French Pyrenees GR 10 trail: a walker’s guide

Cet article est également disponible en: French

On Hendaye beach - the start of the GR10

On Hendaye beach – at the start of the GR10

What equipment do you need for walking the GR 10 across the Pyrenees, how long does it take, which are the most interesting sections? Here are my answers. If you don’t find what you are looking for fill in the comment form at the bottom and I’ll try to help.

This is not meant to be a definitive guide to the GR10 – it is very much my personal advice. I believe that Traveling Light is the Only Way to Fly. It also saves on the knees and shoulders. And I am prepared to pay the cost of staying in hostels rather than camping. It would be great to have other comments and suggestions…

For a quick overview of the route see the section on navigation below. The Wikiloc maps show both the route and the (saw tooth) profiles.

Updates on GR10 diversions

The FFRP (French Rambler’s Association) in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques has a page dedicated to changes in the route of the GR10. But as far as I can see the Ariège committee is no longer producing its equivalent.

What is the attraction?

Griffon vultures

Griffon vultures

The GR 10 is a classic mountain walk, large scale. It crosses France from one side to the other, links the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, and takes a whole range of mountains, the Pyrenees, in its stride.

The western end is lusciously green, the middle austere and rocky, but as the Mediterranean approaches, dry garrigue and blue skies take over. The walk visits all the well-known sights of the range – the Lac de Gaube, the Lac d’Ôo, the Cirque de Gavarnie – and nestles up to some of its highest mountains. One of them, the Vignemale (3295m), an optional extra involving crossing a glacier, can be tackled in a single memorable additional day (see below).

And yet, despite the sometimes rugged terrain, there are hostels to be found most evenings; the GR 10 combines days in natural surroundings with nights under a solid roof.

Hendaye to Banyuls or Banyuls to Hendaye?

Bidarray in the Basque country

Bidarray in the Basque country

It’s not the same. Most people walk from Hendaye on the Atlantic coast to Banyuls on the Mediterranean, probably because the official French guide and Paul Lucia’s guide are written like that. As there are only a limited number of hostels, this means you keep bumping into walkers met along the way – conviviality assured. Walking in the other direction must be a completely different experience, with more interaction with nature than with other walkers

How long does it take to walk the GR 10?

Typically between 45 and 60 days of walking 6-8 hours a day. Plus rest days. Plus a few days more if you follow one or other of the variants.

What is the best time of year?

The pass at the Horquette d’Arre (2465m), (Day 17 on a 60-day schedule) is covered in snow until about 14 June, sometimes for a couple of weeks more. At the other end of the season, the weather deteriorates from the beginning of October. So the ideal dates are 12 June to 30 September. Unfortunately in July and August it is hot and hostels may fill up early in the day, particularly between 14 July and 15 August. For more details see my page on the walking season in the Pyrenees (GR10, GR11, HRP).

Summer temperatures for hikers in the Pyrenees – June, July, August, September

Most hikers walking a long-distance trek (GR10, GR11, HRP) in the central Pyrenees will pass part of the day between 2000m and 2500m above sea level, descending to 1500m or below at night. Beware, in the Pyrenees you can have three seasons in one day! Typically, if there is going to be a thunderstorm it will start around 16:00. The temperature can descent 15°C in as many minutes. Indeed, most rain in summer falls in the evening.

Maximum temperatures by height

2000m (max °C) 1 June – 13 July 14 July – 14 Aug 15 Aug – 30 Sept
Basque country
Central Pyrenees 10 17 10
Mediterranean 13 20 13

 

1500m (max °C) 1 June – 13 July 14 July – 14 Aug 15 Aug – 30 Sept
Basque country 17 25 17
Central Pyrenees 15 20 15
Mediterranean 17 25 17

 

500m (max °C) 1 June – 13 July 14 July – 14 Aug 15 Aug – 30 Sept
Basque country 20 28 20
Central Pyrenees 18 23 18
Mediterranean 20 30 20

Minimum temperatures by height

2000m (min °C) 1 June – 13 July 14 July – 14 Aug 15 Aug – 30 Sept
Basque country
Central Pyrenees -5 0 -5
Mediterranean 0 5 0

 

1500m (min °C) 1 June – 13 July 14 July – 14 Aug 15 Aug – 30 Sept
Basque country 6 10 6
Central Pyrenees 0 6 0
Mediterranean 6 10 6

 

500m (min °C) 1 June – 13 July 14 July – 14 Aug 15 Aug – 30 Sept
Basque country 10 14 10
Central Pyrenees 6 10 6
Mediterranean 10 14 10

How many people walk the GR 10?

Between Gavarnie and Luz-St-Sauveur on the GR10

Between Gavarnie and Luz-St-Sauveur on the GR10

I estimate that from mid-June to mid-September, about 10 people leave Hendaye every day, with the intention of walking a significant part of the GR 10, though most of them will take several years to do it. Only one or two people leave Banyuls in the other direction. Some days I saw almost nobody; other days, particularly around popular centres I met 10-20 other walkers. Many parts of the GR 10 are also suitable for shorter walks.

Walking the GR10 with a dog. What are the rules?

Having been asked several times if walkers can bring their dog with them trekking, I have now compiled a list of the restrictions on dogs in the Pyrenees.

Is it safe to walk alone?

As long as you are good at map reading and stay on the path, whatever happens, somebody will turn up. Sooner or later. Being in a group won’t stop you breaking your leg, or save you from being attacked by a bear.

Are the bears dangerous then?

Marmottes (groundhogs) were reintroduced to the Pyrenees in the 1948

Marmottes (groundhogs) were reintroduced to the Pyrenees in the 1948; bears have always been there

Statistically speaking, no. You are more likely to be killed in a plane crash in the Pyrenees than by a bear. Nobody has been killed by a bear since the invention of the airplane, but the wreckage on the GR 10 on the slopes of Canigou is testimony to the unreliability of aircraft.

In fact, there are only 20 bears in the Pyrenees, so you are unlikely even to see one – which is why I have a picture of a marmotte here. You definately will see marmottes.

If you do see a bear it will probably ignore you. If you are still uneasy, extensive advice on bears is available on backpacker.com. Questions in the forum include such interesting topics as “Will backcountry sex attract a bear?”, “Do Tasers stop bears?” and, for the really paranoid, “Will my farts attract a bear?”.

Whatever you do, don’t wear a sheepskin coat. Several hundred sheep are killed by the bears each year (out of a population approaching half a million).

What are the other dangers?

 

Cauterets, one of the few towns on the GR 10, is decorated like a wedding cake

Heat. Thirst. The Pyrenees are a long way south and, although mountains get colder as they get higher, walkers get hotter as they climb them. The air gets thinner as well so there is less protection from the sun’s rays. In some areas there are surprisingly few springs. Dehydrated water (water purifying tablets) is useful.
Cold. Wet. There are glaciers not far away but they don’t cool the atmosphere much. The main worry is thunderstorms. The temperature can drop 15 degrees Celsius in as many minutes. Thunderstorms can occur at any time, but it always seems to me that they roll in round about 16h00.
Gravity. Not so much the danger of falling off a cliff, but the danger of carrying too much and wearing yourself out to the point where you become too weak – and fall off a cliff. See the equipment list below.
Dogs which think they are sheep. Pyrenean patous are dogs which have been brought up with sheep to the extent that they identify with them. They think they are sheep. They see their job as attacking anything else, other dogs and walkers in particular. Avoid coming between them and their flock.

Trailheads (access points) from France

Public transport will get you to the following trailheads on or near the GR10
• Hendaye
• St-Jean-Pied-de-Port
• Etsaut
• Cauterets
• Luz-St-Sauveur
• St Lary
• Mérens
• Bolquère
• Villefranche-de-Conflent
• Banyuls

In addition, many hostels and huts on the GR 10 are accessible by car

Supply points on the GR10

  • Ainhoa
  • St-Etienne-de-Baïgorry
  • St-Jean-Pied-de-Port
  • Bagargrak (Iraty)
  • Lescun
  • Gourette
  • Arrens-Marsous ?
  • Cauterets
  • Gavarnie
  • Luz-St-Sauveur
  • Barèges
  • St-Lary
  • Luchon
  • Aulus
  • Seix
  • St-Lizier
  • Auzat (2km)
  • Bolquère
  • Arles
  • Le Perthus

And, if you let them know in advance many hostels and hotels will make you a picnic. Bon appétit !

Cash

Many refuges will only take cash or cheques drawn on a French bank account. I once spent 100 euros on a taxi because I had run out! There are cash machines (ATMs)  on the GR10 in Hendaye, Sare, Saint Étienne de Baïgorry, St Jean Pied de Port, Arrens-Marsous, Cauterets, Luz Saint Sauveur, Bareges, Saint Lary Soulan, Bagnères de Luchon, Seix (off route), Bolquère, Arles sur Tech, La Jonquera and Banyuls. Source Visa ATM locator (Feb 2018)

Navigation

Banana trees in front of classic Basque etxe (houses) in the foothills of the Pyrenees

Banana trees in front of classic Basque etxe (houses) in the foothills of the Pyrenees

The French IGN publishes maps of the whole of the Pyrenees at 1:25,000 which are useful for short sections, but the GR 10 is 400km long as the griffon vulture flies (and 850km long as the rambler walks), so it would take a map 16m long to cover the whole walk. In any case sketch maps are included in the Paul Lucia’s guide, and detailed 1:50,000 maps in the FFRP version.

However, the best, though not the cheapest solution is a GPS with onboard maps. I have a GPS eTrex Summit HC (229 euros). Although you can just buy the two GPS maps needed for the Pyrenees (258 euros), you might as well buy the whole of France as it only costs 21 euros more.

Whether you buy the maps or not, you can always view and download the tracks from Wikiloc.

See also my discussion of free downloadable maps of the Pyrenees.

 

GR10 GPS tracks (format GPX)

GPS files shared by GR Infos

Hendaye to Estérençuby
Distance: 111 kilometres
Elevation min: 2 metres, max: 1023 metres
Accum. height uphill: 5575 metres, downhill: 5340 metres

Estérençuby to Borce
Distance:  104 kilometres
Elevation min:  244 metres, max:  1920 metres
Accum. height uphill:  6664 metres, downhill:  6316 metres

Borce to Cauterets
Distance: 79 kilometres
Elevation min: 588 metres, max: 2450 metres
Accum. height uphill:  6232 metres, downhill: 5958 metres

Cauterets to Lac de l’Oule (via Gavarnie)
Distance: 92 kilometres
Elevation min: 709 metres, max: 2732 metres
Accum. height uphill:  6164 metres, downhill: 5272 metres

Lac de l’Oule to Etang d’Araing
Distance: 106 kilometres
Elevation min: 534 metres, max: 2264 metres
Accum. height uphill:  7851 metres, downhill:7692 metres

Etang d’Araing to Etang de Guzet
Distance: 102 kilometres
Elevation min: 535 metres, max: 2231 metres
Accum. height uphill:  8161 metres, downhill: 8531 metres

Etang de Guzet to Mérens les Vals
Distance: 104 kilometres
Elevation min: 731 metres, max: 2393 metres
Accum. height uphill:  7545 metres, downhill: 8027 metres

Mérens les Vals to Batère
Distance: 111 kilometres
Elevation min: 922 metres, max: 2477 metres
Accum. height uphill:  7260 metres, downhill: 6840 metres

Batère to Banyuls
Distance: 85 kilometres
Elevation min: 3 metres, max: 1472 metres
Accum. height uphill:  4525 metres, downhill: 5990 metres

Theoretical totals: 894km, 59,970 metres uphill.

