is copious.

 {tab Cross country skiing}

Cross-country skiing has more and more enthusiasts looking for a different way of carrying out a very aerobic sport adaptable to all types of physical condition, being the skier himself the one who puts limits. Until a few years ago, it was not possible to practice it in Guadarrama, because the means did not exist.

Since the restoration the Community of Madrid carried out, and further to the Valcotos alpine ski resort removal, this enjoyable use of snow has been boosted, enabling a circuit up to 5 km long in La Pradera area, at los Cotos Pass. This track, if snow conditions permit it, is stepped on to get a circuit for the classic and skater modalities. It is accessed from the North edge of Los Cotos car parking lot and remains open until the beginning of snow maintenance works, for the safety of users. It has a beginner’s zone.

Access is free, while companies having commercial purposes must apply for authorization at the Peñalara Visitors Center, as well as groups of more than 10 people. This rule aims to rationalize the use of winter recreation area, to ensure all citizens enjoyment and recreation. Likewise, companies wishing to use this track for their activities must have certified monitors.

To avoid conflict with other users and to maximize using time, there is a specific regulation which does not allow the passage of dogs and pedestrians, nor is it permitted to use sleds. There are other areas for those purposes.

{tab Mountain or cross-country skiing}

This practice is permitted under all modalities in the territory of the National Park except in the Reserve Zones and in temporary restricted areas, for conservation or management reasons. Progression and descent techniques are different from those of alpine skiing, so it is convenient to get a deep knowledge on them by means of initiation courses as well as to rely on the help of monitors, guides, etc.

Since this skiing modality of skiing is suitable on any slope, be very careful in areas having different types of snow and where ice sheets are formed, because they can cause accidents. Since it is practiced in non-treaded areas, avalanches or landslides are possible, so it is recommended to carry the necessary material such as a snow probe, a small shovel, ARVA or a locating system in case of avalanche, appropriate clothing, a telephone with a charged battery and the essential equipment to withstand unforeseen losses, accidents, etc.

Always check avalanche risk. If you ski with a group, take special care in the possible breakage of the snow plates, so try to go in line and not in parallel.

It is usual that at the end of the season descents are made along the channels in which the snow lasts more time; make sure you will not have to go through zones in which the transit is prohibited, such as the Peñalara Reserve Zones.

{tab Snowshoes}

Ascensión con raquetas de nieveThe enjoyment of the snow on snowshoes is perhaps the most pleasant and simple way to cross the National Park. As with cross-country skiing, visiting to the National Park on snowshoes is free throughout the whole territory, except in the Reserve areas. It is an activity permitting to reach almost all points of the Park, but whose easy use should not make us forget the hard of mountain in winter, and the danger of ice sheets.

Apart from the fact it is more and more frequent that visitors have this type of equipment, there are several points where they can be rented, such as Navacerrada Pass, Cotos, Valdesquí and Navafría, in addition to the numerous clubs and tourism companies offering guided tours to groups and individuals.

Group visitors of more than 15 participants must be notified to: Peñalara Visitors Center Tel. 918 520 857. This rule seeks to organize and rationalize the use of winter recreation area and to ensure all citizens the enjoyment and pleasure.


More activities in the park

Winter ascents

Discover the main sectors where you can practice all types of alpine winter ascents.

Walking routes

A selection of trails to discover different areas of the national park.

Hiking areas suitable for kids

Relatively short routes with little slope.

Escalada en roca

La Sierra de Guadarrama, y especialmente La Pedriza, es una de las escuelas y zonas de escalada más importantes del país.

Geology hikes

Routes to discover the outstanding geological sites of the national park.

Ornithology hikes

Routes to enjoy birdwatching.

Nordic skiing and snowshoeing

Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are becoming increasingly popular and are one of the most interesting ways of getting to know the peaks of the Sierra de Guadarrama in winter.

Botanic Hikes

Routes through the most interesting botanical sites in the national park.