Family bicycle route: Picadas reservoir along the old Alberche railroad line.

13 December 2023

We are back with another proposal to enjoy cycling with children, this time following part of the route of one of the 3 old railroads that run through the Community of Madrid and that are ideal for cycling: in this case, the Alberche railroad as it passes by the Picadas Reservoir, a route that in the future will become a beautiful Greenway.

Ruta en bicicleta para familias en Madrid

It is not surprising that the network of traditional roads (cattle trails, rural roads or historic paths, and also former railroad tracks such as the Greenways) have become particularly attractive cycling routes: often located in places of great beauty and natural value, their layout has always been designed to facilitate the circulation of those who once traveled them. One more story to tell our kids is that today our bicycles are going to ride along those old roads, enjoying a cultural heritage that we are going to perpetuate thanks to cyclotourism.

¿Por dónde pedaleamos hoy?

Today we propose to accompany the Alberche River just after it enters the Community of Madrid from the Sierra de Gredos, in Ávila. San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Pelayos de la Presa and Navas del Rey are perfect starting or finishing points for our route (the ideal, in fact, is to stay overnight and enjoy how much this area has to offer for children and adults).

The Alberche Greenway runs between San Martín de Valdeiglesias and the Picadas dam, with a total of 14km with different types of road surfaces and the occasional pothole. But for our outing with children, we propose the stretch between the Picadas Reservoir and the San Juan Reservoir: 6 very comfortable kilometers with a well compacted dirt road, pedaling along the shore of this important body of water that splashes the Sierra Oeste de Madrid.

Picadas Madrid Dam View

¿Qué vamos a descubrir?

As always, on our route today we will discover a lot of things: we will be traveling through the Picadas Valley between pine forests and riparian vegetation, and it will not be rare to observe the majestic flight of the black vulture… During our tour we will have to go through a small tunnel, very close to the dam, and the children will love it! (it is very short but it is quite dark and it may be a good idea to get off the bikes).

tourism bicycle Madrid

But in addition to this section, we really encourage you to complete your outing (perhaps with the support of another vehicle, being a route with children) visiting the incredible architectural heritage of the area: the castle of Coracera in San Martin de Valdeiglesias is one of the oldest in Madrid but has been beautifully restored, while the monastery of Santa Maria la Real, in Pelayos de la Presa, has that fascination of the ruins that as if by magic have come down to our days almost fused with nature.

¿Qué dificultad tiene la ruta? ¿Son pistas de tierra o asfaltadas? ¿hay circulación de vehículos a motor?

The 6 km stretch that we have marked out for our series of outings with children is of low difficulty, with no motor vehicle traffic, with a well compacted road surface and practically no slope. The route is easy to follow.

¿Qué duración tiene?

We must bear in mind that this is a linear route and that once we reach the Picadas dam, we will have to turn around and pedal the 6 km of the route in the opposite direction. Without stops and at a normal pace with the little ones, we can estimate the duration of the route at 2 hours.

¿Qué tipo de bicicleta necesitaremos?

Since it is a low difficulty route, no specific type of bicycle will be necessary. In any case, mountain bikes may be particularly suitable.

¿Qué tenemos que llevar en la mochila?

Especially when accompanied by children, it is essential to have a good backpack ready and to know what you can forget. We leave you here our article with some tips.

¿Qué servicios puedo encontrar a lo largo de la ruta?

kayaking activities San Juan reservoir Madrid
Photo by Yucalcari Aventura

The section that we propose runs in the middle of nature, without establishments along its 6Km of route. However, the San Juan reservoir (which some call “the beach of Madrid”) is full of leisure and active tourism options. In addition, the towns we have mentioned have a wide range of accommodation and restaurants, and in fact our partners in the area (we leave below their references) are specially equipped to receive cyclists.

¿Cuál es la mejor época del año para hacer esta ruta?

It is a very pleasant route at any time of the year. In summer, the vegetation and the presence of water quench the heat, while in spring, autumn and winter the countryside greens up and the landscape becomes sometimes misty and fascinating. You will like it when you go, for sure.

Ruta organizada y servicios

🚣🏻‍♀️ 🚲 Además de muchas actividades de turismo y aventura en el entorno del Embalse de San Juan, en Yucalcari Aventura podrás alquilar bicicletas si las necesitas para hacer esta ruta.

🛏️ Para descansar después de vuestra ruta, una gran opción es el hotel boutique Hacienda la Coracera, en San Martín de Valdeiglesias. Además, tienen cafetería, un excelente restaurante, y un espacio especialmente habilitado para sus clientes cicloturistas.

Os dejamos este vídeo de nuestro viaje a la Sierra Oeste de Madrid hace unos meses, cuando también recorrimos esta ruta junto a la presa de Picadas. Nosotros esta vez fuimos sin niños, pero también disfrutamos muchísimo!

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