Hostels and huts on the GR 10

Goats at Rouze, in the Ariège

Goats at Rouze, in the Ariège

You can always carry your home on your back – and save money – but have you seen how fast snails move? A tent (and all that goes with it) is not essential equipment for the GR 10 and adds greatly to weight. With good planning you can always have a roof over your head, though some of them may be a little precarious.

When I walked the GR 10, I tried to arrange my overnight stops at intervals of 6-8 hours walking apart – any longer turns enjoyment into endurance.

Think hours. Forget distances, they are meaningless in the mountains. Count 300m climbing or 500m descent per hour and even then you will be doing well.

The FFRP guide gives reasonable timings for a fit walker who is used to carrying a full rucksack.

Huts and shelters (cayolars, cabanes, orrys)

Lac d'Estaing

Lac d’Estaing

According to Pyrénées – cabanes et refuges, a wonderfully useful site, there are 775 huts and shelters in the Pyrenees, many of them on or near to the GR 10. The site gives details (in French). The huts are free, but some are locked or occupied by a shepherd, others semi-derelict. Nothing can be taken for granted, even the existence of a roof, so arrive early. I do know of a few which are as comfortable as some refuges gardés, but they are exceptional.

Hostels (refuges gardés)

Pyrénées – cabanes et refuges lists 63 though some that I have stayed in are missing. Evening meal, bed in a (mixed) dormitory, breakfast, and a picnic lunch will come to about 42 euros. This may seem expensive for basic accommodation, but the costs of running a refuge are high, given the transport difficulties. Blankets are always provided but a sheet sleeping bag is essential. Most provide sandals. Booking one or two days in advance is fine, though if you are really stuck they will find you a space on the floor. Many have no mains electricity so hot water may not be available (or may be possible for a small fee). You will need to carry cash for payment.

See also le Guide gites d’étape et refuges.

Bed and breakfast (gîtes d’étape)

Cork oak near the Mediterranean end of the GR 10

Cork oak near the Mediterranean end of the GR 10

A step up from a refuge gardé, a gîte d’étape will cost 5 to 15 euros more. You will still need a sheet sleeping bag but are more likely to find rooms with 2-4 beds available. Booking is essential. Pay in cash, or French euro cheques.

Hotels

There are hotels, and sometimes no cheaper alternatives, in the few (small) towns along the route.

Sections of the GR 10 without organised accommodation

There are a few sections where trekkers need to sleep in a hut, or walk a very long way in one day. These are the only sections where a sleeping bag is necessary.

The main problem is in the Ariège. The official slogan for the département used to be “Terre courage” and I interpret this to apply to the GR 10.

The walking times given below are taken from the FFRP guide.

Gabas to Gourette (8h50)

There are huts at Cézy clearly visible from the GR 10. At a push it should be possible to do the whole leg in one day, thus obliviating the need for a sleeping bag until you reach Eylie d’en Haut in the Ariège (about Day 33 on a 60-day schedule).

Bagnères de Luchon to Fos (about 10h00)

Fisherman on the river just north of Luchon

Fisherman on the river just north of Luchon

There is a new gîte d’étape at Artigue which means that this section can now be split over two days.

Apart from that there are two huts at the Cabanes de Peyrehitte (one is reserved for the shepherd). There is a water trough a little further along the GR 10.

Eylie d’en Haut to Esbints (3 days, 2 nights – 19h40)

This used to be a particularly difficult section from the point of view of accommodation, with two consecutive nights in huts, but there is a new gîte at the Pla de la Lau. Unfortunately the stage is still a little too far to be done in two days, one after the other.

  • Day 1: Eylie to Gîte Auberge Maison du Valier (Pla de la Lau) 9h35
  • Day 2: Gîte Auberge Maison du Valier (Pla de la Lau) to Esbints 10h05 (no thank you!)
Lac d'Aubert in the Néouvielle National Park

Lac d’Aubert in the Néouvielle National Park

So the followings huts (listed west-east) may be useful

Goulier to Rulhe (4 days, 3 nights)

The most difficult section of the GR 10 accommodation-wise.

  • Day 1: Goulier to Siguer 4h05
  • Day 2: Siguer to Cabane du Courtal Marti 5h30
  • Day 3: Cabane du Courtal Marti to Cabane d’Artaran 5h40
  • Day 4: Caban d’Artaran to Refuge du Rulhe 5h45
  • Siguer. Ask at the mairie (town hall) for the keys to the room near the salle des fêtes.
  • Cabane du Besset d’en Haut at Col de Sasc – there is a concrete hut a little way down the slope but there is no door or window. To be avoided.
  • Cabane du Courtal Marti. A much better alternative to the Cabane du Besset d’en Haut is this former shepherd’s hut only an hour further on.
  • Cabane de Balledreyt. 632m beyond the Cabane du Courtal Marti.
  • Cabane de Clarens. In bad condition but there is still a roof.
  • Cabane d’Artaran.
  • The ski resort on thePlateau de Beille is 30mins walking from the Cabane dArtaran. Angaka can provide tents and food if booked in advance. For more information ring 05 61 01 75 60. I haven’t tried this, but they are well organised: I have been dog sledding with them.
    There is also a restaurant at the ski resort, open at lunchtime.
    This is the last possibility before the refuge de Rulhe, as the Cabane de Beille d’en Haut is private, though I was told by a waiter at the ski resort that part of it was available for walkers. Further along, the Cabane de Poussiergues may be useable but don’t bet on it.
Basco-bearnaise sheep, just arrived for their summer holidays

Basco-bearnaise sheep, just arrived for their summer holidays

Mérens

This gîte is closed for 2010. It is possible to sleep in the Chambres d’hôtes du Nabre or on the municipal campsite. The campsite has several tents with duvets available for walkers. Ring 05 61 02 85 40

Equipment

As a result of walking the GR10, having lugged anything from 12-18kg on my back, I revised my ideas of “necessary” items. On a recent 4-day walk round – and up to the top of – the Posets (the second highest summit in the Pyrenees, 3375m), I carried the following (plus crampons and piolet, not necessary for the GR10). I don’t see any reason to carry any more on a longer walk.

My GR 10 kit list

GR 10 FASHION
g notes
boots 1824 with high sides which are great for my ankles
anorak 775 Gortex
trousers 304 lightweight trousers with detachable legs (Columbia)
tee-shirt 160 synthetic so that it dries quickly – not cotton
belt 97
underwear 80
socks 74
TOTAL 3314
ACCESSORIES
water 1548 1.5 litres
rucksack 330 from zpacks.com. The version I have is no loger available but you can get an Arc Blast (465g)
winter fleece 731
4 GR10 guides 640 contain maps at 1:50000
food for the day 500
camera 273
first aid kit 246
2 tee-shirts 238
shorts 217 top half of lightweight trousers
pole 202
battery charger 194
waterproof leggings 177
GPS 173 with integrated maps
sun cream 149
wallet 142
Mars bars 130
spare batteries 111
phone 108
sheet sleeping bag 101 silk
travel towel 97 microfibre (Boots)
Swiss army knife 86
shampoo 80
toilet paper 78
hat 78
head torch with batteries 78
1 pair socks 70
emergency blanket 61
glasses 54
toothpaste 31
soap 30
earplugs 30
plastic bags 25
plastic cup 23
Compeed 18
toothbrush 17
water purifying tablets 13
cigarette lighter 12 for lighting fires in emergency
pen 9
whistle 9
TOTAL 7109

Things I don’t think necessary include:

  • sandals (provided at most refuges – otherwise walk around in socks)
  • deodorant – positively dangerous it as it stops you sweating naturally
  • a razor, even if you have better-looking legs than I do.

Other kit lists

My best bits

Hourquette d’Ossoue, the Vignemale, and Gavarnie

The Cirque de Gavarnie is one of the best known images of the GR10

The Cirque de Gavarnie is one of the best-known images of the GR10

To my mind the best section of the GR 10 is the detour which goes from Cauterets to Luz-St-Sauveur via the Hourquette d’Ossoue (2734m) instead of directly to Cauterets. Most people miss it out, which is a shame. It starts with a 3km-long waterfall up to the Pont d’Espagne. Then there is the Lac de Gaube, one of the defining sights of the Pyrenees (get there before 9am and have it all to yourself). Followed by the long, long Gaube valley, with the dark north face of the Vignemale at the end, and the pass at the Hourquette d’Ossoue. A short diversion takes you to the top of the Petit Vignemale (3032m) which overlooks one of the larger glaciers in the Pyrenees.

An overnight stop in the Bayssellence refuge will give you time next day to saunter down to Gavarnie, sign into the hostel, and visit the Cirque. Victor Hugo variously called it nature’s coliseum, a hippodrome, a Parthenon, a cathedral, a Kremlin, boas rolled one above the other, the mouth of a volcano, a storm trap and, beginning to let his imagination run away just a little, a Tower of Babel turned over and imprinted in the earth like a seal.

Our guide on the Vignemale glacier

Our guide on the Vignemale glacier

Better still leave leave the visit to the Cirque until dawn the next day and only walk as far as Gèdre that day. After that you have a rollicking roller-coaster path down to Luz-St-Sauveur to rejoin the main route.

Grand Vignemale

If you take the above variant, there is the opportunity to climb the Vignemale (3298m), crossing the Glacier d’Ossoue. You will need crampons and a guide, but both can be arranged at the Bureau des Guides in Cauterets.

Canigou

On a clear day the Mediterranean can be seen from the top of Canigou

On a clear day the Mediterranean can be seen from the top of Canigou

You can walk round the Catalans’ favourite mountain, but the official GR10 between the refuge de Mariailles and the Chalet des Cortalets, is a long detour. Much more interesting – and quicker – is the variant which goes to the top of the mountain (at least on a fine day). There is a bit of hands-on stuff just below the summit – but don’t let the name “La cheminée” – the chimney – put you off. It is perfectly possible with a rucksack. And once you have hauled yourself up to the cross, there is an incredible view of the Mediterranean.

