Last Updated on 10/01/2023 by Alfred
Are you looking for the ideal trail to discover the Rhune, the emblematic summit of the French Basque Country? We tell you everything in this article!
Imposing and mysterious, the Rhune attracts many hikers every year… But not only! Indeed, the little train of the Rhune allows making the ascent effortlessly, which makes the site very busy. In this article, we present the 6 best hikes to do at the Rhune, from the most classic trails to the least crowded.
A unique journey among the sheepfolds and pottoks, which leads to a 360° panorama of the entire Basque Country and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
1. The Rhune from the Col de Saint-Ignace
Distance: 9.8 km
Altitude difference: 843 meters
Very busy, the trail starts at the station of the little train of the Rhune. To be quiet, it is better to leave early in the morning or in the off-season.
If the first 45 minutes are difficult, this hike to the Rhune is well worth it! On the way, admire the Redoute de Mouiz, a Napoleonic fortification. Enjoy the view: on one side, it reaches the Landes beaches and on the other, the mountains of Ossau.
Once at the top, you have the option to take the small train down to your starting point.
2. The Rhune from the Lizuniaga Pass via the Venta Negra
Distance: 12.4 km
Elevation gain: 794 meters
Want to avoid the little cogwheel train and the crowd that accompanies it? This hike to the Rhune is a good alternative. If the climb is sporty, the game is worth the candle.
You will have understood it by reading this article: the reward, that is to say the panorama at the top of the Rhune, is breathtaking. This does not mean that the views on the course deserve it!
And then you will have the opportunity to rest during the descent, very gentle, among the larch trees.
3. The Rhune from Ascain
Distance: 7.7 km
Altitude difference: 756 meters
This hike to the Rhune is reserved for motivated hikers. Quite difficult, especially on the last kilometer, it offers the advantage of being quite uncrowded. Still, expect to see people at the top, especially when the little train is open.
Bring shoes suitable for rocky paths and a bottle of water: the trail is not very shaded. In addition to the superb panorama at the top, some surprises await you. We think in particular of the encounters with the pottoks, the emblematic Basque ponies!
4. The Rhune from Sare
Distance: 7.4 km
Altitude difference: 684 meters
The advantage of this hike to the Rhune is that it is very little frequented while presenting moderate difficulty. The natives are almost the only ones to borrow it. On the way, you will have the opportunity to admire lush vegetation. Indeed, when spring arrives, a profusion of wildflowers colors the landscape. The arrival on the breach of Athekaleun is then splendid.
Of course, you find the crowd at the top. But the view of the Basque Country is so beautiful that even the loneliest hikers will enjoy the experience!
5. The Rhune from Olhette
Duration: about 4 hours
Distance: 10.32 km
Altitude difference: 781 meters
Cross the Spanish border to reach the summit of the Rhune. The climb is not too difficult, the path well signposted, and the trail less frequented.
You have the possibility to make a stop at the Venta Yasola to eat. Remember to book, especially in high season!
During this hike to the Rhune, you will have the opportunity to admire superb landscapes. The fauna is also worth a visit: wild ponies, flocks of sheep, vultures… magnificent!
6. The Rhune from the Ihizelai plateau
Duration: about 4 hours
Distance: 11.4 km
Elevation gain: 790 meters
The advantage of this hike to the Rhune is that it draws a loop! The departure is in Ascain to enjoy the uncrowded trails and landscapes. Then, we cross the plateau of Ihizelai and the ridges of Miramar. Between the ocean, sheepfolds, streams, and pottoks, it is a real dive into the Basque soul that is offered to you!
The hike does not present any particular difficulty but is nevertheless reserved for good walkers. To find your way around, we advise you to bring a map.