The Pyrenean Haute Route

eBook Options

Purchase an eBook to download and read this guide straight away. There are options for desktop and mobile devices as well as dedicated eBook Readers.

Google Play

Google Play Books available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

Google Play


Kobo eReader devices plus Kobo App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS



Kindle Reader devices plus Kindle App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

16 Jun 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.8cm

Delivery & Returns

Free 1st Class postage on UK orders. European postage from £2 per item. Worldwide postage from £3 per item. If you're not happy with your purchase for any reason, we'll give you a full refund.
More information...

A guidebook for trekking the Pyrenean Haute Route, which zig-zags across the Franco-Spanish border and stays close to the main ridge in the highest and most spectacular central Pyrenees. It covers 800km with a total of 40km ascent, so is only suitable for experienced mountain walkers. The route is split over 45 stages and is largely unwaymarked.

Seasons Seasons
Best months: July and August. August can be extremely warm, however, and thunderstorms are an everyday hazard! In June most high mountain passes are still covered with snow but it's a good time for both the first section and, from mid-June on, the final section (if you avoid Pic Carlit). Late August and the first days of September often bring a short period of extremely bad weather but afterwards the first half of September can be exceptionally beautiful. There will be frost at night from the second half of September. Snowfall in the high mountains is not uncommon in September. Be ready for anything!
Centres Centres
runs from Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer, with nearest major towns: Bayonne, Pau, Tarbes, Foix, Perpignan and Toulouse
Difficulty Difficulty
Each day walk and variant is graded on a scale of 1 to 4, from E for exceptionally challenging (moderate scrambling, exposure, glaciers) to 3 for short, easy, waymarked routes. Most are graded 2 and represent a good day's walk with significant ascent and descent but no major obstacles in good weather.
Must See Must See
the 10 summits: Grande Fache, Vignemale, La Taillon, Pimene, Pic Perdiguere, Pico de Aneto, Montardo d'Aran, Mont Roig, Pic de Certascan and Pica d'Estats; the national parks: Parc National des Pyrénées Occidentales and Parc National d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici; mountain lakes, cirques, canyons, peaks and pine forests.
16 Jun 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.8cm
  • Overview

    The Pyrenean Haute Route is probably the most scenic, spectacular and challenging walk in the Pyrenees, and has become one of the classic walks in Europe. Unlike the GR10 and GR11 the Haute Route crosses the French-Spanish border many times, exploring both sides of the mountain range and staying as close as possible to the main ridge of the Pyrenees. As a result the Haute Route leads the trekker through landscapes of immense variety and impeccable beauty.

    The Pyrenean Haute Route is a long-distance footpath from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean that follows the main ridge of the Pyrenees. It covers 800km of spectacular and challenging trekking through the highest and best of the Pyrenees. The route is described in 45 day stages and is largely unwaymarked. Furthermore, throughout the route, there are numerous alternative routes that allow you to avoid a difficult section, should weather conditions not be in your favour.

    The Haute Route is suitable only for experienced trekkers. Those who undertake it must have wide experience of walking on all sorts of terrain, including steep scree slopes, boulder fields and snowfields. Knowledge of how to navigate mountains in difficult conditions is also a prerequisite. The Haute Route leads sometimes through untamed, remote areas where there are no waymarks or paths. The ability to read the landscape is necessary; a good intuition of route finding is useful and knowledge of how to use a map and compass is indispensible.

    In addition to the Pyrenean Haute Route, this guidebook contains descriptions for ascents of 10 classic Pyrenean summits: Grande Fache, Vignemale, Le Taillon, Piméné, Pic Perdiguère, Pico de Aneto, Montardo d’Aran, Mont Roig, Pic de Certascan and Pica d’Estats.