 

364 Responses to “French Pyrenees GR 10 trail: a walker’s guide”

  1. Xavi says:

    Hey Steve!
    I’ll be walking the GR-10 between St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Gabas, where I’ll turn down the Gave d’Ossau to hike to Larune. I’ll start on Aug 30 and am planning to biwak (weather permitting) – have you any experience doing biwak there?
    Cheers!

  2. steve says:

    Hi Xavi

    There shouldn’t be any problem in early September. I didn’t bivouac but there were other walkers who were in tents and you can always find a little corner somewhere. Enjoy!

  3. Rina says:

    Thank you Steve. Very helpful. (I think I will take the bus, and maybe the chairlift that I’ve read about on to the lake and then start from there.)

  4. Syan says:

    Hello Steve. I am so glad I clicked on this site because. My friend and I are going to Pyrenees in September and I need your advise if this portion of my route is feasible.

    We are going to Fabreges and take the Petit train d’Artouste to see the lake and then walk on to Cabane du Lurien to stay the night. The place looks unmanned. Is it alright to use this route and also to stay in the Cabane? Then the next day, we will walk from Cabane du Lurien to Lake Fabreges. Is this route alright?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you. 🙂

  5. steve says:

    Hello Syan. I don’t have any specialist knowledge of the area, though your route looks feasible on the map. I suspect that the huts may be in ruins or locked as I can’t find anything recent on the web. You could try the local tourist office + (33) 5 59 05 31 41.
    I hope they have the information you need.

  6. Ian & Kate says:

    Dear Steve, many thanks for your response. We’ll check out the taxi at Seix (thanks for the link). We’ll carry enough food for the 5 days just in case. Cheers Ian and Kate

  7. Cevia says:

    Hi Steve,
    Cevia here again. Almost on my way! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ll be attempting to hike the first 1/2 of the GR 11 and the second 1/2 of the GR 10, from Irun to Banyuls starting on Aug 10th. I’m planning to cross over at Benasque to Luchon as you recommended. I’m wondering, as I’ll be needing to switch out my GR11 guide (I found a 2014 edition of the Ciserone by Brian Johnson) and Prames maps for my Lucia GR 10 Ciserone guide and FFRP maps, is it possible to mail a package to any of the manned refuges in Luchon or possibly a post office for pick-up? I figured that if this is an option, it will save me some weight in my pack.
    Thanks again for your helfpul advice,
    Cevia

  8. steve says:

    Hello Cevia. Send it to [Your name] Post restante, Bureau de Poste, 26 ALLEES D ETIGNY, 31110 – BAGNERES DE LUCHON

  9. Cevia says:

    Dear Steve,
    Thank you so much!!!
    Blessings,
    Cevia

  10. Andy and Paula says:

    Hi Steve
    Great website and such a huge resource with all the Q&As.
    However we have a new one
    Paula has work in Melles so we are taking the train on sep 7th. After her 2 days work we have 8 glorious days to spend on the GR10 before we head back to toulouse, via public transport.
    Our question is, which way East of West would you suggest for the most scenic. We’re quite happy to tackle the 3 days unsupported if we went East.
    We’ll need to end up somewhere to catch bus or train back the following day, we then have a nigh
    t in toulouse before train home on the 19th.
    Thanks very much for any input
    Kind regards

  11. Cevia says:

    Hi Steve!
    I’m 8 days into my hike, am in Hiriberri on the GR 11. I started reading your book along the way and am really enjoying it! I’m thinking of heading over to the GR 10 earlier than originally planned, when I finish the Spanish basque region of the hike. Do you know of a way to cross the border from Isaba to the Col de la Pierre-St-Martin by foot? I see that it is only 16 km by car on the NA 137 and that there is a refuge in Arette on the GR 10. Would you suggest doing that?

    Thanks so much!
    Cevia

  12. steve says:

    Hi Cevia
    I think it would be a pity to change over to the GR10 where you are. There are some wonderful sections of the GR11 to come, between Zuriza and Candanchú, particularly after the hut at Aguas Tuertas. From Candanchú you can even get a bus to take you over the border to Borce on the GR10 (from the main road, not from the village itself). Have fun
    Steve

  13. Eugene Brady says:

    Flying in/out of Biarritz and walking about the first half could u suggest how to get back to Biarritz. Eugene

  14. Cevia says:

    Thanks so much for your input, Steve. The walk from Hirriberri to Ochgavia yesterday was amazing! I will follow your advice and stick to the GR 11 for a bit more.
    Buen camino!
    Cevia

  15. steve says:

    Hi Eugene. The first half should take you to Luchon. The SNCF runs a service to Biarritz from Luchon (though it is a bus for the first leg). Before Luchon the best exit point is Luz-St-Sauveur. When are you going to start?

  16. […] If you can download a GPX of the track, that is even better. This helped me a lot when doing the GR10, as there were a few areas (at least a couple per day) where I wasn’t sure of the route. This […]

  17. A Gentleman says:

    I know what you’re saying about meeting people if you do the west-east route. However, I have found that you meet more people if you walk east-west Going west-east you might be in a quiet pocket between others but if you go east-west, you are guaranteed to cross the paths of everyone going in the opposite direction.

  18. Bev says:

    Hi Steve

    I will be in the Girona area mid October – and walking solo. I am working towards completing GR10 in stages and thinking about doing the end section from Banyuls (walking for 5 days). Do you think this might be do-able at this time of year?

    Many thanks

  19. steve says:

    Hello Bev. No problem. The Refuge des Cortalets shuts on 15 October but there is always the free refuge next door. The refuge at the col d’Ouillat may or may not be open so you will need to ring them 04 68 83 62 20. There are also several huts and shelters: Tomy, Tanyreda… It could be cold though (frost in the morning). Have fun.

  20. Jay c says:

    Hi Steve.

    I hiked the GR10 from Hendaye to Luchon in summer 2011. I’m back in Luchon but have been held up for work reasons. I’d like to continue the GR10 and have full backpacking/camping equipment. Do you think it unwise to continue east along the route at this time of year? Ill be heading off October 7th. Im happy to wildcamp and carry a weeks worth of food at a time. I’m not carrying axe/crampons. I’m OK re navigation.

    Thanks

  21. steve says:

    Hi Jay. There has been a little snow in the Pyrenees already but this morning it was 13 degrees C at the Refuge des Cortalets (2150m)! As long as you are prepared to turn back or take an alternative route if the weather turns bad it could be OK. When you get to Mérens ask about the col de Coma d’Anyell which is at 2450m and has a steep downward slope after it. At night even on the lower parts of the GR10 there will be a ground frost. Take care but don’t spoil the walk by worrying too much. Steve

  22. michiel says:

    Hi all
    next year as part of an event from Banyuls to Hendaye where we will try to traverse the Pyrenees in 16 days. Yes I realise that is about 50k per day.

    Just finished your book Steve. It’s ace. So my first question, anybody done it in less than 30 days and what shoes did they use. I realise shoes are personal but just as food for thought. Food will be a later question 🙂

    Michiel

  23. Robin says:

    Walking the GR10 in 16 days – why bother!
    Get a helicopter and do it in one day – save all that walking,
    Walking allows you the time to savour what you are walking through. To me there are not enough daylight hours to see what there is to be seen. Stop, look, listen, smell the clean fresh air, engross the surroundings OR watch your feet see nothing and walk the GR10 in 16 days.

  24. michiel says:

    Thanks Robin. I don’t disagree with you, but the event I signed up for is 16 (or maybe even 17) days.
    So question stands 🙂

  25. steve says:

    Hi Michiel. Kilian Jornet did the GR10 in 8 days, so you can look at what he recommends. I’m more of a clodhopper so the only advice on footwear I can give is that thick soles are a good idea as the rocks often have sharp edges. I now walk with poles and find that it makes me much more stable so that I don’t search for the degree of ankle support I used to need – which means that I am looking to reduce the weight on my feet but I haven’t yet found anything to recommend.

  26. michiel says:

    8 days. Knowing Kilian he’ll have used Salomon. Which unfortunately are too narrow for me. But that’s good point.

  27. Ivo says:

    Dear,
    Does anyone knows a good apple app to upload the gpx files of
    http://www.gr-infos.com/gr10a.htm on an iphone.

    thank you

    Ivo

  28. Kevin says:

    Hello-
    My son (age 8) and I are planning a trip April 4 – April 14 2015. He enjoys the outdoors and can accomplish up to 8-10 miles with 2,500 elevation gain per day. We speak French. I have started researching the Pyrenees, particularly GR10 or GR11. Our ideal is to walk from village to village, mixing cultural experiences with the outdoors, and staying in inns or hotels along the way (so we can travel as light as possible). Can you suggest a section that might fit our goals? Thank you!

  29. steve says:

    Hi Kevin. At that time of year you need to be near the sea of you will have too much snow. In any case many of the hostels will be shut. You can rule out the GR11 because there isn’t enough accommodation. So your best option would be to start at Hendaye. Possible overnights are Biriatou, Olhette, Sare, Ainhoa, Ferme Esteben, Bidarray, St-Étienne-de-Baïgorry and St-Jean-Pied-de-Port. I don’t usually say to book the accommodation more than two days in advance but at that time of year you will need to check availability. If Bidarray to St-Étienne is too long you can catch the train but that would be a pity. I didn’t stop at all the places listed above, but here are the my times.

    It is beautiful countryside, very green. Walking in the Pyrenees is different to the American long-distance trails, as far as I can gather, because there are more villages. So you don’t need a tent.

    Start Climbing (m) Descent (m) km hours taken Finish
    1 Hendaye 688 588 21.9 06:30 Olhette
    2 Olhette 599 579 25.6 06:20 Aïnhoa
    3 Aïnhoa 694 664 25.1 07:00 Bidarray
    4 Bidarray 1227 1215 19.9 07:25 St Etienne-de-Baïgorry
    5 St Etienne-de-Baïgorry 859 864 21.3 05:15 St Jean Pied de Port
    6 St Jean Pied de Port 818 390 18 05:15 Route de Phagalcette
  30. james cordeaux says:

    Steve,
    Very interested in starting the walk from Hendaye. I’m thinking if doing the walk over a number of years. I would like to start from hendaye this summer in July. How far can I get in 7 days? Also is it fairly easy to fly in and out (from/to UK)? If so , where could I book from? Do you know if buses link up with airports?
    Thanks

  31. admin says:

    Hi James. Five to six days will get you to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port but beyond that it is some time before you reach another trailhead so you may well be best to stop there. You can fly in and out of either Bayonne or Bordeaux and catch buses into the towns from the airport, then trains to the trailheads. Hope this helps. Steve

  32. james cordeaux says:

    Thanks Steve that’s very helpful
    Just started your book and very much enjoying it. Have a good 2016

  33. Tim Boyes-Watson says:

    Hi Steve

    Great site. Me and my best mate (both mid-40s) are planing to walk for about 6 days starting 15 May. We are pretty tough and happy to sleep in huts and bring sleeping bags but want to avoid lugging camping gear. We have two friends in Limoges who have offered to ride us into the pyrenees on the back of their motorbikes and drop us off. From where we can walk and then ideally get the train back to London at the end.

