An intro to... The GR10 Trail: a trek through the Pyrenees
Have you ever wanted to trek the GR10 Trail? Where even is it? Why should you walk it? Here is a very quick intro to the popular trek.
Have you ever wanted to trek the GR10 Trail? Here is a very quick introduction to this popular long distance trail.
Where is it and how far is it?
This beautiful trail through the Pyrenees starts from Hendaye-Plage on the Atlantic coast and finishes in Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean 593 miles or 955 kilometres later. The complete trek takes around 45 days and is a serious challenge for experienced hikers.
Why should you walk it?
This trek is not for the faint hearted. Although mostly on good paths and excellently waymarked, the GR10 is a significant challenge and a fitting match for the epic scenery it showcases - it is split into 55 stages of between 4 1/2 and 17 miles per day (7-27km) and the complete route covers an incredible 173,885ft (53,000m) of ascent. However, the GR10 is the easiest, oldest and most popular of the three trans-Pyrenean coast-to-coast routes (the GR10, GR11 and the Haute Route Pyrenean). Rising through the rolling hills of the Basque country to meet the dramatic limestone peaks of the High Pyrenees, the route visits the popular hotspots of Pic du Midi d-Ossau, Vignemale and Gavarnie before entering the deep secluded valleys of Ariège. Finally, to reach drier terrain and, at last, the finish-line and a huge sense of accomplishment.
When should you go?
The GR10 trail is best undertaken, in its entirety, during July, August or September. If you are planning to do a shorter section you may prefer May, June or October as the weather will be cooler but you will have to bear in mind that some facilities will open open during the peak season.
Where should you stay?
There is a wide range of accommodation options along the GR10 trail from hotels to gîtes and unmanned refuges similar to Scotland's bothy network. The author of the Cicerone guidebook to the GR10 trail prefers to camp and gives details on the best places for wild camping and on the availability of water throughout the route.
The terrain in the Pyrenees is as spectacular as the Alps, but the Pyrenees are much less crowded.