  • Contents

    When to go
    How to get there
    Essential things to take
    Food and water
    Money and insurance
    Walks and climbs in this guide
    Mountain safety and first aid
    National parks
    Wildlife and flowers
    SECTION 1 Hendaye to Lescun
    Day 1 Hendaye to Col de Lizuniaga
    Day 2 Col de Lizuniaga to Arizkun
    Day 3 Arizkun to Les Aldudes
    Day 4 Les Aldudes to Roncevalles
    Day 5 Roncevalles to Egurgui
    Day 6 Egurgui to Col Bagargui
    Day 7 Col Bagargui to Cabane Ardané
    Day 8 Cabane Ardané to Source de Marmitou
    Day 9 Source de Marmitou to Lescun
    SECTION 2 Lescun to Gavarnie
    Day 10 Lescun to Refuge d'Arlet
    Day 11 Refuge d'Arlet to Candanchu
    Day 12 Candanchu to Refuge de Pombie
    Variant From Lac de Peyreget via the Col de l'Iou (2194m) to Refuge de Pombie
    An easy summit Pic d'Ayous (2288m)
    Day 13 Refuge de Pombie to Refuge de Larribet
    Day 14 Refuge de Larribet to Refuge Wallon
    Variant Refuge d'Arrémoulit to Refuge Wallon
    Ten classic summits — 1 Grande Fache (3005m) from Refuge Wallon
    Day 15 Refuge Wallon to Refuge de Bayssellance
    Ten classic summits — 2 The Vignemale (3298m) from the Refuge de Bayssellance
    Day 16 Refuge de Bayssellance to Gavarnie
    Ten classic summits — 3 Le Taillon (3144m) from Gavarnie
    Section 3: Gavarnie to Salardu
    Day 17 Gavarnie to Héas
    Ten classic summits — 4 Piméné (2801m) from Refuge des Espuguettes
    Day 18 Héas to Parzan
    Day 19 Parzan to Refugio de Viados
    Day 20 Refugio de Viados to Refuge de la Soula
    Day 21 Refuge de la Soula to Refuge du Portillon
    Ten classic summits — 5 Pic Perdiguère (3222m) from Refuge du Portillon
    Day 22 Refuge du Portillon to Refugio de la Renclusa
    Ten classic summits — 6 Pico de Aneto (3404m) from Refugio de la Renclusa
    Escape route From Refugio de la Renclusa to Bagnères-de-Luchon
    Variant Hospital de Benasque — GR11 trail
    Day 23 Refugio de la Renclusa to Hospital de Vielha
    Day 24 Hospital de Vielha to Refugi de la Restanca
    Variant GR11 from Estany de Rius to Refugi de la Restanca
    Day 25 Refugi de la Restanca to Salardu
    Ten classic summits — 7 Montardo d'Aran (2826m) from Coll de Crestada
    3-day Variant GR11 from Viados to Hospital de Vielha
    Section 4: Salardu to l'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre
    Day 26 Salardu to Refugi Gracia Airoto
    Day 27 Refugi Gracia Airoto to Alos de Isil
    Day 28 Alos de Isil to Refugi Enric Pujol
    Ten classic summits — 8 Mont Roig (2868m) from Refugi Enric Puyol
    Day 29 Refugi Enric Pujol to Refugi de Certascan
    Variant 1 Via Tavascan to Pla de Boavi
    Variant 2 Noarre via Camping Masia ‘Bordes de Graus’
    Ten classic summits — 9 Pic de Certascan (2853m) from Col de Certascan
    Day 30 Refugi de Certascan to Refugi del Cinquantenari
    Short-cut From Coll de Sellente to Estany de Sottlo
    Day 31 Refugi del Cinquantenari to Refugi de Coma Pedrosa
    Ten classic summits — 10 Pica d'Estats (3143m) and Montcalm (3077m) from Refugi de Vall Ferrera
    Day 32 Refugi de Coma Pedrosa to El Serrat
    Day 33 El Serrat to Cabana Coms de Jan
    Day 34 Cabane Coms de Jan to Refuge du Rulhe
    Day 35 Refuge du Rulhe to l'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre
    Section 5: L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre to Banyuls-sur-Mer
    Day 36 L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre to Refuge des Bésines
    Day 37 Refuge des Bésines to Barrage des Bouillouses
    Variant GR10 avoiding Pic Carlit
    Consolation walk 1 From Chalet-Refuge des Bouillouses to Pic Carlit summit
    Day 38 Barrage des Bouillouses to Eyne
    Day 39 Eyne to Refugi d'Ull de Ter
    Day 40 Refugi d'Ull de Ter to Refuge de Mariailles
    Day 41 Refuge de Mariailles to Mines de Batère
    Variant The GR10 from Refuge de Mariailles to Chalet-Refuge des Cortalets
    Consolation walk 2 The ascent of Canigou from Cortalets
    Day 42 Mines de Batère to Moulin de la Palette
    Day 43 Moulin de la Palette to Las Illas
    Day 44 Las Illas to Col de l'Ouillat
    Day 45 Col de l'Ouillat to Banyuls-sur-Mer

    Appendix 1 Useful addresses
    Appendix 2 Glossary
    Appendix 3 Facilities list

  • Maps

    The French maps produced by the Institut Géografique National (IGN) have a reputation for being accurate and reliable. The IGN 1:25,000 maps (Série Bleue or Cartes de Randonnée) show most detail, but on some 1:25,000 maps the Haute Route is not shown at all!

    There is also a series of 25 walking maps to the Pyrenees at 1:50,000, published by Rando Editions. These should generally be sufficient for Haute Route walkers. These include Cartes de Randonnées, based on IGN data, and Mapa Excursionista/Cartes de Randonnées, coedited with the Institut Cartografic de Catalunya. Together these maps give comprehensive coverage of both the Spanish and French Pyrenees. This means that you can largely avoid using other Spanish maps, such as the Editorial Alpina (which is no longer in print) and Spanish Military Survey maps, which are, in my opinion, of a relatively poor quality. For walking the Haute Route you should only use the best maps available! There is also a fine 1:400,000 map of the entire Pyrenees, also produced by Rando Editions, which might be handy. (For further information, contact Editions Sud Ouest at


    Many sections of the Haute Route are well marked nowadays, in various ways.