    Please do you have any suggestions about where is best to start (coming from Limoges) and finish near somewhere on a trainline? Thanks Tim

  34. steve says:

    Hi Tim
    From Limoges almost anywhere in the Pyrenees is 5 hours drive, so from that point of view the choice isn’t limited. However 15 May is very early, unless you have crampons. Also much of the accommodation is closed. Your best bet would be to start in Hendaye and walk to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port. There are trains from SJPP which will take you back. This stretch isn’t high mountain by Pyrenean standards but still the Pic d’Iparla is at 1021m, higher than anything in England.
    I hope this helps.

  35. Will says:

    Hi Steve

    planning a 9 day walk along a section of the GR10 this year. Approx. route:

    Day From
    1 Arrens Marsous (Pt10 p92)
    2 lac d’Estaing
    3 Cauterets
    4 Refuge de Baysselance (B8 p38)
    5 Grange de Holle (B12 p46)
    6 St Sauveur (Pt19 p54)
    7 Bareges
    8 Chalet Refuge d’Oredon
    9 Refuge de Campana (p76)

    We have only two slots of holiday to choose from. Either the first two weeks of June or the last two weeks of July. Would prefer to go in June to avoid the heat and crowds, but imagine we would come across some snow. We are both experienced winter walkers (Scotland) but NOT climbers – would the path be walkable with crampons and axe in the higher sections, around Refuge de Baysselance for example?

    I thought I’d ask the hut guardians, but they are are not around to be asked at the moment. If you cannot advise, who would you suggest we contact?

    Will & Kathryn (UK)

  36. steve says:

    Hi Will and Kathryn

    You’ve correctly identified the problem with the early date. The slope above the Oulettes de Gaube hostel is just right for avalanches and the time of year is also one of the worst. You would be better off staying at the Oulettes de Gaube than Baysselance because the snow would still be frozen in the morning, rather than slushy in the afternoon. Your best bet is to contact the Bureau des Guides in Cauterets and see what they say. Can you please post their advice so others can benefit. Thanks.

  37. Jamie Copeland says:

    Hello, hope you can help. I am due to be doing a sponsored walk in September. the route is the Le Chemin de la Liberté or Freedom Trail, France. I think it starts in St Girons and ends in Esteri – d’anue???Not too concerned about the elevation or the distance, however I hate heights! I don’t mind being up high it’s just walking along cliffs and drop off’s!! Have you walked along this route and if so, is this something I should be concerned about?
    Would appreciate any advice.
    many thanks, Jamie

  38. steve says:

    Hi Jamie
    I know a bit about the freedom trail and have walked a small part of it. From what I have noted, and as far as I can see from the maps of the rest of it, the path does not go along the edges of cliffs but you will have to walk down steep slopes at times. You will find lots more information on the site dedicated to the Freedom Walk. For more details, contact Scott Goodall. Perhaps you might like to walk alongside the association which organises the trek in mid-July each year.

  39. Jamie Copeland says:

    Thanks for the reply, that’s a great help. I will contact Scott to see if he has anymore advice.
    Jamie

  40. Blair says:

    Hi Steve!
    Wow, this website and the comments are just fantastic! Such an inspiration. I will be traveling in Spain at the end of May this year with girlfriends and my fiancé has offered to come meet me to do a week of hiking on the GR10 from May 27-June 5th. I am an experienced backpacker/hiker from the NE US (I’ve done many trips in the white mountains etc) but he is not as experienced and is excited by the prospect of hiking and staying in beds at the end of the long day 🙂
    Are there any easily accessible routes you would recommend for this timeframe? I’ll be coming from Madrid, but he can fly in anywhere!

    Cheers,
    Blair

  41. steve says:

    Hello Blair
    My replies to Tim Boyes-Watson and Will, above, are relevant to your project. Basically, if you don’t want to use crampons, to be sure of having a good time go to either the Mediterranean or the Atlantic ends of the Pyrenees and walk inland. For comfortable accommodation and days which aren’t too long the Atlantic end is better. For a wilder experience but staying in unmanned huts, go for the Mediterranean.
    I hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any more questions.

  42. Will says:

    Steve

    thanks for your advice – can I now unsubscribe from receiving future comments please. We’ve opted for July as the lesser of the two evils.

    Thanks again

  43. steve says:

    Hi Will. In theory there is an unsubscribe link on the comments updates. If that doesn’t work come back to me and I’ll remove you manually. Have fun in July.

  44. Thomas says:

    Hi Steve,
    Your site is a huge help, thanks a bunch. I was hoping to get your thoughts on a 4 day hike that myself and 3 amigos are planning at easter (25/3 to 29/3). We are planning to walk from:
    day 1: St Jean Pied-de-Pont > St Etienne-de-Baigorry
    day 2: St etiennne > Bidarray
    day 3: Bidarray > Ainhoa
    day 4: Ainhoa > Olhette

    I have chosen the route above because it is closer to the coast, lower altitude and accessible by road at various points if weather turns against us.
    I am a bit worried whether there will be too much snow (or any snow) on the trail at this time of year> I’d hope that given the lack of snow this year we would be fine, but wanted to ask your thoughts if possible.

    thanks in advance for your help, Tom

  45. steve says:

    Hi Tom
    Yes that looks a good plan. If there is any snow you are most likely to find it on Iparla, but as you say you can avoid it. I’d be interested to know how you get on.
    Best wishes Steve

  46. Hi Steve, I wrote to you a few months ago for your advice on walking the GR10. Well, I’m finally ready and I will be walking the GR10 during July to August this year. I am doing this for a charity (Norwood) that cares for people with learning and physical disabilities. I am walking the GR10 because it is a challenge that will, in some small way, help me to show my appreciation for the charity that cares for my son. I have attached a link to my Virgin Giving page. I am also looking for some keen trekkers to walk with me, either the entire length or for some of the sections. Please let me know if there are any interested readers and I will send my detailed itinerary. Thank you for such an excellent blog! I have linked my Virgin Giving page and Facebook page to this blog as well.

  47. Mike says:

    Hi, I have time off between the middle of April and the end if June this year (2016). Will the GR10 be manageable between these dates do you think?

  48. steve says:

    Hi Mike,

    Hmm… If you mean walking the whole of the GR10 starting at one end mid-April, I think you will have difficulties unless you are adept with crampons. What you could try is starting no earlier than 1 May from Hendaye and going as far as you can until you hit too much snow, probably after Gabas, day 13. Then take a taxi and train to the other end, Banyuls, and work inland. But perhaps you were thinking of some other idea? Unless you are camping (brr…) you will need to check which hostels are open as the season only starts at the beginning of June (though some have a room which is available all year round).

    Best of luck Steve

  49. Hello trekkers! Anyone planning on walking the GR10 this year? I am leaving from Hendaye on July 4th and hope to finish around the end of August. I am keen to meet up with some others so I won’t be walking the route alone. Please contact me if you are going around that time.

  50. Thomas says:

    Hi Steve, thanks for your previous reply on our trip plan. Apparently there has been record late snow this year so we are a little nervous about what Iparla will look like (will be really dissapointed to miss it). Since we are walking the route in reverse, can you recommend or suggest a guide which covers the GR10 from East to West? Cicerone guide looks like it only covers West to East. Thanks again, Tom

  51. steve says:

    Yes there has been some late snow but I have just been looking at the reports and the nearest ski resort Artouste is closed, presumably because there isn’t enough. I suspect you will be alright but you need to see when you get there. The forecast is sun/cloud then rain later in the week (snow above 1000m). See http://www.meteociel.fr/previsions/23856/saint_jean_pied_de_port.htm. By the time you arrive it will be 13 degrees C in the valley! So the snow may well be melting on Iparla; it isn’t very high. Ask when you are in SJPP at the Gendarmerie (they are involved in mountain rescue). In any case coming down from Iparla avoid the ridge route. Good luck. Steve (Can you let me know how you got on please.)

  52. Thomas says:

    Thanks Steve, I will certainly update you on how we went. Since we are walking the route in reverse, can you recommend or suggest a guide which covers the GR10 from East to West? Cicerone guide looks like it only covers West to East. Hopefully that can help me work out what the ridge route we have to avoid is too. Thanks again, Tom

  53. Rami says:

    Hello
    I am going to walk a part of the GR10 next summer (around two weeks during late June- beginning of July 2016).
    I would like to take the part of Hourquette d’Ossoue, the Vignemale, and Gavarnie around late June. Should it be snow on the ground? Can I walk without special equipment to the Bayssellence refuge, for example?
    General question – Should I make reservations in advance for the refuges on the trail (I am walking alone)?
    Thank you

  54. steve says:

    Hello Rami
    There may be snow on the ground late June but you will probably be able to walk around it and not need crampons or an ice axe. However to be sure ring up the hostel at the Oulettes de Gaube 05 62 42 13 67 a few days beforehand. As for reserving, in that area, at that time of year you would be best to do so, but try to allow a bit of flexibility in your timetable in case of bad weather.
    It is a lovely part of the mountains.

  55. Rami says:

    Thank you very much for your reply.
    You wrote that I have to make reservations but to allow flexibility:
    1. How long in advance should I make my reservations?
    2. In which part and how do you recommend to allow flexibility (I think I will walk from Gabas or from Gourette to Luchon)?
    Thanks again

  56. steve says:

    Hello Rami. I used to think that it was only necessary to reserve a couple of days in advance but it seems increasingly difficult to find a bed in the high season (from 1 July). And I have just tried to book at the Chalets d’Iraty (for the end of June) but they are full so I have had to replan. On the other hand if I book too much in advance I might set out in bad weather or when dead tired just because I am expected at the hostel. It is a difficult call. So what I have done for this summer is to build in more rest days so that I have flexibility, should I get behind schedule – I don’t think it likely that I will arrive too early! I try to arrange the rest days where there is a side walk available if I have the energy. Hope this helps. Steve

  57. Yasmin Grant says:

    Really helpful information!
    I was planning on doing the Cauterets to Lac de l’Oule étape at the end of April but I’m having doubts.
    I really love hiking but I’m a bit of a rookie! I’ve noticed that the high season is July/August but the only time i can do this hike is at the end of April.

