The versatility of the Sierra Norte de Madrid allows us to do all kinds of activities in the different seasons of the year. On this occasion, and making allusions to the Spanish saying: "In February, runs the water through any water"", we propose three routes through the dams of the numerous reservoirs that are located in our territory and that, in rainy years delight us with spectacular waterfalls and waterfalls.

    In just an hour's drive from Madrid, you find unimaginable natural spaces that you didn't even imagine existed. We propose you to discover two of these unimaginable places in the Sierra Norte of Madrid, with two very different proposals, with places you can decide to visit in isolation or following our recommendations step by step. Remember that you can't come home without tasting the exquisite mountain cuisine, making a stop on the way to eat at any of the restaurants in the adjacent villages.


    RUTA 1: EL ATAZAR – THE VILLAR – OLD BRIDGES – RIOSEQUILLO (Total 25km approximately, to perform by car)

    1. Atazar Reservoir – El Atazar Dam

    It is the largest dam in the Community of Madrid, was built in 1965 and 1971 and has the capacity to supply the 46% of all the water supply to the province. Its wall is formed by a double-bending vault and has a height of 128,40 meters and a width in the coronation of 370 m. What you can't imagine is that an important network of inspection galleries of more than 8 kilometers run inside.

    You can enjoy its grandeur from the viewpoints that exist on the M-134 road, from what the panoramic views of the reservoir, the nature around it and the sunsets, they're not going to leave you indifferent.

    And if you want to enjoy from the water, you have the possibility to practice non-motorized water sports such as: Candle, Windsurfing or just taking a canoe ride. Find all the water activities here.

    Did you know that….? During the decade between the years 1975-1985, in what became known as "The UFO Wave over Spain", there were a multitude of sightings about El Atazar. There were so many, that a group of Researchers from the U.S. Phenomenon Research Center, they dedicated a special section to this reservoir in its "Operation Swamp". At the end of that decade, drought lowered the waters of the swamp and UFOs went elsewhere… Do you dare to check it out?


    2. El Villar Reservoir – The Villar Dam

    It was inaugurated in 1873 as the highest dam in Spain; is the oldest reservoir, in operation, region-wide and the entire reservoir system of the Elizabeth II Canal.

    When the reservoir exceeds the 100% of its ability, we can see one of the most impressive waterfalls in madrid's Sierra Norte, the water overflows down one of its sides in an impressive waterfall about fifty meters high as you can see in the photo below.

    The best views you will have from the M-127 road that joins Mangirón with Robledillo de la Jara.

    3. Old Bridge Reservoir – The Old Bridge Dam

    It's called that because of existence, Formerly, of two pontoons to cross it from one shore to another. It arises in 1914 because of the need to supply the capital's growing demand for drinking water, the population of the city was growing and the waters of the Villar reservoir were no longer enough to maintain demand in times of drought and summer, that's why 1914 began to build the Old Bridges dam and it wasn't until 1925 when it was completely finished and the reservoir gave way to the 100%. This dam is located on the M-135 road between Mangirón and Paredes de Buitrago.


    4. Riosequillo Reservoir

    After the Civil War, the Riosequillo Reservoir was built, that started working in 1958. The dam is more than a kilometer long and has a height of 56 meters. It is intended for power generation and supply, although its recreational use for fishing is an important tourist attraction.

    There are several paths that will take you to the reservoir from Villavieja del Lozoya, The Lozoya Square or Buitrago.


    RUTA 2: EMBALSE DE PRADILLO – PINILLA PACK (Total 18km. approximately to perform by car)

    1. Pradillo Reservoir - Pradillo Dam

    This reservoir is located in the municipality of Rascafría, in the Upper Lozoya Valley. Its river is a tributary of the Jarama and its waters are considered the most crystal clear in the area. Formerly his waterfall fed the defunct light factory, which years ago ceased to be used, However, today this leap leaves us with the wonderful stamp of how water forks the riverbed into dozens of whitish plovers.

    Climbing the dam down a small path, the reservoir that is created leaves aside the noise of the waterfall and delights you with the reflection of the summits of the Sierra de Guadarrama over the water.

    2. Pinilla Reservoir - Pinilla Dam

    It was inaugurated in 1967 and is part of the Elizabeth II Canal network. The height of the reservoir was determined by the presence of the inhabited nuclei of Pinilla del Valle and Lozoya, you can access it from any of them.

    It is enabled for realiZar water activities, so don't forget to bring comfortable sportswear that you can get wet and enjoy on the water with the companies authorized to make them.

    RUTA 3: Bike route. Our most sustainable proposal to visit the reservoirs of the Sierra Norte de Madrid.

    Madrid's Sierra Norte is always committed to nature tourism, sustainable and environmentally friendly, for this reason, other than the car routes we've proposed; we want to encourage you to take the bike and do the next tour by three of the five dams accompanying the river through its wide valley.

    route through the dams

    It's a route to do in a day, or two, if we want to take it easy, enjoy the scenery and stay in bed. In addition to the dams and reservoirs we recommend visiting the Castle and walls of the medieval village of Buitrago.

    Take advantage of rising temperatures and thaw to see nature in full boil!

    Remember that the Sierra Norte in Madrid welcomes responsible tourists.

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