15 hikes in the Pyrenees to do

Author: Clark Tos
2022-09-27 15:51:05

With this selection of 15 hikes in the Pyrenees, discover the itineraries you absolutely must do to discover this mountain range in a different way.

The essential points on hiking in the Pyrenees

To practice sports in the heart of nature and escape off the beaten track, hiking, combining physical activity and discovery, is the ideal practice. And if you are looking for an alternative to the alpine mountains, set your sights on the Pyrenees . With its sparkling lakes, verdant valleys, market towns Mountain or its steep cliffs, this mountain range, anchored between France and Spain , offers the perfect setting for hiking.

Whether you are beginners and going with children or trekking professionals, you will discover circuits with varying levels of difficulty . In any case, prepare your route carefully, in particular by downloading or creating a GPS track. You don't know which circuit to choose? Discover this selection of 15 hikes to do in the Pyrenees.

Hike n°1: the Cirque de Gavarnie

Cirque de Gavarnie landscape Credit: Monkey Production

Distance : 11 km

Difficulty level: easy

Duration: 3 hours 30

Nestled in the heart of Parc National of the Pyrenees, the circus of Gavarnie, classified UNESCO world heritage , is one of the most popular sites in the Pyrenees. Perfect for a hike with children, the route begins in the village of Gavarnie and does not involve any major difficulty. After a few hours of walking, you will discover at the end of this hiking circuit an impressive waterfall of 423 meters, the highest in France.

Hike n°2: the Bellevue plateau

Hiker in the Pyrenees Credit: margouillatphotos

Distance : 5, 5 km

Difficulty level: easy

Duration: 2 hours to 3 hours round trip

Here is another hike in the Pyrenees to do with the family. Leave your car at the starting point, in the main Gavarnie car park. At the beginning of this hike, the path is flat, rising gradually to reach the Plateau de Bellevue. From this vantage point, you enjoy an exceptional panorama made up of the Cirque de Gavarnie and the surrounding peaks. With a circuit that is mostly easy, this hike is especially suitable if you have sporty children.

Hike n°3: around the Ayous lakes

Two women touring the Ayous lakes in the Pyrenees Credit: MonikM

Distance : 15, 4 km

Difficulty level: difficult

Duration: approximately 4.5 hours

Departing from Lake Bious-Artigues, in Laruns, take this hiking route in the Pyrenees to discover the beauty of the Ayous lakes, part of the Ossau valley. Throughout your journey, admire a sublime landscape , with the Pic du Midi d’Ossau as a backdrop, punctuated by pastures, streams and mossy forests. This route will also allow you to do the wild animal encounter like marmots or izards. All you have to do is put on your hiking boots and go on an adventure.

Hike n°4: the Pic des Trois Seigneurs

View from a mountain in the Pyrenees Credit: Andreas Schoenberger

Distance : 10 km

Difficulty level: medium

Duration: 5 hours

Located near Vicdessos, the Pic des Trois Seigneurs is a circuit particularly appreciated walkers from the Ariège Pyrenees. With its summit culminating at 2199 meters above sea level, it offers an exceptional view of the high mountains to the east and west of the Pyrenees. With a moderate difficulty , the loop starts at Port de Lers. Along the way, you will discover exceptional natural resources, in particular the Arbu pond.

Hike n°5: the GR10

GR10 hiking trail Credit: NickCouldry

Distance : 866 km

Difficulty level: difficult

Duration: 52 days one way

Called ' the great crossing of the Pyrenees », the GR10 is reserved for seasoned hikers. This circuit is indeed part of the great trails Trek the longest. The departure takes place in Hendaye, on the edge of the Atlantic, and ends in Banyuls, on the edge of the Mediterranean. With a total drop of 48,000 meters, this hiking trail requires a long trip of two months, but satisfying thanks to the discovery of the most beautiful Pyrenean landscapes. Once at the end, the return can be done by another path crossing the Pyrenees, but on the side of Spain: the GR11.

Hike n°6: Lake Gaube via the Spain bridge

Lac de Gaube in the French Pyrenees Credit: vencavolrab

Distance : 8 km

Difficulty level: medium

Duration: approximately 2.5 hours

For a pleasant hike of a few hours, this route, with a drop of 371 meters, is perfect. To reach this mid-mountain lake, start the circuit from the Pont d'Espagne car park and take a path through a magnificent forest. The path is relatively easy to navigate , but the high steps can be difficult for little ones to climb. Once you arrive at the lake, you can swim if the weather permits and enjoy a splendid view of the north face of Vignemale. For a hike with children, do not hesitate to go up thanks to the chairlift. You will then only have 15 to 20 minutes to walk to get to the Lac de Gaube.

