The Pyrenean Haute Route

The HRP high-level trail

By Tom Martens

Guidebook to trekking the Pyrenean Haute Route, which zigzags across the Franco-Spanish border, staying close to the main ridge in the highest and most spectacular central Pyrenees. It covers 750km with over 40km of ascent, so is suitable for experienced mountain walkers only. The largely unwaymarked route is presented in 44 stages.



The Pyrenean Haute Route is a summer route that is best hiked between late June and early October, when the days are long, the weather more settled and most of the snow has melted.


Hendaye, Lescun, Gavarnie, Benasque, Vielha e Mijaran, Tavascan, l'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre, Banyuls-sur-Mer


Grades are used to give an indication of difficulty. Most of the 44 stages fall into Grade 2 (5-7 hour stages with a reasonable amount of ascent and descent) and should be within the capabilities of an experienced hiker. A small number are longer, more demanding routes (Grade 3) and a few are short, easy hikes (Grade 1). Three stages are graded E for 'exceptional': these routes contain steep and exposed sections requiring great care. Crampons and ice axe may be needed on some stages in early summer, but for each of these stages, an easier alternative is described.
Must See

Must See

The karst landscapes surrounding Pic d'Anie, the Ossoue glacier on the famous Vignemale, the impressive Cirque de Gavarnie with one of Europe's highest waterfalls, the alpine landscapes in the Portillon region, Pico de Aneto (3404m - the highest peak in the Pyrenees), views of the Mediterranean from Pic du Canigou
11 Apr 2019
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.9cm
  • Overview

    There are three main trekking routes across the Pyrenees from coast to coast: of these, the Pyrenean Haute Route (or HRP for Haute Route Pyrénéenne) is the most challenging - and arguably, the most spectacular. Unlike the GR10 and GR11, it is not waymarked and borders on mountaineering at times, sticking as closely as possible to the main ridge. It stretches 750km from the Atlantic resort of Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean, crossing the French-Spanish border many times on its traverse. The hike calls for experience, navigational competence and self-reliance, but offers rich rewards as you pass through some of the most stunning landscapes the region has to offer.

    This guide presents the Pyrenean Haute Route in 44 day stages, which are divided between five sections: since each section starts and finishes at a location accessible by public transport, they can be walked individually if you don't have a spare month-and-a-half for a complete thru-hike. Although the route offers excellent opportunities for wild camping, each stage finishes at a mountain hut or village, meaning that you can sleep under a roof every night if you prefer. Clear route description is accompanied by 1:100,000 mapping. There are bad weather variants and alternatives to avoid the most technical sections, and the guide also includes optional ascents of 10 classic summits, including Vignemale, Pic du Taillon and the highest peak in the Pyrenees, Pico de Aneto. You'll also find helpful advice on travel to and from the route, equipment and safety.

    From the rolling green foothills of the Basque Country to High Pyrenean landscapes of aquamarine lakes nestled among 3000m peaks, the scenery is as varied as it is beautiful. Highlights include the karst terrain of Pic d'Anie, the Ossoue glacier, Lac de Mar in the picturesque Val d'Aran and the dramatic Cirque de Gavarnie with its towering cascade.

