Complete a circuit of the majestic Pic du Midi d’Ossau, icon of the French Pyrenees.
Hiking amid magnificent alpine scenery, with lush valleys and clear mountain lakes.
Look out for chamois, marmots and birds of prey.
Stay in a comfortable hotel and friendly mountain huts.
Hiking the Pic du Midi d’Ossau: self-guided walking in the French Pyrenees
On this 5-day walking holiday you will hike around the towering, rocky summit of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau. The Tour du Pic du Midi d’Ossau is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful short mountain hikes in the French Pyrenees. The 2,884 m Pic du Midi is an iconic mountain which towers above the Ossau Valley, not far from the city of Pau in southwestern France. The mountain’s distinctive shape makes it an emblem of the French Pyrenees.
The hike starts and ends at the Col du Pourtalet, a 1,800 m high mountain pass on the French/Spanish border. The pass connects the Valle de Tena in the south with the Val d’Ossau in the north and has been used by people and herds since Neolithic times. During your three hiking days, you will enjoy the magical scenery of the rugged high mountains, with breathtaking viewpoints over incredibly beautiful mountain lakes.
Please note that, due to the terrain and lack of road access luggage transportation is not possible on this trip.
|5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS||€450 per person sharing*
*Discounts available for groups of 3 or more. Please enquire for prices.
|ACCOMMODATION||You will spend the first and last night at a comfortable hotel in a room with en suite facilities. The second and third nights are spent in mountain huts, which are a lot more basic. At the mountain huts you will find basic sanitary facilities (no shower), electricity from solar panels and above all lots of peace and quiet. You should bring your own sheet/sleeping bag liner, pillow case and towel.
You can book an extra night at Refuge d’Ayous, a cosy hut situated in stunning surroundings among alpine lakes.
|AVAILABILITY||You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between May 25th and September 30th|
|DIFFICULTY||The difficulty level of this trip is rated as moderate overall. Though the overall daily distance is not so great in terms of kilometres, there are considerable ascents and descents to overcome. You will have to carry whatever you need for the two nights at the mountain huts, as luggage transportation is not possible here. This might include spare clothing, toiletries, a sheet/sleeping bag liner, pillowcase, and towel.|
Day 1: Arrival in Laruns
Arrival in the small village of Les Eaux Chaudes (Laruns) in the French Pyrenees. The accommodation is just a short distance from the Col de Pourtalet, situated at nearly 1800 metres on the border between France and Spain. If you arrive early, you might have time to climb up to a peak on the Spanish/French border.
In the evening you will enjoy a delicious and hearty meal while enjoying wonderful mountain views.
Overnight: Eaux Chaudes, Laruns.
Day 2: From Col du Pourtalet to Refuge de Pombie
Distance: 12 km | Ascent: 800 m | Descent: 600 m | Walking time: 5 hrs approx.
Your first walking day begins with a short 30-minute bus/car ride to the Col de Pourtalet*. You begin your hike by briefly crossing the border into Spain, before returning to the French side for a wonderfully scenic riverside descent. You then have a long ascent through woodland followed by rugged and bare mountain landscapes to your accommodation for the night. Refuge de Pombie enjoys an idyllic lakeside location beneath the majestic Pic du Midi d’Ossau.
*NOTE: If you are travelling by public transport, the bus to Col du Pourtalet leaves at 09:00. If you are driving, there is a large public car park at Col du Pourtalet where you can leave your car and pick it up again on day 4.
Overnight: Refuge de Pombie.
Day 3: From Refuge de Pombie to Refuge d'Ayous
Distance: 13 km | Ascent: 700 m | Descent: 700 m | Walking time: 6 hrs approx.
Leaving the Refuge de Pombie, you first ascend through scenic mountain landscapes to the Col de Suzon (2,131 m). Take a break to catch your breath and admire the view before beginning your descent to Lac de Bious. This is an ideal spot to stop for a refreshing swim or a cool drink on the terrace. Fully refreshed, you are then ready to tackle the final ascent to your next mountain hut. The Refuge d’Ayous faces the gorgeous lake Gentau and the Pic du Midi d’Ossau.
Overnight: Refuge d’Ayous.
Day 4: From Refude d'Ayous to Col du Pourtalet
Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 800 m | Descent: 1,000 m | Walking time: 6½ hrs approx.
Your final hike takes you back to your starting point at the Col du Pourtalet. Leaving the Refuge d’Ayous, you soon reach the first alpine jewel, the beautiful Lac Bersau. From there you have two different hiking options. The first option is an adventurous route along the border ridge between France and Spain. You follow vague sheep tracks while enjoying magnificent mountain views and perfect solitude. This option can only be done on clear days with the use of our travel App/GPS device. If the weather is not so good, you can choose the other route along clear paths at the foot of the Pic du Midi. This route takes you over a lovely high plateau where flocks of sheep and half-wild horses roam. The adventurous variant is a bit shorter, with less ascent and descent but much more difficult paths.
Upon reaching the Col du Pourtalet, you either take your car or the local bus back to Laruns*. You will spend your last night back at a comfortable hotel.
NOTE: If you are travelling by public transport, the bus to Col du Pourtalet leaves at 16:40.
Overnight: Eaux Chaudes, Laruns.
Day 5: Departure from Laruns
Your walking holiday in the French Pyrenees comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
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