Note: there are some days where the guided trip varies from the self-guided trip. In these instances we have pointed out the variations.
Day 1: Cauterets
The trip starting point is at the hotel in Cauterets with a chance to have a look around the busy, attractive little spa town in the evening. On the guided tour you’ll meet your guide for a welcome drink and orientation. We’ll provide detailed information in your Trip Planner regarding how to transfer to the start of the tour. The airports for this trip in order of size and distance from Cauterets are Lourdes, Pau, and Toulouse. Overnight in Cauterets.
Day 2: Gaube Valley – Cauterets
For the first of our hikes in the French Pyrénées National Park, we’ll take a shuttle bus for the short ride up to the Pont d’Espagne (1460 meters) and then a short chair lift ride into the Gaube Valley where it is possible to reach the Refuge des Oulettes and look across to the glacier at the base of the Vignemale, at 3219 meters the highest mountain in the French Pyrénées. 14 kilometers, 5 ½ - 6 hours, ascent 490 meters, descent 490 meters, highest altitude 2150 meters. Overnight in Cauterets.
Day 3: Marcadau Valley – Cauterets
We take a cable car directly from Cauterets, then a chair lift up to the Crete du Lys (2303 meters) after which we enjoy a hike down to the Lac d’Ilheou and then zigzag up to the Col de Haugade before traversing to the remote Lacs de L’Embarrat. From there we drop down steeply into the Marcadau Valley renowned for its herds of wild “Isards” to Refuge Wallon. Then a moderate descent of the valley brings us to the Pont d’Espagne and a bus ride back to Cauterets. 18 kilometers, 5 ½ hours, ascent 400 meters, descent 1200 meters, highest altitude 2378 meters. This circuit is only possible when the cable car is operating, which is the period from early July until the end of August. Outside of that period an alternative route will be suggested by the guide.
Take either a shuttle bus or a taxi for the short ride up to the Pont d’Espagne (1460 m) the starting point for this hike into the French Pyrénées National Park. The route ascends the Marcadau Valley renowned for its herds of wild “Isards” and reaches the Refuge Wallon. 18 km, 5 ½ hrs, ascent 410 m, descent 410 m, highest altitude 1865 m.
Overnight in Cauterets.
Day 4: Lac des Gloriettes to Gèdre or Cirque de Troumouse to Gèdre
Self-Guided Trip: Lac des Gloriettes to Gèdre
A taxi will take you from the hotel directly to the parking lot on the edge of the Lac des Gloriettes (1670m). After a hike around the lake the route gently climbs the valley leading to the delightful Cirque d’Estaubé where marmots are often seen. After returning to the lake a path leads along to a viewpoint high above the valleys before leading down to the village of Gèdre. 15kms, 5 hrs, ascent 300 m, descent 950m.
Guided Trip: Cirque de Troumouse to Gèdre
A taxi will take us from the hotel directly to the Cirque de Troumouse. From the drop off point at 2103 meter there will be time to explore this magnificent four kilometers diameter natural amphitheater dominated by the Pic de la Munia (3133 meters) and the Pic de Troumouse (3085 meters). After exploring the area, the route continues, descending a trail past the Lac des Gloriettes to the quaint, small village of Gèdre, where our bags will be waiting for us. 18 kilometers, 5 ½ hours, ascent 340 meters, descent 1400 meters, highest altitude 2132 meters. Meals: breakfast and dinner.
Overnight in Gèdre.
Day 5: Gèdre to Gavarnie
Heading south from the village we approach Gavarnie (1400 meters) via footpaths over grazing land with magnificent views. Your bags will be shuttled from Gèdre and will be waiting for you on your arrival in Gavarnie. The full day hike is about 20 kilometers, 6 hours, ascent 930 meters, descent 530 meters, highest altitude 1881 meters. The hike can be shortened to 13 kilometers, 4 hours, ascent 650 meters, descent 250 meters, highest altitude 1647 meters. Overnight in Gavarnie.
Day 6: Cirque de Gavarnie
We’ll spend the day hiking at Gavarnie and have a choice of hikes. The easier is a circular route exploring both sides of the valley via the “Plateau de Bellevue” and the “Chemin d’Espuguettes” with a chance to hike to the foot of the “Grande Cascade”. 18kms, 5 ½ hrs, ascent 930 m, descent 930 m.
By good weather and a taxi ride up to the Col des Tentes (2208m) it is possible reach, via a small glacier, the famous "Brêche de Roland” - a huge natural doorway in the cliffs which form the border between France and Spain. The return path to Gavarnie takes us over the “Plateau de Bellevue” with great views into the Cirque de Gavarnie. 16km, 6 ½ hrs, ascent 620 m, descent 1400 m, highest altitude 2807 m.
Overnight in Gavarnie.
Important – for the next two nights in Spain baggage transfer is not feasible due to the 163 kilometer distance by road. Bags can be left safely locked at the hotel at Gavarnie and you will need to carry what you need with you for two nights.
Day 7: Col d’Epecières – Torla (Spain!)
You'll take a taxi up to the Col des Tentes (2208 meters) to the start of the hike. The route soon passes a lake and the Col d’Epecières (2344 meters) into the Aragon region of Spain. A long, gentle and varied descent takes us over grassy meadows and woodland down to the delightful small town of Torla. 18 kilometers, 5 ½ hours, ascent 400 meters, descent 1570 meters, highest altitude 2344 meters. Overnight in Torla.
Day 8: Ordesa Canyon - Torla
We’ll take a short shuttle bus ride up into a National Park and the Ordesa Canyon, a huge glacier carved-valley with side walls rising 1000 meters above the valley floor. After a well graded ascent the route reaches the “Faja de Pelay” – an almost level 8 kilometer balcony path with extraordinary views across the canyon towards the high frontier mountains. At the head of the valley a waterfall marks the return point along the valley floor. 20 kilometers, 6 1/2 hours, ascent 870 meters, descent 870 meters, highest altitude 1980 meters. Overnight in Torla.
Day 9: Col de Boucharo – Gavarnie (Return to France)
The return from Torla to Gavarnie is shortened by using transport part of the way back up the valley to the Bujareulo Bridge. From there it is a 2 ½ hour ascent back to the border with France at the Col de Boucharo, after which the route follows the charming Pouey-Aspé Valley wending its way down to the village of Gavarnie. 14 km, 5 ¼ hours, ascent 1020 meters, descent 1000 meters, highest altitude 2273 meters. Overnight in Gavarnie.
Day 10: Gavarnie
After breakfast, you’ll leave Gavarnie. We will provide information and assistance in booking return transportation to the airport or other points.
Please bear in mind that the actual hikes may vary due to as yet unknown special events, weather or trail conditions.