    As a (fit) rookie, what do you suggest I bring with me?
    Will i need crampons? Is there a number I can call to get weather updates? Is there a guide i can buy so I don’t get lost?

    Thank you in advance!
    Yasmin

  58. Yasmin Grant says:

    Ok, scrap that! i’ve just skimmed through the previous comments and we’re going to re-plan our route! We’ll do the première étape instead!
    This website is an absolute goldmine-will be sure to take a copy of the information with me!

  59. steve says:

    Hello Yasmin. I’m glad the site was useful. Cauterets to the lac d’Oule would have been difficult. Best wishes Steve

  60. Rami says:

    Hello Steve
    I started planning my days in the GR10 so I can make reservations in advance, as you recommended me above.
    However, I would like to consult with you: the day from Arrens-marsous to Cauterets seems to be too long (isn’t it?) so I thought to stay in refuge d’llheou. Next day I thought to stay in refuge des oulettes de gaube and from there to walk to Le Chalet La Grange de Holle. The next day I thought to stay in Luz Saint-Sauveur. My question is if I have a too long day in my plan above and if yes, should I walk from Arrens-marsous to Cauterets in one part after all.

    Thank you again for all your advices
    Rami

  61. steve says:

    Hello Rami Arrens-Marsous-Ilhéou-Cauterets-Oulettes de Gaube-Granges de la Holle-Luz-St Sauveur is plausible. When I did it I added in one extra stop, at the Chalet du Clot and stayed at Baysselance rather than the Oulettes de Gaube. The last two days on your plan are the hardest. Why not have a short day around Gavarnie spending a second night at the gite le Saugué or nearby? This would give you time to recover and also make the last day more reasonable.
    Happy walking, Steve

  62. Lisa says:

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve just spent hours looking through your site. You truly are a gift to walkers. I hesitate to ask your advice– but here i go! I would like to do a 4(ish) day walk with my 12 year old daughter in late June/very early July. We live in Southern Spain and have friends in Toulouse– so anywhere between those two points. My daughter can do less than 20km per day and prefers rolling hills to mountians. We would like to stay in as supported facilities as possible and if we could avoid crowds, have a very well marked trail and see beautiful nature we would be in paradise. Thank you so much! -Lisa

  63. steve says:

    Hello Lisa. The best rolling countryside, with facilities, is in the Basque country (any four days between Hendaye and St-Jean-Pied-de-Port), but that isn’t really on your way unless you are in SW Spain. Further east, you might want to consider the Sentier Cathar. Or perhaps the Spanish GR15 which is in the foothills. Possibly the GR10 between Py and Planes might fit the bill. You could leave the car at Villefranche and take a taxi to Py. At the end you could return to Villefranche on the little yellow train. Don’t hesitate to ask more.
    Steve

  64. Caroline says:

    Hi Steve, like everyone else, I think your website is fantastic. A wealth of helpful information. I am interested in walking from SJPP to Esta, starting on 31 May. It will be hard for me to go later in the year. Do you think I will encounter snow? I am walking alone – is this stretch something I shouldn’t tackle? I get the sense that it is comparatively undemanding and well-used, so I’m likely to meet other walkers, which suits me fine – what do you think?

    Caroline

  65. steve says:

    Hi Caroline. I’m glad the site is useful. You say you are going from SJPP to Esta. I’m not sure where Esta is and think it might be a spelling mistake. Can you check please.

  66. steve says:

    So sorry, Steve: I meant to type ETSAUT. If I have your ear and eye for a moment, perhaps I could check out the following with you.

    I am 62 and love walking and have done quite bit on my own (eg backpacking in the Romania a few years ago, the Dolomites, based in a chalet with other walker, last year), but I am nervous of walking in the Pyranees alone after Macs Adventure told me they do not take bookings for solo walkers. I am aiming for ETSAUT because a friend has a house nearby and will be there at the beginning of June. If I walk from StJean Pied de Port to Etsaut, it seems to take 4 days, two of which are very long.

    Can you tell me how difficult it is to follow the GR10 over this section, and whether any snow in the first week of June is likely to make things difficult. I can check in advance if the gites etc are open … it’s more to see if you can give me a feel of whether this section is difficult in any way, and whether it really is too early.

    Thank you!

    Hello Caroline
    It’s not too early: the highest point is at 1950m so the snow should have melted at that date. But SJPP to Etsaut is 114km with 7551m of climbing. I’m surprised someone has suggested it is a four-day hike. It took me 43 hours of walking over six days and that was pushing it.
    I hope this helps.

  67. Laura says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks so much for all your advice. I am just starting my research on Pyreness walks- I’m planning 2 weeks on foot from the 28th June to the 12th July with myself and one other. I’m keen to do the higher, more remote and scenic aspects of the Pyrenees walks- I am an experienced hiker with navigational skills and have all my own trekking gear including 4-season tent. The only restriction would be glacial crossings as I won’t have access to crampons and ice-axe. Any suggestions of trails to take?

  68. Michael says:

    I can confirm there is a spring at Tanyureda. It’s a few hundred metres along the dirt road just down from the refuge. Dear God I was glad for that refuge a few days ago. Also the wooden based bunks are a great idea, they don’t get cold like metal ones. It snowed for a minute, I loved that.

  69. steve says:

    Hi Laura. At that kind of date you should be able to wander up to 2400m without encountering snow and get up to 2800m or above with some snow but nothing show-stopping. Perhaps you might like to do a circular walk taking in both sides of the Pyrenees (GR10 in France and GR11 in Spain) zigzagging across from one to the other depending on the weather. Have a look at my list of cross-border walks in the Pyrenees (not a complete list by any means). For high-mountain walks try the central zone. Hope this helps, Steve

  70. Rami says:

    Hello Steve
    I implemented your advices from above and made reservations for all of my days on the GR10 except for one – my first night (the day of my arrival from Lourdes by plane) – Arrens-marsous. I tried to make reservations but I understand that Gîte-auberge Camelat is closed and also Hôtel Le Tech. can you recommend me what to do? Are there other places to stay in or maybe I should stay in Lourdes and arrive Arrens-marsous next morning?

  71. steve says:

    Hello Rami. I suggest you try contacting the local tourist office, the Office du tourisme de Val d’Azun, which should be able to help. Good luck for your walk.

  72. Daisy says:

    Hi Steve,

    This site is awesome!!

    I was wondering if you could recommend a good 3 night 4 day hike (maybe 3.5 day) for us? I have a lot of experience backpacking solo with a tent & my boyfriend is a strong athlete. I think we are interested in hiking 5 or 6 hours a day (I can hike 2-3 miles/hour depending on the elevation). I am interested in staying on the French side & seeing a more mountainous view rather than a hill side view. We are also interested in staying in the huts.

    And, we can’t decided if we should rent a car, or if we could travel easily by train – are there any recommendations for that specifically? We plan to head to the Ocean after some hiking.

    Thanks!!

  73. steve says:

    Hello Daisy. It depends on when you are going but if it is July/August you could consider this:

    1. Cauterets to Oulettes de Gaube
    2. oulettes de Gaube to Gavarnie
    3. Gavarnie to Luz-St-Sauveur
    4. Luz-St-Sauveur to Cauterets

    See the section entitled Hourquette d’Ossoue above, which describes the first part of the route. This is high mountain walking. You don’t need a car as Cauterets is accessible by train as far as Lourdes where you will find a bus connection. Ot you could try Luz-St-Sauveur to Luchon, getting a taxi to Barèges to make the first day feasible. Let me know if you need any more info.

  74. Rami says:

    Hello Steve
    I hope I do not ask too many questions but every recommendation of yours is so helpful. Thank you again.
    I made all the reservations for my 11 days walk, starting June 28, and I have second thought on one part. I am walking from REFUGE DE BAYSSELLANCE to Gîte d’Etape Le Saugué, the next day to Luz Saint-Sauveur and then to Barèges.
    I think I prefer to sleep in Gavarnie and hike to Cirque de Gavarnie to La Grande Cascade and back. If I do it I have to skip one-step (I have to finish in Luchon at a fixed date) – or from Gavarnie to Luz Saint-Sauveur (take a bus?) or from Luz Saint-Sauveur to Barèges (take a bus?).
    What is your recommendation? Is walking to Cirque de Gavarnie is worthwhile? If yes which step should I skip? (I will need public transportation instead).
    Rami

  75. steve says:

    Hello Rami
    Since you will be in Gavarnie anyway you must go to the Cascade. It is only a short walk there and back from Gavarnie (6km) but rather longer from la Saugué. Perhaps you could fit it in between Bayssellance and la Saugé. If you still feel you need to cut a day out then take the taxi from Gavarnie to Luz.
    Steve

  76. Matthew says:

    Hi Steve,

    This website has been incredibly helpful, thank you!

    I am a student studying in Toulouse and some fellow students and I have been planning a hike starting from Mérens les Vals June 3 and ending at Vernet les Bains June 9 or 10. Do you think this is a reasonable section of the GR 10 to tackle given that it’s early in the season? We are all experienced hikers, but do not have crampons or ice axes with us. I would appreciate your thoughts!

    Thanks!

  77. Eve says:

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve just booked a return flight to Lourdes for the end of July and am planning on walking as much as i can of the GR10 in a week – starting at Caureters. If I walk about six hours a day, can you recommend a good stretch, and the best refuges to stay please? Could I make it from Cauterets to Lac de l’Oule (via Gavarnie) and get back to Lourdes from there? Going to book accommodation now. Very excited!
    Thanks so much for your help
    Eve

  78. steve says:

    Hello Eve

    From Cauterets you have two options

    1. Cauterets – Bayssellance (7h15) – Gavarnie (5h30) – Luz-St-Sauveur (9h05!) – Barèges (3h00) – Oule (7h00) – Saint-Lary-Soulan (3h30) (as you suggested)
    2. Cauterets – Luz-St-Sauveur (7h20) – Barèges (3h00) – Oule (7h00) – Saint-Lary-Soulan
    3. (3h30)

    From Saint-Lary-Soulon you will be able to find transport back to Lourdes.

    Unfortunately it isn’t possible to arrange the days more evenly.

    If you want to stay at Bayssellance it is the first place you should book as it could already be full. Otherwise stay at Oulettes de Gaube (1h30 earlier). The other possibility is to stay at the lac d’Oredon rather than Oule (again 1h30 earlier) which makes the days more even. There is plenty of accommodation in Cauterets, Gavarnie, Luz, Barèges and St Lary but I don’t recommend any in particular. However, you will have noticed that the day from Gavarnie to Luz is rather long. You can shorten it a bit by staying at the Granges de la Holle or more by staying at Le Saugé or L’Escapade but the last makes the previous day significantly longer.

