The 13 Best Hikes in the Pyrenees


Last Updated on 10/01/2023 by Alfred

Need to blow in the mountains? The best hikes in the Pyrenees are presented here.

The Pyrenees form an imposing mountain range between France and Spain. They separate the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of the European continent in the most beautiful way.

This majestic massif represents an ideal alternative to the Alpine mountains. You can ski, discover real heritage treasures, and of course, walk there. Between steep cliffs, picturesque mountain villages, and large green valleys, the Pyrenees are one of the most enchanting territories to explore.

Our team has decided to present you with the most beautiful hikes in the Pyrenees. From the most famous itineraries to the most secret, you will inevitably find your happiness. Water bottles filled, backpack tightly closed, top start!

1. The great waterfall of Gavarnie

  • Duration: about 4 hours
  • Distance: 11.6 km
  • Height difference: 778 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

The route of this hike in the Pyrenees takes you to the prestigious circus of Gavarnie. You will walk towards the great waterfall of Gavarnie. Measuring 423 meters, it is the largest waterfall in metropolitan France and one of the highest in Europe.

From the center of the village, the trail is well-marked to your goal and has no major difficulties. Plan something to cover yourself: the waterfall tends to wet its hosts of the day! The way back will allow you to admire the circus of Gavarnie in all its majesty.

2. Lake Gaube via Pont d’Espagne

  • Duration: about 2h30
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Height difference: 371 m
  • Difficulty: Medium

Welcome to Cauterets to start this hike in the Pyrenees. The route starts at the Pont d’Espagne and its waterfalls and follows a rather easy path to Lake Gaube.

Be careful, in winter it can be closed because of the snow! In summer you can swim there and enjoy the place. The lake also offers a splendid view of the highest massif of the French Pyrenees, the Vignemale.

If you still want more, know that the famous GR51 is nearby. Put on your boots, and let’s go!

3. The path of the waterfalls of the Pont d’Espagne

  • Duration: about 2h30
  • Distance: 8.9 km
  • Height difference: 472 m
  • Difficulty: Medium

This route is a shorter variant of the previous one. It allows you to discover six beautiful waterfalls: of the Pont d’Espagne, Mauhourat, Pouey Bacou, Boussès, Escane-Gat and Ceriset.

Start from the Griffons Thermal Baths to the Pont d’Espagne. The route is perfect for children but be sure to equip yourself with high shoes: the trail is stony. In summer, you will appreciate the freshness of the place and the spray generated by these spectacular waterfalls. Beautiful photos in perspective!

Complete this hike in the Pyrenees with a visit to Cauterets, one of the most beautiful villages in the region.

4. The Pic du Midi de Bigorre and Lake Oncet

  • Duration: about 4h30
  • Distance: 14 km
  • Height difference: 857 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

It is in Super Barèges that your journey begins, more precisely at the unmissable Col du Tourmalet. The first part of this hike in the Pyrenees takes you to the pretty Lake Oncet: this portion is easy and ideal for a family with children.

Beware of the rest: rather steep, the trail reserves some aches and pains on arrival … On the other hand, what a view on your arrival on the Pic du Midi de Bigorre!

Two viewpoints will offer you sumptuous panoramas of the massif. Note that this route will preferably be done between May and October to avoid snow and ice…

5. The trail of the tour of the lakes of Ayous

  • Duration: about 4h30
  • Distance: 15.4 km
  • Height difference: 829 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Welcome to Laruns in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques for this route starting at Lake Bious-Artigues. You will go around the lakes of Ayous, which are part of the Ossau valley, in the former principality of Béarn.

Including some frank climbs, this course can be done from April to October without worries. You can also swim while enjoying the beautiful view of the north face of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau.

Pastures line the trail and many animals accompany your walking journey… This hike in the Pyrenees is an unforgettable moment!

6. Lake Ilhéou

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 9.8 km
  • Height difference: 612 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

If you are wondering, look no further: Lake Ilhéou is located near Cauterets in the Hautes-Pyrénées. Located at 1,976 meters above sea level, it is the largest of the lakes in the valley. The itinerary we offer is ideal during the summer season.

Lake Ilhéou is the perfect place to picnic and swim, although the water is quite cool. This hike in the Pyrenees will take you to the lake following a rather easy walking trail if it does not rain!

