Sepúlveda, roughly 60 km (37 miles) north of Segovia on the scenic N-603 that winds through mountains and flat meadows, is a jewel of a town strewn in terraced levels along an immense, golden-colored gorge. You’ll run across few tourists in this wonderful little medieval enclave, and the locals may well cast a curious eye your way. The town is simply a nice bonus trip before exploring the nearby natural park of the River Duratón Canyons. Find the town square and then spend some time wandering through the cobbled streets that rise and fall with the lay of the land. Check out the ruined castle. There are exceptional views of the River Duratón to be had throughout town, and trails that lead a few kilometers west to a muddy dirt parking lot that declines to the frothy river where rafters unload their gear.
The brown natural park signs will point you in the right direction but, before you head out, stop by the 11th-century Romanesque Iglesia de El Salvador. The ancient church houses the natural park headquarters, the Centro de Interpretación del Parque Natural de las Hoces del Río Duratón. Rafting or kayaking this river as it winds through canyons cut in a mostly flat, arid land makes for a unique adventure. Deep, calm pools alternate with narrow stretches of rapids, with views all along of cliffs and caves, little sandy-colored homes and ruined castles atop the rim. The park is a nature preserve for vultures, so keep your eyes peeled.
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