Ponga Natural Park covers 205km² of mountainous landscape within the Principality of Asturias.

To the north lie the Piloña Valley, the Sueve mountain range, and the Cantabrian Sea; to the east are the Picos de Europa mountains; to the south the Cordillera Cantabrica mountain range, then the table lands of León province; and to the west are the mountains and valleys of Redes Natural Park. The lowest point in the park is Sellaño village at 220m above sea-level, and the highest is the summit of Peña Tenat 2141m above sea-level.

Ponga Natural Park can be considered as three distinct sub-sections.

  • The southern part of the park covers the northern slopes of the Cordillera Cantabrica, marking the watershed between the Sella river system to the north, and the Duero to the south.
  • The western part of the park covers the eastern slopes of the Ponga mountain chain ("Cordal de Ponga") as far north as Peña Crespa, marking the watershed between the Sella river system to the east and the Nalón to the west.
  • The eastern part of the park covers the Zorro sub chain ("Cordal deZorro"), which runs from Peña Pileñes (2012m) in the south to Picu Pierzu (1551m) in the north.

The Zorro sub chain is a high ridge wedged between the Ponga river to the west, and the Sella river in the dramatic Beyos gorge to the east. This part of the park also contains a small portion of the eastern slopes of the Beyos gorge, which geographically belong to the Picos de Europa mountains.

Perhaps confusingly, not all of the Ponga mountain chain lies within the Ponga Natural Park. The western slopes of the chain are within neighbouring Redes Natural Park, and the northern reaches of thechain extend beyond the park towards the Piloña valley. The jewel inthe crown of the Ponga mountain range, however, is undoubtedly Tiatordos (1951m), the peak whose vertical rock faces not only fall within, but also dominate Ponga Natural Park.

Pongais not all about mountains however, but about what lies between. The human population of the park is centred on the deep green Ponga valley, which cleaves the park from north to south, and is home tothe borough capital of San Juan de Beleño, as well as the villages of Sellaño and Sobrefoz, and the remote outpost of Ventaniella nearits headwaters. Several tributaries feed the Ponga, each with their own settlements. The Ponga itself feeds the Sella river, their confluence in the Beyos gorge being just outside the park boundaries. The Beyos gorge is a deep narrow limestone defile, and forms the natural delineation between the Ponga area and the Picos de Europa.

To read more about the Ponga mountains, click on the chapter headings at the top of this page.