Bring proper clothing and good shoes and remember to check the weather conditions before you leave.

7. The Blue Pond Loop

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 9.5 km
  • Height difference: 765 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

Here is a hike in the Pyrenees rather sporty. Featuring steep areas, the route will take you to the Étang Bleu, a body of water located near Rabat-Les-Trois-Seigneurs in the Courbière valley.

You will walk along a stream and then climb the hill along a picturesque forest trail. The path will take you to the Jasse de l’Étang Bleu where a picnic is essential, and swimming can be considered.

Green meadows, wild animals, and sublime views of the Ariège mountains will beautifully enhance this friendly walk.

8. The tour of the Pic du Midi D’Ossau

  • Duration: about 6 hours
  • Distance: 17.2 km
  • Height difference: 1,016 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

A typical high mountain hike, does it tempt you? The 2,884 meters of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau overlook this prestigious route in the heart of Béarn.

You will start with the Gave de Bious in the forest and then pass by the Lake of Peyreget, reach the Col de l’Ion then the Col de Suzon. The most athletic can try the ascent of the summit at this place …

Then the Magnabaigt pass will be one of the most beautiful sections of the course. You will be able to admire beautiful mineral plateaus and witness the movements of herds in pastures. Wow!

9. Lake Oô

  • Duration: about 2 hours
  • Distance: 6.3 km
  • Height difference: 376 m
  • Difficulty: Medium

This hike in the Pyrenees of Lake Oô is perfectly accessible, whatever your physical condition. The route is quite short and will take you to Lake Oô, an artificial body of water.

The panorama at the finish is well worth the small difference in altitude to face. Especially since the route is done in the forest following a well-marked path. A waterfall of nearly 300 meters is on arrival but swimming is prohibited due to the presence of a dam…

Regardless, you will be amazed by admiring the Haute-Garonne valley on your return.

10. Lake Pombie

  • Duration: about 5 hours
  • Distance: 13.4 km
  • Height difference: 1,286m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

This hike starts with a footbridge to a trail leading to the Soum de Pombie pass. Just opposite, the Pic du Midi d’Ossau rises proudly: that’s your goal!

Continue to the refuge of Pombie which announces the beginning of the adventure: indeed, it will be necessary to put your hands to climb beautiful chimneys. Not yet mountaineering but more quiet hiking…

A large iron cross announces the Signal of the Gate; the summit is already far away. A sublime panorama awaits you throughout the Pyrenees. Splen-dide!

11. The peak of the Arraing from Balacet

  • Duration: about 2 hours
  • Distance: 7.6 km
  • Height difference: 723 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

This hike in the Pyrenees takes a forest trail and then a ridge path offering spectacular landscapes on the Pyrenees. The climb is rough to the peak of the Arraing, but the panoramic view will make you forget the sore calves, believe us!

A long ridge course with beautiful views precedes a descent through the Biros State Forest to your starting point.

12. The peak of Anie from the refuge of aberouat

  • Duration: about 5 hours
  • Distance: 14 km
  • Height difference: 1,165 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

The Pic d’Anie is 2,507 meters above sea level and is located near the Spanish border. This mountain is remarkable for its pyramidal shape. The trail to climb it is rather difficult and requires mountain hiking equipment.

From the Cirque de Lescun in the Aspe Valley, a crossing in the forest will take you to the lunar landscapes of the massif. Prefer to go there in the summer season: given the exposure, the snow lasts a long time!

13. The peak of Soularac and Saint-Barthélémy

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 10.6 km
  • Height difference: 977 m
  • Difficulty: Difficult

This hike in the Pyrenees will take you to the Pic de Soularac and the Pic de Saint-Barthélémy. Their ascent sometimes requires “putting your hands” but what does it matter to admire the Tabe massif from the top?

The route starts at the Lauze car park near a talc quarry (the largest in the world!) and then climbs the southern ridge of Soularac to its summit. You will then reach the Pic Saint-Barthélemy.

Throughout your progress, mountain lakes and the sublime view of the Pyrenees accompany you. What more could you ask for?

Alfred

Alfred is the author behind the Travelvibe travel blog and is always searching for the quieter, less-visited corners of the world.

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