Hike n°7: La Rhune

Summit of the Rhune mountain in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Credit: Sasha64f

Distance : 10, 3 km

Difficulty level: difficult

Duration: approximately 4.5 hours

This route is one of the most popular in the Basque Country and in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. This loop hike, near Ascain and lasting around 4.5 hours depending on your pace, is considered a route with a fairly high level of difficulty. However, some sections of this hike reserve moments of tranquility.

Hike n°8: the Néouvielle lake circuit

Lac d'Aubert and Lac d'Aumar, in the Néouvielle Nature Reserve in the Pyrenees Credit: by-studio

Distance : 45 km

Difficulty level: difficult

Duration: 3 days

A true corner of paradise, the Néouvielle region is dotted with high needles, picturesque waterfalls, gentle meadows and lakes. During a three day trip , discover beautiful landscapes throughout your journey.

On the first day, go through a high pass to reach Lake Orédon, at the Glère refuge.

On the second day, hike through wild countryside with a bucolic landscape until you reach the Aygues-Cluses hut.

On the last day, go through another high pass while admiring some beautiful lakes to return to the starting point.

Hike n°9: around the Pic du Midi d’Ossau

photo of a hiker with the Midi d'Ossau in the background Credit: poliki

Distance : 17, 2 km

Difficulty level: difficult

Duration: about 6 hours

This trail is perfect for lovers of high mountain hike . This route is dominated by the ancient volcano of the Pic du Midi d'Ossau perched at 2884 meters above sea level. From the Gave de Bious, in the forest, join the Lac de Peyreget, cross the Col de l'Ion, then join the Col de Suzon. To further strengthen your legs, try climbing the summit of the Pic here. Not marked, this route however requires a Good preparation , both physically and materially. From the top, you will admire a breathtaking panorama with the Pyrenees National Park in the background.

Hike n°10: Lake Oô

Lake Oô Credit: therry

Distance : 6, 3 km

Difficulty level: medium

Duration: about 2 hours

This route is one of the most popular in the Pyrenees . It will allow you to be amazed, both along the marked path and when you arrive at Lac d'Oô. After walking along a marked trail in the forest, you will arrive at this site where a vast expanse of water with dazzling colors awaits you. As a bonus, a waterfall of nearly 300 meters and the cliffs framing the lake make this place a real natural treasure.

Hike n°11: the Cirque de Troumouse

Hiker taking a picture in the Cirque de Troumouse Credit: Oks_Mit

Distance : 12, 5 km

Difficulty level: medium

Duration: 4.5 hours

This course is one of the routes that can be taken as a family. This superb circuit at the bottom of the Cirque de Troumouse, consisting of a hilly pasture surrounded by snow-capped mountains, will allow you to immerse yourself in an exceptional wild landscape dotted with lacs .

Hike n°12: the Brèche de Roland

La Brèche de Roland in the Pyrenees Credit: Lukasz Janyst

Distance: 13 km round trip

Difficulty level: medium

Duration: 5 hours round trip

This course is part of unmissable hikes for those who dream of admiring frozen landscapes in the high mountains. From the Col de Tentes, follow this path, which takes only a few hours, and is distinguished in particular by the crossing of a glacier. During this hike in the Pyrenees, you will have to carve slopes strewn with scree, pass at the foot of a glacier and climb up to this natural gap.

Hike n°13: Lake Ilhéou

A woman on the way to Lake Ilhéou Credit: philipimage

Distance : 9, 8 km

Difficulty level: difficult

Duration: about 3 hours

Located near Cauterets, Lake Ilhéou is the perfect place for swimming and picnicking, surrounded by exceptional natural resources . Over a period of around 3 hours, cover a distance of just under 10 km to discover the largest of the lakes in the valley, in the Hautes-Pyrénées.

Hike n°14: the Basque Coastal Path

Hikers on the Basque Coastal Path Credit: Rudolf Ernst

Distance : 54 km

Difficulty level: easy to medium

Duration: the round trip will depend on how long you want to walk

Also one of the top hikes in the Basque Country, the Basque Coastal Path is also a must for discovering the Pyrenees from another angle. This route, stretching over a distance of just over 50 km, runs along the Basque Corniche, from Bidart to San Sebastian. Throughout this hike, walkers can admire the sea . The duration of the crossing will depend entirely on your walking pace. In addition, it is possible to cover only one section, for example from Saint-Jean-de-Luz to Hendaye or from Bidart to Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

Hike n°15: the Etang Bleu loop

Woman hiking on the Etang Bleu loop Credit: frantic00

Distance : 9, 5 km

Difficulty level: difficult

Duration: about 3 hours

Here is a plot perfect for lovers sports hikes. With a vertical drop of 765 meters, this route includes steep sections. Throughout your walk, you will discover a stream and climb a hill, through a picturesque circuit in a forest. Once you arrive at the Étang Bleu, located near Rabat-les-Trois-Seigneurs, in the Courbière valley, don't hesitate to take a dip to cool off.