    I hope this helps. Have fun. Steve

  79. James says:

    Hey Steve!
    Myself and four friends will all be hiking in the Pyrenees from around June 30th – July 16th. We’re interested in the most dramatic sections as we originally wanted to do the Dolomites, but found that tenting is forbidden.
    I was in Gourette before and hiked to Lac d’Anglas, where I went for a swim and a bit of climbing, and I want to hike through (and perhaps over!) some awesome peaks, lakes and boulder fields. Where is the best section for this? 🙂
    Thanks! 😀

  80. steve says:

    Hello James. Well if you want awesome, perhaps you should be on the Haute Randonnée Pyrénénne (HRP) or the GR11 in Spain, see my comparison of GR10, GR11 and HRP treks. Assuming that you have the skills (navigation and high-mountain experience) then the Central Pyrenees are where you should be (from Gourette to Luchon in GR10 terms or Candanchú to Conangles on the GR11). You will need crampons and ice axes to climb Aneto (3404m), Vignemale, Perdido etc. it is also possible to switch from one route to another, see my post on cross-frontier hikes in the Pyrenees.

    All three routes can be done without tents, but you need a lot of planning to find the mountain huts.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to elaborate on your project. Steve

  81. steve says:

    7 June 2016 The snow has melted. There is no problem on the Pyrenean Way (GR10) between Hendaye and Ustou (Ariège). Two Canadians trailblazers who set out from Hendaye on 16 May have arrived at the Gîte d’Etape L’Escolan on their way to the Mediterranean.

  82. Chris says:

    Hi Steve

    Great website! Like so many others, I can only admire the work you continue to put in to keep this up to date and to respond the folks like me.

    I am planning to walk the full GR 10 in July and August, starting July 3. Your site has really answered so many questions – I only have a couple of quite small ones.

    (i) Are there identifiable markers at the beginning and end of the GR 10?, eg, a post or cairn or sign? Or is simply a matter of any where on the beach at either end for the obligatory selfies?

    (ii) Planning stops at Cabane de Besset, Etang d’Ayes on consecutive nights, and then Refuge de Clarans about a week later. As far as I can make out I will definitely need a tent for the 2nd of these, and might be a good option for the other 2 as well. Is that right?

    I’ve done some day walks on the GR 10, so have a sense of the countryside and the ascent / descent required. Planning 54 days of walking with 5 rest days. Reasonably experienced walker in Australia, also in UK and New Zealand. (Longest walk was Heysen Trail in South Australia – 1150 kms, but of course nowhere near as much up and down as GR 10.) Have walked about 850 miles so far this year to get some strength in my 60 year old legs..

    Judging from your book as well as other sources such as the Ciceronne Guide I expect heat to be a major issue much of the time – but with mist and fog always being a possibility in these mountains.

    I will be solo some of the time, but have 2 brothers joining me for some sections of the walk. Will of course carry various maps, navaids and emergency gear, but have got pack weight down to 10.5 kgs..

    Cheers

    Chris

    (Adelaide / Australia)

  83. […] in their new home. We walked on both the Spanish and French side of the Pyrenees, on the GR11 and GR10, in the Ordesa Canyon, throughout the Valle de Tena, all the while in various weather conditions […]

  84. steve says:

    Hello Chris.
    Glad you found the site helpful.
    (i) As far as I know there is no official start in Hendaye but there is a plaque in Banyuls on the town hall. Everybody takes a photo there.
    (ii) I haven’t been to look at these three huts recently. Pyrenees Refuges et Cabanes is the best source of information for the first two. For Clarens ask Fabrice who runs the Petit Gite de Siguer and organises supplies for it. If you are only carrying a tent for those three nights, you would be better to leave it at home. Even if there is a problem with one of them there are others within an hour’s walk in an emergency.
    As you say, heat can be a problem on the GR10 but you may also have a sudden snowstorm, even in July/August. As an Australian I expect you deal with heat by starting early. In any case most thunderstorms arrive after 16h00 so it’s best to arrive before then.
    Looks like you are well prepared. By the way, you can download the locations of all the huts in the Pyrenees for your GPS. It took me a while to find that page; I was doing them one by one, as needed.
    I’m going to walking the HRP at the same time as you are on the GR10. They cross in places so maybe we will meet up.
    Have fun!

  85. […] my oldest son is in Italy, and I started thinking, what about Europe? I could do some more of the GR10; I could do some of the GR20, or I could look for some hikes around where he lives in Milan. My […]

  86. Chris says:

    Thanks for that Steve – much appreciated.

    BTW – I believe, from an email I had from Fabrice a week or two back, that the Petit Gite at Siguer is no longer available. As far as I could make out, the local municipality is no longer supporting it. I have managed to find alternate accommodation in Siguer through booking.com, but it does complicate the resupply question for the next day.

    Would be great fun if our paths crossed. My plan, subject to accident, illness, weather and bears, is to have rest days in St Jean PDP (July 8), Cauterets (July 20), Luz St Saveur (July 25), Luchon (Aug 1st) and Merens (Aug 18th) arriving at the Med on Aug 30th. We shall see what actually happens..

    Cheers for now

    Chris

  87. Eve says:

    Thanks so much Steve – everything’s booked now, thanks for your help and advice. The only stage I’ve not booked yet is my night in/around Bareges – plenty of places to stay in town, as you say, but I’m keen to try a refuge or somewhere more in the wilds that night – are there are refuges around there? Thanks again! Eve

  88. steve says:

    Hello Eve. Glad to be of help. You might like to try the Cabane Aygues-Cluses (scroll down for recent comments). It will be primitive but the situation is perfect. Beware, huts like this may be locked so you need to be prepared for the worst… or the best!

  89. steve says:

    Hi Chris. Thanks for the info about the Petit Gite; you could still ask Fabrice about the state of Clarens. I’m planning to be in Luchon on 2 August, going up to the Maupas refuge for the night. Depending on your timing we may meet up. Contact me on steve [at] archetype-it [point] com nearer the time if you like. Cheers Steve

  90. Caroline Villiers says:

    Hello Steve,

    Thank you for all the information on your site. So, so helpful.

    If I (travelling by car) wanted to meet someone doing the walk somewhere along the route, could you please suggest the most accessible point? Preferably somewhere with accommodation?

    Thanks again in advance,
    Caroline

  91. steve says:

    Hello Caroline. Thanks for your question; it has prompted me to update the site. If you look at the map page you will see that the lists now show which hostels and huts on the GR10 and GR11 in Spain are accessible by car.

  92. steve says:

    I’m off walking the Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne on Monday 20 June, so I might not be able to answer questions very quickly. But there are plenty of others who can help.

  93. Alun Davies says:

    Hi – my wife and I are planning to walk for 9 days in the Pyrenees in September. Last year we walked the Alta Via 2 and before that the Summer Haute Route to Zermatt I mention that to give you an idea of our level / grade. We like 6-8 hour days staying in guarded huts or valley hotels. We would like your advice please on which stretch of the GR10 you would recommend to us?
    I see you are away walking – but hop you can reply later please.
    Best wishes
    Alun

  94. steve says:

    Hi Alun. I should be able to reply around 6 July. If I forget please remind me. Steve

  95. Ed griffiths says:

    Hi, I walked the Pyrenees in the summer of 2013 starting on the 1st of July. The only stage I couldn’t do because of snow was Gabas to Gourette. I took a tent but wish I hadn’t, with the changes in the Ariege in particular I didn’t need it. It was a lot of unnecessary weight. I fully subscribe (now) to the “travel light” philosophy and sent a load of updates to Cicerone as it was their GR10 guide that convinced me to take the tent. It’s a good guide but sadly in need of update. If I go again (maybe next summer) I’ll see if I can persuade them to do a new edition.
    Ed

  96. Heather says:

    Hi Alun, I’m not an expert like Steve, but I walked from St Jean Pied de Port to St Lary Soulon last year (a bit longer than what you are planning). I wrote it up in my blog (https://solohikerchick.wordpress.com/) For me, the most spectacular sections were from Arriete le Pierre St Martin to Lescun (spectacular karst scenery); Estaut to Gabas (try and plan your hike to stay at the spectacular Refuge d’Ayous…and don’t do what I did, hike the next day all the way to Gourette; it’s a spectacular walk, but took me 13 hours). Then the 3 day variant from Cauterets (when approaching Cauterets, don’t turn right for the Refuge D’Ilheou,rather go left and you can go down the cable car. After the refuge, you just walk on a horrid steep road, then on bitumen down to the village, and it is not really a nice walk) is an absolute must, as is the short walk from Gavarnie to the Cascade (though it does seem awfully long if you do it after arriving). You can also catch a bus from Gavarnie to the Pont d’Espagne. I found the walk from Pont d’Espagne to Refuge Baysellance the most exquisitely beautiful of the section that I did, up past Lac du Gaube and into this awesome amphitheatre surrounded by huge mountains. Climbing Petit Vignemale is not a huge extra climb at the end of this too. Refuge Baysellance is probably the one place I would book, as it is often full, as people use it as a base to go climbing glaciers and the surrounding mountains. Most refuges allow camping in the grounds if they are full (if Baysellance is full go a bit further down the path towards the caves, as it is VERY windy on the plateau). Also, the Cicerone guide is horribly out of date, rather buy the French guidebook, it is much better (available in most of the bigger villages). Have a great walk.

  97. Heather says:

    Sorry, I meant you can catch a bus from Cauterets to Pont d’Espagne (not from Gavarnie…I did catch a bus from Gavarnie when I did the hike, but to Luz St Saveur as it was raining torrentially and all the creeks were flooded).

  98. Robin says:

    G’day Ed Griffiths,
    They do make ultra-light tents these days!
    Give me a tent and a good night’s sleep in preference to a snoring interrupted night of slumber any day!

  99. Marianne says:

    Hi Steve, We’re happy to find your site planning our GR10 trek. Since we begin our holiday i Bordeaux, we’ll go by train to Merens-les-vals (10 july). We plan to reach Banyuls-sur-mer by the 21st (to go back to Bordeaux by train the 22nd). Our plan is to follow the Ciceron guide (days 39-50), but after reading critique about need to update the guide, we’d like to have your comments about this route. We are fit, experienced hikers used to high altitudes (I walked Alta via 2 last summer). We’ll pack light, only bring travel blankets for sleep. Are there any must sees or dont’s? Are there any parts of our trip where we should book our stay days in advance? Difficulties making food supplys for the day?

    Thank you in advance!