    • Rando Editions Carte de Randonnées, 1:50,000, no 1: Pays Basque Ouest
    • Editorial Alpina, 1:40,000, Baztan—Bidasoa (a set of two maps, you will need the Alduides—Baztan map in this set)
    • IGN Carte de Randonnée, 1:25,000, 1346 OT: St Jean-Pied-de-Port
    • Rando Editions Carte de Randonnées, 1:50,000, no 2: Pays Basque Est
    • Rando Editions Carte de Randonnées, 1:50,000, no 3: Béarn
    • Rando Editions Mapa Excursionista, 1:50,000, no 24: Gavarnie—Ordesa
    • Rando Editions Mapa Excursionista, 1:50,000, no 23: Aneto—Posets
    • Rando Editions Mapa Excursionista, 1:50,000, no 22: Pica díEstats—Aneto
    • Rando Editions Mapa Excursionista, 1:50.000, no 21: Andorra—Cadí
    • Rando Editions Carte de Randonnées, 1:50,000, no 8: Cerdagne—Capcir
    • Rando Editions Carte de Randonnées, 1:50,000, no 10: Canigou
    • Rando Editions Carte de Randonnées, 1:50,000, no 11: Rousillon.
    Maps and profiles in this book

    The maps in this book are, of course, not meant to be used as walking maps, but are intended to help walkers find the Haute Route trail on the walking maps. In the introduction to each section of the Haute Route the relevant maps are listed, and at the beginning of the route description for each of the 45 day stages a note of the relevant map is given. Height profiles are found on each map in this guide, and they also indicate the time taken to walk the route. They therefore allow you to see in a glance what you can expect from the walk.

  • Updates
    Receive updates by email
    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction

    Aug 2017

    page 133 slight amendment on the description to avoid any uncertainty of route choice.

    4.45 Breche de Roland (2807m). Go down two or three metres on the Spanish side  and turn right and follow a well used track W along the base of the southern (Spanish) side of the vertical walls of the Cirque de Gavarnie.


    June 2017

    Days 32 & 33 Editorial Alpina Andorra (covering El Serat) & Alt Pirineu (covering Tavascan)

    April 2017

    Many thanks to Peter Forrest for the following updates. They are the most important of a series, and Peter has set up a website to make them available. He is also selling his GPX files for the route, with proceeds being donated to various Himalayan earthquake relief funds. Peter is a big fan of the HRP and his site has valuable information for trekkers.

    Day 18: Refuge de Barroude was burnt to the ground 2-3 years ago (2014) so this is a long 10hrs day! Since then Refuge de Barroude is now partly compensated for by modernised but unmanned Cabane de Barrosa 8 hours into the walk (GPS ref: 267125/4731897). This cabane has 12 places. People were still rolling up to Heas in 2016, astonished to find the next refuge defunct!

    Day 23: the refuge at Hospital de Vielha has closed. Drop down 1.2km on the GR11 to now-manned Refugio de Conangles.

    Maps :

    Some maps listed in the guide are now no longer available so with The Map Shop help we have some suggested alternatives as follows:

    Day 13 to 17 - Rando Map 4
    Day 18 Editorial Alpina Bachimala
    Day 19 and 20 Editorial Alpina Posets Malada
    Day 21 to 24 Rando Map 5
    Day 25 Editorial Alpina Val d'Aran
    Day 26 to 31 Editorial Alpina Alt Pirineu


    August 2013

    Refugi de Certascan to Pla de Boavi:
    A Reader has commented that there is a well tagged way with waymarks and cairns between these refuges; it may not be necessary to improvise through the forest here.

    With thanks to H. Setzer

    February 2013

    The Editorial Alpina map mentioned in the book is no longer in print. A recommended alternative is from the official 1:25,000 series, number 91-1.

    Many thanks to The Map Shop for this information.


    GPS points

    GPS points in this book use the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) system

  • Reviews

    This is a welcome update to the first edition from 2004 with better route descriptions, extra stops to reduce some lengthy days and with around 500 GPS waypoints. I’ve walked a number of the sections and can vouch for the accuracy of the descriptions and the splendour of the route.
    Each day has a detailed map, profile and excellent route descriptions with times and heights.

    Justin Gutmann, Strider Aug 2009


    'The descriptions of each day's walking are so detailed they almost take you there and the short highlighted summaries leave no doubt of what is ahead.

    All in all, along with useful appendices, this is a practical guide to beautiful and often isolated areas which, with its lovely photographs and descriptions, makes it a gem of a book.'

    Robin Merrick, Irish mountain Log, Spring 2010

  • Downloads

Ton Joosten

Ton Joosten has written six books on the Pyrenees which he has explored extensively over the last 20 years, walking all the long-distance trails, all major peaks and the national parks in both France and Spain, and has written on the best walking regions. When not exploring, Ton lives in Holland.

View Guidebooks by Ton Joosten