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Stage 1: Ponferrada – Santalla (11,6 km)
Albergue San Nicolás de Flüe in Ponferrada at km 0
Hostel of Ponferrada–(1)-Toral de Merayo (2): 0-5,5 km
Toral de Merayo (2)-Villalibre de la Jurisdicción (3): 5,5-8,0 (2,5 km)
Villalibre de la Jurisdicción (3)-Priaranza (4): 8,0-9,0 (1 km)
Priaranza (4)-Santalla (5): 9,0-11,6 (2,6 km)
Elevation (See Profile)
Get out of the Hostel of Ponferrada and turn to the right, follow the signs of the Way of St. James until you approach a traffic circle situated about 200 m away (photo1 km 0.2). There the French Way, for which you have to turn right, and the Winter Way, for which you have to turn left, branch off.
After travelling half kilometer, you will approach a bridge over the Boeza River (photo 2 km 0.7). Cross it and continue on the right. Pass under the Cornatel Canal (photo 3 km 1.0) and keep straight on for a kilometer until you pass in front of Pajariel sausage fabric (photo 4 km 2.0).
In that point, the road turns into a dirt path (photo 5 km 3.0) for more than 3 kilometers. Although it is signposted, there is a crossroads that might be confusing. You should take the right slope (photo 6 km 3.3). Go down this path (photo 7 km 5.0) until you get to Toral de Merayo. Follow the boundary markers (photo 8 km 5.5) until you cross the bridge over Oza river (photo 9 km 5.7) and follow the road until you reach the hand-right detour to Rimor (photo 10 km 6.2).
After 100 meters you will approach a new diversion on the right which leads to a dirt path (photo 11 km 6.3) with a steep slope (photo 12 km 6.5) delimited by boundary stones (photo 13 km 7.5). The slope takes us to Villalibre de la Jurisdicción (photo 14 km 8.1) where you should turn right as you approach the church and then straight on after the corner house (photo 15 km 8.2). The exit of Villalibre is through a dirt path (photo 16 km 8.6) to arriving to the road (photo 17 km 8.8)
Continue on the left along the road about 200 m until the entrance of Priaranza (photo 18 km 9.0). Go through the town (photo 19 km 9.7) following the boundary marks until the exit of the town (photo 20 km 10.0) by a dirt path whose slope gradually increases over 500 m (photo 21 km 10.4).
The dirt path leads to a road (photo 22 km 11.1) which you should follow on the right side for about 300 m until the Balcón del Bierzo viewpoint (photo 23 km 11.3) located at the entrance of the town Santalla (photo 24 km 11.6).
It is worth it to stop for a moment at the viewpoint, from which you can admire Barracas de Santalla, a rock formation that anticipates what we will see at Las Médulas.