PYRENEES NATIONAL PARK TREK
Our maps and notes, your trek
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The Pyrenees National Park trek described here is in our backyard. We keep in touch with conditions on the route and we are on hand for any logistical support that you may require during your week. The trek crosses five valleys in five days, all within the French Pyrenees National Park. Setting out from Cauterets you head into the Gaube Valley underneath the Vignemale, the highest mountain in the French Pyrenees at 3298m. Your second day takes you up to the Petit Vignemale at 3032m and down to the Baysellance Refuge, the highest refuge in the French Pyrenees. The long descent to Gavarnie down the Ossoue Valley introduces you to pastoral life in the high Pyrenees and you then have three days discovering the three magnificent glacial cirques of the high central Pyrenees.
850€ pp (min 2p)
This price includes :
• 7 nights accomodation in hostels & refuges
• All dinners, breakfasts & picnic lunches
• Collection in Lourdes and transport to Cauterets
• Collection from Héas on the last day
• Marked maps & walks notes
• Full briefing on weather and snow conditions
• private rooms are possible on night one and six generally, an upgrade to hotels is possible on night seven (+10€pp for B&B in hotel instead of half board in the hostel).
• refuge accommodation is in dorm rooms (no private rooms possible).
• there are no showers (communal toilets and washbasins only) on night two, three and five.
• an alternative option is the Gavarnie Balconies Trek which has showers every night except one.
We collect you in Lourdes and drive you to Cauterets for your briefing and your first night in a gite d’etape (similar to hostel accommodation) in this charming spa town.
Leave Cauterets (1000m), climb to the Pont d’Espagne (1500m), then up to Lac de Gaube (1731m) and on to the Oulettes Refuge (2151m) for the night. The Lac de Gaube is an excellent spot for a picnic lunch and swim. This is a relatively easy 4-6 hour day with stops.
From the Oulettes Refuge (2151m) it is a steep but short climb to the Hourquette d’Ossoue (2734m). Here you can leave your bags and climb the 300m to the Petit Vignemale (3032m), a real achievement. You return via the same path and then descend to the Baysellance Refuge (2651m). A steeper, more difficult day, but worth every bit of the 5-6 hours.
From Baysellance (2651m) you have a long descent through the Ossoue Valley to La Grange d’Holle, the national park refuge just outside Gavarnie (1538m). You pass underneath the Ossoue glacier and past the caves that eccentric Irish-French count Henri Russell ordered dug in the side of the mountain. Another 7-8 hour day.
From the refuge at 1538m you walk all around the spectacular Gavarnie Cirque and up to the Espugettes Refuge at 2027m. You have wonderful views from here onto the frontier peaks and the Breche de Roland. The balcony paths you follow have very few people compared to the masses that walk along the main path (which you will experience for about 300m). Option to walk to the foot of the ‘Grand Cascade’, the waterfall with the highest vertical drop in Europe outside Norway. A visually spectacular 5-6 hour day.
From the Espugettes refuge (2027m) you climb to the Hourquette d’Alans (2430m), the entry point into the Estaubé Cirque. From here you walk down to the Gloriettes Dam (1622m). The dam is not great for swimming but there is a small bridge and stream beforehand which makes a good lunch spot. Then you have longish traverse across towards the Troumouse Cirque and descent to the hamlet of Héas (1519m). There is a lovely auberge here, a real treat after the refuges, and Héas is a pretty pastoral hamlet with an interesting chapel. An extension option on this day allows you to take in the Piméné peak before descending into Estaubé. A 7-8 hour day.
Walk from Héas (1519m) up into the Troumouse Cirque (2133m), a relatively easy last day which allows plenty of time for lunch beside the lakes on the plateau. We collect you either from the top carpark there, or from back at the auberge, and then drive you back down to Luz and your gite d’étape for the night. Check the bus timetable with us for your departure the next day.
Catch the bus out of Luz to Lourdes. Connect with your transport there.