    Marianne and Mats fr.o.m. Sweden

  100. steve says:

    Hi Marianne and Matts. I am away in the mountains so will reply when I get back 6 July. Book les Cortalets. Climb Canigou. More later.Steve

  101. alison ryan says:

    Hi Steve
    We have used your advice before and in planning our next stage of the GR10 have run into a problem, hence wondering if you can point us in the right direction. We are doing about 10 days and struggling to find somewhere around Sigeur. We have booked a night in Auzat but have had no luck with Sigeur. We emailed the person your website suggests but got an automated email back and it seems as far as I can make out that they no longer have people stay there. Le Petit Gite is closed, and another place we found called Cancela is full. We are struggling to find anywhere else. Any suggestions very welcome. Many thanks, Alison

  102. Stuart says:

    How did you get on Caroline? (15.4.06 post). I walked SJPP to Etsaut many years ago and, like Steve, needed 6 days. This year I did Etsaut to Luz in 4 days (2-5 June) in foul weather.Snow blocked the way between Gabas and Gourette necessitating a long detour through forest and on roads.The sun came out on 6 June but I’m surprised that the snow melted so quickly- the gardien at the Grange la Holle said the Cirque was only possible with crampons and ice axe. There is nowhere to stay in Arrens-Marsous. I stayed at a brilliant gite/auberge at the Col de Soulor. But that made it a very long day to Cauterets the next day. Hope you had a good walk Steve!

  103. Duncan says:

    Hi,

    I want to say a big thank you for the site. Me and a friend just got back from doing the loop from Cauterets, over Hourquette d’Ossou to Gavarnie, then up to Luz, followed by a quick pop over to Bareges on the GR10C before heading back to Lourdes (on the bus). Your page proved invaluable in both planning and execution of our trip. It was one of the best holidays I’ve had, and the scenery on this section is indescribable in its majesty. I thought I’d add a couple of notes that may be of use to others:
    – we’re not experienced in this kind of hiking (day trips up peaks in the Lake District was the most we’d done prior to this), and though we’re not unfit by any means, we’re not ultra runners. Where I’m going with this is that we found the times on the yellow signs to be…optimistic at best. We tended to add on 10-15 mins for every hour on signs

    – Lac de Gaube is BUSY. Not surprising really, given how beautiful it is, but it’s clearly a popular location; there were at least a hundred people there

    – the route up over Hourquette d’Ossou, which we did on the 28th June, involved a lot of walking over snow. Fortunately others had obviously gone before us (up and down) so there were footprints to follow, but we still found it hairy at times. The same was true on the way down the other side – there weren’t as many snow sections there, but with the time of year, and thus several sections showing great holes in the middle of previous ‘paths’ across, we were still glad to have it behind us

    – Cabane des Lourdes proved a useful stopping point. There’s some iron bunks in one room, and the springy corpse of a mattress in another. There was a shower and a stove, both of which look like they’ve not been operable for a long time. Nevertheless it proved welcome shelter from the thunderstorm that occurred ten mins after we got there

    – We ended up going from Gavarnie all the way to Luz. I was sure I’d seen somewhere reference to a hut on this stretch, but we didn’t see one, and so this leg took us around 11.5hrs (with breaks)

    – This probably goes without saying, but not a lot of English is spoken along the route, even in Cauterets, Gavarnie and Luz (or at least where we went). I’ve enough French to get by, but for anyone with no French, Spanish is fairly prevalent. And if neither of those tongues are familiar, I’d recommend a basic phrase book

    Again, thank you for your dedication to this site and the advice it contains. I fully intend to go back and do more in the future, and will be keeping this page in mind when I do so.

  104. steve says:

    Hi Duncan. I’m glad the site was helpful. And thanks for sharing your experience. I will be walking from the Oulettes de Gaube to Gavarnie on the HRP next week so it is useful to know the conditions.

  105. steve says:

    Hi Stuart. I have just arrived home after 13 days on the HRP – some of the areas are wildly beautiful. I will be going back next Monday to walk Somport to Luchon. See my Twitter feed for pictures as I progress.

  106. steve says:

    Hi Alison. I will ring the Mairie in Siguer tomorrow to see if they have any information. In the meantime you might like to consider walking to Miglos and staying there, coming back to the GR10 next day. Then you could stay in either the Cabane de Courtal Marti, the Cabane des Clarens or the Cabane Artaran, all primitive but when I last saw them they all still had roofs. If Auzat to Miglos is too long for you stay in the Relais d’Endron in Goulier. i stayed there last month. There is a good welcome and great food.

  107. steve says:

    Hi Marianne and Mats. From what you are saying I guess you are not staying in hostels, though there are plenty. You can resupply in Font Romeu (slightly off route), Vernet (off route), Arles and la Jonquera. Let me know if you have any specific questions. Look at Pyrenees refuges and cabanes for info on free huts. Best wishes, Steve.

  108. steve says:

    Hi Alun. In September you may find some of the refuges are closed so better at the beginning of the month than the end if you have a choice. The main trailheads in the (higher) central section are Etsaut, Gourette, Cauterets, Gavarnie and Bagnères de Luchon. The accommodation in Ariège, further east, is difficult. But walking from Gabas and Gourette involves either 10 hours walking or staying in a hut. So perhaps start at Gourette. See this list of busses from Pau to the Pyrenees. Let me know if you need any other info.

  109. Will says:

    Steve

    A technical question. We are walking a section of the GR10 in a couple of weeks and I’ve just got an IGN map (1:50,000, Carte de Randonness)as a backup to the FFR Topo Guide. I wanted to use the map in conjunction with my Garmin GPS and get grid ref’s off of the GPS to confirm my position on the grid on the map.

    Q – do you know what to set the Position format and Map Datum to so that the ref’s match those marked on the map. My French is very limitted but it looked like UTM / WGS 84 but when I set this and try some co-ordinates for a town on my map myu GPS highlights somewhere in Eastern Europe – so something is not quite right there!

    Thanks

  110. steve says:

    Hello Will

    Yes the coordinate system you need is UTM/WGS84 on French Maps. For example the coordinates for the church in Cauterets are 30 T 735770 4752348. 30T is the map tile (you don’t need to put this in). 735770 is the easting and 4752348 the northing. Try working the other way round: look at a position on your GPS and make a note of the coordinates and check it against your map.

    Beware, on Spanish Maps it is UTM/Datum Europeu 1950, see my article on using a GPS on Spanish Maps.

  111. steve says:

    Hi Alison. There was nobody at the Mairie when I rang. I will try again tomorrow. However the email you forwarded to me does explain the situation. Fabrice Scheffer is no longer running the Petit Gite but is still leaving supplies in Courtal Marty, Balleydret,and cabane EDF Clarens (to be paid for when you arrive at either Siguer or the Refuge du Rhule). There is, however, a room made available to walkers in Siguer. To book this you will need to phone the Mairie which is only open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 14h00 to 17h00. Email = mairie.siguer@wanadoo.fr, tel +33 (0)5 61 05 65 45.

    Du Jeudi au Vendredi : de 14h00 à 17h00

  112. Terry Stanway says:

    Hi Steve
    I am really you can help!
    We have planned a Charity fundraising trek for our local hospice, following the Freedom Trail from the 12th – 19th September. Everything is arranged including accomodation, transfers etc. and we have completed a considerable amount of training. Our group consists of 19 people including 2 members with Mountain Leader experience and 4 people with a range of First Aid qualifications. Unfortunately we have found out today that we have lost our planned guide.
    Through ongoing research it has been repeated referenced that any expo should have a guide who has completed the trail previously, so we now have a problem! Could you reccommend any possible local guides who would be willing to head-up our trek on the dates shown?
    All accommodation is already paid for including catering and we could offer a fee from the funds rasied to date.
    I await your feedback and sincerely hope you can help.
    Regards
    Terry

  113. Madeleine says:

    Hi, thanks for this wonderful resource! I am planning to walk on the GR 10 for a couple of weeks this September, probably starting in St Jean Pied de Port. I’m not intending to take a tent so will skip the sections that require camping. What should I do about maps if I don’t have a GPS? Are the wikiloc maps good enough to rely on if i download them and access them offline? Or would you recommend I splashed out for a GPS before I leave? My long-distance walking experience is on the Overland Track in Tasmania, Australia, and the Camino – neither of which I needed a map for, so I’m just not sure how prepared I need to be.
    Many thanks for any advice,
    madeleine

  114. Henry says:

    Hi Steve,
    Fab website. Very inspiring. Thank you for all your efforts. I have a question. I am a father of three very fit kids (10,12 and 14) with very little hiking experience. I am a relatively good hiker (did half of the GR20 last summer – al very clearly marked!). We are holidaying in Cadaques and my initial plan was to take them and the lady wife (also fit) on a three-night hike from nearby Banyuls next week (staying in refuges gardés or gites). However, I was just in Collioure and it is incredibly hot. Would you have any advice on what would be a good stretch that is sufficiently cool not to frazzle them from the outset. Given that we have to return to Spain afterwards, and probably to Barcelona, I would also be interested in any alternative suggestion you might have other than the GR10 if you think it would be a better option. At one stage I thought of doing the tour du Canigou but it might be a lot of climbing and pretty crowded. Thank you so much in advance. Henry

  115. steve says:

    Hi Henry
    Yes it is too hot near the coast. Perhaps Thuès (train station) – Carança refuge – Mantet (chez Cazanove) – Mariailles (refuge) – Cortalets (4×4 taxi down to Villefranche train station) would fit the bill. The Carança gorges are spectacular but the path is 2,5m wide and there is a handrail. You won’t get up to the top of Canigou on this route (you could do the chimney but your 10-year-old is probably a little small to manage the chimney. I hope this helps.

  116. steve says:

    Hello Madeleine
    The waymarking on the GR10 is good but Wikiloc maps are not good enough if you stray off the trail or need to change course for any reason. You could buy one of the guides but there is no substitute for a 1:25000 map. Except, that is, a GPS. (I love my GPS.) If you have one you can download the free TopoPirineos map and create a track which you will be able to follow even in the thickest fog.
    Best wishes
    Steve

  117. steve says:

    Hi Terry

    I don’t know any guides in that area, though there must be some (about 300 euros/day). Try tourist information in Seix or St Girons. They should be able to help.

  118. Miguel Yiallourides says:

    Hi Steve, awesome content. I have been reading your website and consulting it for many days now as I will be doing the Cauterets – Lac De L’Oule route though stopping at Bareges.

    Do you think for an unexperienced hiker like myself, going on this route alone what are the top 3 things I need to look out for?

    Also, from Gavernie to Luz Saint Sauveur which from what I’ve heard the trek is about 8-9 hours. I’m thinking of doing that in one day, from morning until nightfall. Is it doable?

    I’m 24, male, fit but not much hiking experience and going alone

    Thanks

    Miguel Yiallourides

  119. steve says:

    Hi Miguel.