  • Contents

    The route
    Plants and wildlife
    Mountain weather
    When to go
    Getting there
    Accommodation and services
    Food, drink and fuel
    What to take
    Path conditions
    Insurance, mountain safety and rescue
    Using this guide
    Section 1: Hendaye to Lescun
    Day 1 Hendaye to Col de Lizuniaga
    Day 2 Col de Lizuniaga to Arizkun
    Day 3 Arizkun to Aldudes
    Day 4 Aldudes to Roncesvalles
    Day 5 Roncesvalles to Egurgui
    Day 6 Egurgui to Col Bagargui
    Day 7 Col Bagargui to Cabane d’Ardané
    Day 8 Cabane d’Ardané to Source de Marmitou
    Day 9 Source de Marmitou to Lescun
    Variant 1 From Refugi de Belagua to Lescun via La Pierre Saint-Martin
    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
    Day 13 Refuge de Pombie to Refuge de Larribet
    Day 14 Refuge de Larribet to Refuge Wallon
    Variant 2 Refuge d’Arrémoulit to Refuge Wallon
    Summit 1 Grande Fache (3005m) from Refuge Wallon
    Day 15 Refuge Wallon to Refuge de Bayssellance
    Summit 2 Vignemale (3298m) from Refuge de Bayssellance
    Day 16 Refuge de Bayssellance to Gavarnie
    Summit 3 Le Taillon (3144m) from Gavarnie
    Section 3: Gavarnie to Salardú
    Day 17 Gavarnie to Héas
    Summit 4 Piméné (2801m) from Refuge des Espuguettes
    Day 18 Héas to Parzán
    Variant 3 Parzán via the high route to Hourquette de Héas
    Day 19 Parzán to Refugio de Viados
    Day 20 Refugio de Viados to Refuge de la Soula
    Day 21 Refuge de la Soula to Refuge du Portillon
    Day 22 Refuge du Portillon to Refugio de la Renclusa
    Summit 5 Pic Perdiguère (3222m) from Portal de Remune
    Summit 6 Pico de Aneto (3404m) from Refugio de la Renclusa
    Day 23 Refugio de la Renclusa to Hospital de Vielha
    Day 24 Hospital de Vielha to Refugi de la Restanca
    Day 25 Refugi de la Restanca to Salardú
    Summit 7 Montardo d’Aran (2826m) from the Coll de Crestada
    Variant 4 Three days on the GR11 from Refugio de Viados to Hospital de Vielha
    Section 4: Salardú to l’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre
    Day 26 Salardú to Refugi Gràcia Airoto
    Day 27 Refugi Gràcia Airoto to Alós d’Isil
    Day 28 Alós d’Isil to Refugi Enric Pujol
    Summit 8 Mont Roig (2868m) from Refugi Enric Pujol
    Day 29 Refugi Enric Pujol to Refugi de Certascan
    Variant 5 To Noarre via Tavascan
    Summit 9 Pic de Certascan (2853m) from Coll de Certascan
    Day 30 Refugi de Certascan to Refugi de Baborte/del Cinquantenari
    Day 31 Refugi de Baborte/del Cinquantenari to Étang de la Soucarrane
    Day 32 Étang de la Soucarrane to Refugi de Sorteny
    Day 33 Refugi de Sorteny to Refugi de Cabana Sorda
    Day 34 Refugi de Cabana Sorda to l’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre
    Section 5: L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre to Banyuls-sur-Mer
    Day 35 L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre to Refuge des Bésines
    Day 36 Refuge des Bésines to Refuge des Bouillouses
    Variant 6 GR10 to Refuge des Bouillouses
    Day 37 Refuge des Bouillouses to Eyne
    Day 38 Eyne to Refugi d’Ull de Ter
    Summit 10 Pic des Bastiments (2881m)
    Day 39 Refugi d’Ull de Ter to Refuge de Mariailles
    Day 40 Refuge de Mariailles to Refuge de Batère
    Variant 7 GR10 to Refuge des Cortalets
    Day 41 Refuge de Batère to Moulin de la Palette
    Day 42 Moulin de la Palette to Las Illas
    Day 43 Las Illas to Col de l’Ouillat
    Day 44 Col de l’Ouillat to Banyuls-sur-Mer

    Appendix A Useful contacts
    Appendix B Glossary
    Appendix C Facilities table

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

    July 2019

    p105 last digit missing for Camping La Bergerie should be as listed on p106 : tel 05 62 92 48 41

    p83, day 6: The shop that used to be next to the restaurant at Col Bagargui has closed. Instead, there is now a shop at the bureau d'accueil at Col Héguichouria. Gas canisters of the EN417 type are for sale there.
    (Thanks to reader Bjorn Forselv for bringing this to our attention)

    June 2019

    GPX files are available to be dowloaded .

    Page 4, the reference to Peter Forrest's web site should be to

    not Our apologies.

    p39, concerning the maps needed to hike the PHR: IGN carte de randonnée 1346OT - St-Jean-Pied-de-Port is no longer needed if you have the more recent Rando Éditions maps no1 (Pays Basque Ouest) and no2 (Pays Basque Est). Only with the older versions of these maps there is a gap between these two maps. Rando maps printed 2006 and later are OK.

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Tom Martens

Tom Martens grew up in Belgium and first visited the Pyrenees in 2008 with a friend who had made him enthusiast about the mountain chain. This first exploration was so enchanting that he has been back every year since then. He has hiked extensively in the national parks and has traversed the whole length of the Pyrenees several times. He has guided groups of youngsters on long, intensive hikes and climbed many of the peaks in the Pyrenees. So far, he has spent 300 nights in the Pyrenees, mostly bivouacking. He has a special interest in mountain wildlife. Other regions where you can often find him hiking include Scotland and Estonia, where he currently lives.

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