Hiking to Cascata do Arado:
On our fourth morning in Gerês we woke refreshed having had a more relaxing day three where we visited Fafião the “village of lobos” in the morning and relaxed at our refugio for the afternoon. So, armed with a newly created GPX I headed off on a solo hike to see the Cascata do Arado.
Cascata do Arado
The first section of this hike was familiar to me, it was the same route I had taken on day one when I visited Miradouro da Pedra Bela. So without rehashing that trail description, a quick version is that from Gerês I followed the PR3 Trilho dos Currais all the way to Lomba do Vidoeiro, which was about three kilometres from where I started at the Northern edge of Gerês. In the photo below, the red arrow on the right is pointing to that trail (PR3) and the red arrow on the left is pointing to a trail sign (close up of this also below) where I headed next (GR50):
So I followed the trail from the sign above, leaving the open grass area behind me and enjoying the lovely narrow trail:
After about one kilometre I encountered some friendly cows who were enjoying a rest in the morning sun and a good munch. They were in the same area the last day I hiked this route too:
This section of the trail is mostly flat and shaded and so pretty!
I continued on the well worn trail for another 1.5 kilometres:
Then I took a left turn and started my out and back to the Cascata do Arado. Lovely scenery throughout this hike:
I descended about 120 metres, again on a very well worn easy to follow marked trail and then emerged onto a forest road where I saw fellow hikers for the first time that day. When you emerge onto the forest road turn left and walk along the forest road with the river on your right (although there was not much water in the river when I was there) and after around 300 metres (kilometre seven for me) you will arrive at a bridge.
Note: If I had turned right when I emerged onto the forest road (instead of left) and followed the forest road in that direction, there are other hikes that start from there. You can hike to the Miradouro das Rocas and the Cascata da Rajada and the Miradouro Silhas. I am definitely going to hike to these points next time! Here is a photo that I took from the trail that I hiked of the lookouts in the distance.
The photo below is taken from the bridge over the river looking up stream towards the waterfall:
And looking down stream:
At the bridge you will see the signpost for the Cascata do Arado in front of you. The trail to the waterfall is to the left and it is a short trail to reach it.
The next photo I took while walking up the short trail to the waterfall and I was looking back the way I had come. The red arrow is pointing to the forest road that I followed to the waterfall and you can see the aforementioned bridge too:
The sign at the Cascata do Arado:
And there it is!
Having seen the waterfall I walked back to the forest trail and followed it back to the hiking trail from which I had come. I then started my climb back up. Unfortunately for me, it was at this point I found myself sharing the trail with a herd of goats.
The goats however were not the issue - the super aggressive guard dog that watched over the herd was! He pretty much chased me back down the trail barking aggressively the whole time until he was happy that I was far enough away from the herd. I took the opportunity to sit down and have something to eat, hoping to put some space between the goats and I and this very grumpy dog. After maybe ten to fifteen minutes I started slowly hiking again but it wasn’t long before I came upon the goats again (they move VERY slowly, a leisurely stroll).
I continued walking slowly along keeping my eyes peeled for the dog but he seemed to be at the front of the herd and I was at the back with the goat stragglers who were stopping to munch every few steps.
Because of this, keeping my pace slow I managed to make it to the top of the climb before the dog spotted me again, started barking and quickly started heading my way. It was at this point that my watch buzzed alerting me to a left turn coming up and thankfully I was leaving the hiking trail that the goats were taking (the same one I had followed earlier that morning from Lomba do Vidoeiro) and veering off onto another hiking path. I took my left turn as the dog closed in but seeing me turn he stopped and stood guard watching me (and barking) to make sure I wasn’t following the goats. I am not generally afraid of dogs, I am actually a dog lover, but I was chased by two Estrela mountain dogs while hiking already and now am wary of the “herd/shepard dogs”. I really wanted to avoid this happening again but boy the goat guard dog was adamant that I was a threat no matter how much I tried to avoid him and the damn goats. The goats were super cute though… silver lining and all that!
The next part of the trail continued through forest and again I found myself hiking some of the trail that I had hiked on Day 1.
1.5 kilometres after I escaped the dog I was back walking the short distance on a tarmac road to the Miradouros da Pedra Bela and of course I couldn’t hike past the Miradouros da Pedra Bela without taking another look and a few photos!
From here I again followed the trail that I had hiked on Day 1 back to Gerês which, as aforementioned, you can read about here if you want!
What a great hike, 14 kilometres in total and despite my run in with the dog, overall it was super enjoyable - how could you not love deserted trails and views like this!