In the Mont Perdu massif
To discover this amazing natural and cultural heritage, there is nothing better than exploring the site on foot. From a family walk for an hour to trekking over several days, anything is possible around the Mont Perdu. Thanks to a very good accessibility, spectacular scenic beauty is within everyone’s reach, regardless of age. The Cirques of Gavarnie and Troumouse are feasible for the whole family.
Here are some ideas for routes in relation to the classification of the site, namely the natural and cultural landscapes. You'll find ideas for walks and hikes, sometimes crisscrossing thousand-year trails. Durations are based on estimations (RT means round-trip).
Gavarnie and Gèdre are the departure points for many trails, and the Tourist Offices offer a hiking map (€1) that includes 16 ideas for family walks, such as the discovery of Notre Dame des Neiges or the moulins (mills) de Gèdre Dessus. And though discovering on foot remains the most complete way to explore the site, other activities are available in both summer and winter in this exceptional environment open to all nature lovers.
Note that vehicle access to the Cirque de Troumouse is paid from June through October, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (€5 / vehicle).
Bureau des guides (Mountain guides association)
Place de la Bergère, 65120 Gèdre
Tel : 06 83 31 08 16.
Natura (mountains guides)
Website - tel : 05 62 97 99 65 .
Walks and Hikes in the Mont Perdu massif
Careful! Before committing to a trail, make sure your physical condition is adapted to any difficulties that may arise. More information about the trails is available from the Bureau des Guides or the Maison de la Montagne, and they will be able to help you choose the most suitable trail for your level, expectations and centers of interest.
Around Gavarnie and Gèdre
Le Plateau de Saugué (1600 m) – Viewpoint
2h30 RT : Accessible from Gèdre by road toward Saussa or from Bareilles (1,300 m) along a path that climbs the grassy plateaus to the traditional barns. Very nice view of the Cirque de Gavarnie.
Bareilles (1300 m) – Granges de Hountas (1730 m, above Gèdre)
3h RT: The trail starts on the road just outside of Bareilles toward Gavarnie. The change in elevation comes quickly as the terrain enters the Plateau de Coumély (1,700 m). The trail runs along the plateau with a beautiful view over the valley once arrived at the Hountas barns. Ideal site for a picnic.
Barrage de la vallée d’Ossoue (1,834 m) - lac de la Bernatoire (2,336 m) – culture
4h, RT. By car, continue toward the Col des Tentes (Tentes Pass), then along the road (D128) toward the dam. This family walk on the ancient path that connects the French and Spanish valleys will allow visitors to appreciate the high pastures of the Ossoue Valley (see inset “Transhumance of the Bernatoire”). The more experienced can continue this walk in the footsteps of shepherds on the Spanish side to San Nicolas de Bujaruelo, then Torla, entrypoint to the Broto Valley.
Col de Tentes (2,208 m) - refuge des Sarradets (2,587 m) – viewpoint – culture
4h, RT. More difficult than the previous hike. Driving from Gavarnie, take the road D923 toward the station des Especières. Leave the car at the Col des Tentes (Tentes Pass) before embarking on the trail to the Col de Boucharo (Boucharo Pass, 2,270 m) in 20 minutes. Next, you will arrive at the Col des Sarradets (Sarradets Pass, 2,589 m) and at the refuge of the same name. This takes an estimated 1 hour, 45 minutes, one way. Perfect for visitors who want experience a night in a mountain hut (see "Mountain Refuges"). For experienced hikers, the trail crosses the border by at the Brèche de Roland (Roland’s Gap) toward the Refuge de Goriz (4h. See "Mountain Refuges"). Here, the vast high pastures mark the landscapes.
In the Cirque de Gavarnie
The Cirque de Gavarnie – With the family
3-hour loop. This easy walk goes all the way around the cirque. The trail follows the river and passes at the foot of the Turon de la Courade to La Prade Saint Jean (1,420 m). It continues by crossing a bridge to get to the Hôtellerie du Cirque (1,550, 1h10) at the heart of the cirque. A great sight! The path continues behind the hotel to the Petit Cirque de Pailla (1,742 m). Leave the Espuguettes trail on the right and go back down to Gavarnie.
Gavarnie (1,360 m) - Chalet du Soldat (1,954 m) - Viewpoint
3h30, RT. The change in elevation is not for everyone. However the walk is relatively easy to the Plateau de Bellevue (1,700 m), from which the view of the circus is ... wonderful. Visitors then arrive at the Cabane du Soldat (the name of the former military camp that was once on site).
Gavarnie (1,360 m) - refuge des Espuguettes (2,027 m)
3h30, RT. For walkers. Departure from Gavarnie, head up to the Pailla pastures (1,742 m). From there, wide switchbacks lead up to the plateau where the Refuge des Espuguettes is located. (See "Mountain Refuges").
In the Cirque d’Estaubé
Barrage des gloriettes (1,650 m) – cirque d’Estaubé (1,830 m) – with the family
2h30, RT. From Gèdre follow the route de Troumouse and turn right just before Héas. Visitors will discover an untamed cirque where many herds graze.
In the Cirque de Troumouse
Cirque de Troumouse – with the family
2h, RT. Family walk.
Departure from the parking de Troumouse, enter the cirque directly. Visitors will pass in front of the Lac des Aires (Aires Lake, 2,099 m) and then reach the Cabane des Aires (see also: mountain hut and enclosure). The biggest of the cirques attests to a long and ancient pastoral activity with its many coueyla (shelters for men and animals) or its irrigation ditches, still visible in certain places.