    1. The most important safety factor is the ability to navigate (and a map/compass/altimeter or GPS). As long as you stay on the trail somebody will come along… eventually.
    2. As you haven’t done much hiking you will probably find the Pyrenees a challenge. Set out as early as you can – if I have a long day I set out at dawn, even if this means eating breakfast on a tray with tepid coffee in a thermos. This is also a way of avoiding the afternoon storms which start from 15:00-16:00.
    3. Think ultra-light (see websites on ultra-light backpacking). Weight makes a huge difference and anyone staying in refuges shouldn’t be carrying more than 8kg (plus food for the day and water). I don’t carry a towel – I dry myself on a teeshirt; I don’t have a change of clothes, for example.

    My guess is that you are not carrying a tent so you are restricted to refuges. Gavarnie to Luz St Sauveur will be a long day though you can stay at le Saugué which cuts the distance down a bit.

    You don’t say when you are going. There could well be snow on the Hourquette d’Ossoue from the third week in September…

    I hope this helps.

  120. Hi Steve.
    I did it! From Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-mer, mostly in the GR10. I left Hendaye on 4 July and arrived in Banyuls on 20 August. 7 weeks of walking with Sundays resting, washing and planning. I walked around the Ariege because I walked alone, had no tent and was carrying between 18kg and 20kg. Too much stuff I know. My aim was to walk the route to raise funds for my son’s care home. Apart from the sheer physical difficulty of this route, there are also emotional difficulties to face when walking solo. I found Gabas-Gourette tough. Best point for me personally was near Mont Louis where I reached exactly the spot where I promised my son “I will walk this whole road for you”. Nothing can prepare you for this route. It is always surprising you.

    I have a public Facebook page with my weekly blogs and photos: http://www.facebook.com/LaurenceSmithTreks

  121. steve says:

    Congratulations Laurence

  122. Jis says:

    Hi Steve,

    I will start from Cauterets end of august and walk east. That means the part you recommend not to miss will be my first part to walk 😉
    I might want to combine with the HRP later on. Are there other parts or alternative routes between there and luchon you recommend? I do have quite a bit of experience but will be on my own 😉

    Jis

  123. steve says:

    Hi Jis
    The upper part of the Ordessa valley is worth a visit (especially the Senda de los Cazadores on the south side) (cross from Gavarnie to Bujaruelo) but then you have to get back to France – either Goriz to Saradets or Viados to Soula, neither of which is easy.
    I hope this helps.
    Steve

  124. Jis says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thank you for your tips. Still planning. via Ordesa might be hard in 12 days. (?)
    Cauterets-Gavarnie stands
    Gavarnie- Barroude via troumouse and refuge maillet or via breche the roland and Goriz…am a bit concerned about finding the route…
    Barroude-Bagneres de Luchon via viados,soula and portillon looks nice but exposed also. Could descent from soula to gr 10 though.
    So many choices to make 😉

  125. steve says:

    You could go back to Gavarnie after Ordesa and then continue on the GR10. It is true that Goriz-Brèche de Roland is difficult to follow if you don’t have a GPS… Soula to Portillon is a long day. Magnificent but with lots of boulders and takes 10 hours walking. As you say going back to the GR10 after la Soula is always an option.

  126. Robin Maguire says:

    G’day Steve,
    22/08/2016 You commented “I don’t carry a towel – I dry myself on a teeshirt; I don’t have a change of clothes”, and I think I recall that you don’t use deodorant as it clogs-up your pores.
    Ever smelt an old Billy-Goat leading up to Rutting Season? Well the Rut starts in the 2nd half of November in the Pyrenees; while you are walking the HRP, occasionally look over your shoulder – you might be followed by a heard of Pyrenean chamois with their eye on you thinking that the Rut has started early!

  127. Andy Bridge says:

    Hi Steve, walking for four days next week with a group leaving from Lescun, they are doing 10 days but I have to duck out at Socques when we cross the D934. I planned to get the bus service 806bis but just noticed the small print which says the service finishes fior the summer 31st August. Heading to Pau then Toulouse, presumably will have to hitch. Any idea if much traffic passes through from Col Portalet to Laruns?

    Great site and info, thanks.

  128. steve says:

    Hi Andy. At the beginning of September there won’t be much traffic. But generally if you look like a hiker other hikers will pick you up. Good luck.
    Steve

  129. Madeleine says:

    Hi again Steve, I’m getting ready for my trip to the Pyrnees and just wanted to know about water purifying. I have one of those water filters that can double as a water pouch. Will filtration work for purifying the water, or would you recommend I leave the filter at home and just buy purifying tablets instead? Is there giardia or other nasties in the water up in the mountains?
    Thanks heaps – getting excited now!

  130. Henry says:

    Steve,
    Just wanted to say thank you very much for your advice re our walk from Thuès (train station) – up the Carança gorges to Mantet (chez Cazanove), Mariailles and Cortalets. A great first randonnée for the kids, who loved it. The first day was a little tough as we left far too late so the second half of the 1000m climb exhausted them somewhat. But once we reached Caranca refuge, they were hooked and we managed to go straight up the chimney with our 10-year old in perfect conditions, and took a 4×4 back down from Cortalets. So merci beaucoup and looking forward to more hikes next year. All the best, Henry

  131. Gary says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’ve previously walked around two weeks of the middle of the GR11 with a friend but am now looking at a 3/4 day taster of the GR10 by myself. I fly into Toulouse on the Saturday and need to get to Barcelona to pick up a flight on the Thursday evening (for a couple of days walking in Majorca) so I’m a bit cramped for time (what with entering and exiting the walk). I carry my own tent and am fine with camping wild. Could you recommend any section of the walk? From a transport point of view the ariege looks like the best location to head to.
    Cheers
    Gary

  132. steve says:

    Hi Gary. In terms of accessibility you would be better to go to Banyuls, but you could go to Perpignan and then catch the train to Prades and bus to Vernet and start from there. Return on train from Merens-les-Vals.
    I hope this helps. Steve

  133. James Enciso says:

    Steve, this site is a goldmine for all hikers/campers who want to tackle and explore the Pyrenees. I want to thank you for sharing your experiences and perspectives of your journey. After spending days on your site and reviewing everyone’s comment I want to start a solo journey myself from West to East (Hendaye –> St Jean Pied de Port) I have prepared myself an Itinerary and I would like for you to check it out if everything seems to be in place. I am planning to leave by late September (the 24th which is very soon). I am bringing my own tent because I do want to camp outside. I haven’t gone camping nor hiking in awhile but I am a fit 24 year old whos ready for this challenge. My only concerns at the moment are finding a place to camp at Hendaye the night before my trek and where I may camp along the way if I can. Thanks. – James https://docs.google.com/document/d/19QNg3ZOHD7_WPhy17ngovZaxONEw14i9P_1dZftVkLM/edit?usp=sharing

  134. steve says:

    Hi James
    You seem to have thought of almost everything, though I’m a bit confused as in the Google.doc you ask if you need a tent since you are planning to stay in gites.

    Assuming you will be camping, the only thing I would suggest is that you should have a survival blanket (preferably sarcophage-shape) and a first-aid kit: Compeed and paper tape to hold it in place and anti-sceptic. If you are not camping you can dump much of the weight.

    I hope this helps
    Steve

  135. John says:

    Just finished year 4 of our week long walks on the GR10 at Aulus Les Bains. Two stops to recommend to fellow travellers, the Repos Du Moine in Fos, lovely couple and an English Breakfast and the Gite d’etape L’escolan at Bidous lovely spot great food friendly couple running the place and free wifi!

  136. steve says:

    Hi John. Thanks for the recommendations. I know Pauline and Jean-Charles at the Escolan gite. As you say, they a friendly couple and the food is excellent.

  137. Stephen says:

    Hi, I am not sure if you can help me. I have just moved to Perpignan from Ireland and I am trying to find a walking club that I can join. I really want to get into some hikes in the Pyrenees but I dont know where to start! Plenty of experience in Ireland and because of this i know its better to find a group for the first few hikes to be on the safe side. Any help would be really appreciated! Thanks, Stephen

  138. steve says:

    Hello Stephen. There are numerous clubs so it all depends on the kind of walking you want to do. You could start with the Comité Départemental de la Randonnée Pédestre des Pyrénées-Orientales (FFRP). This is an umbrella organisation for many clubs. The other big organisation is the Perpignan branch of the Club Alpin Français. Or the mairie, which will have a list of all the associations in the town.
    I hope this helps. Best wishes, Steve

  139. hoya says:

    Hello. I am Korean. It is preparing to walk the Pyrenees mountain range for 60 days around June 15, 2017. Everything is doubtful. I will ask you a little at a time.

  140. Hoya says:

    Hi Steve,
    How do you solve water with GR 10?
    Is it better to prepare a portable water purifier

  141. steve says:

    Hello Hoya,
    You do not need a portable water purifyer. Purifying tablets will do for the rare occasions where you run out of water. Please put all your questions in one comment. It will be easier for me to deal with them. Thanks.

  142. Robin says:

    Hola Hoya!
    Dehydrated water is the go!
    Weighs next to nothing, and when you need a drink – just re-hydrate it with water!

  143. Alec says:

    Steve – the amount of effort you are putting into answering these questions even years one is staggering. Thank you so much!

    I might do this next year, probably with a bivvy and looking to stay as light as possible. What do you think the lowest temperature you would encounter is (I’d try to sleep low obviously)?

    Is the path easy to follow? How often do you actually need the map, would you say? (I will have my phone with downloaded maps and GPS, wondering what kind of resolution/resilience I’d need on what else i take).

    Thanks again.

  144. steve says:

    Hi Alec. In fact I learn a lot from the questions, which makes it interesting for me. It makes me think about my assumptions: see my latest blog entry.
    As for temperatures, assuming you are walking in July and August and finish in the valleys each day the temperature shouldn’t descend below 8 degrees celsuis. But your best plan would be to stay in or near a hut, see Pyrenees refuges and cabanes. Beware though, on the heights even in mid-summer it sometimes snows.
    The path is easy enough to follow with the waymarks. The question is what you do when you have a problem and need to go off-route. Or the classic situation where you are following the red-and-white waymarks, but it is the wrong GR and you are miles from where you think you are. But a phone with a GPS should do, as long as you have a spare battery.
    Good luck with the planning.
    Steve

  145. Jeff camp says:

    Hi Steve,
    I have just discovered your website and it is such a wealth of information thank you, you are doing a great job. The internet is great but it is not always easy to find the information you seek! Your site is exactly what I was looking for.
    My wife and I intend to do some walking in the Pyrenees from late April to mid May. I will be based in Limoux. Do you have any suggestions on the best areas to walk at that time of year?

    My wife and I live in Tasmania and are used to walking in colder and higher elevations with challenging conditions, although our focus on this trip is to get a feel for the Pyrenees landscape, culture and history rather than slog our way across snow in difficult conditions.(As it can be like in Tassie ,even in Summer on the higher walks)
    We will have a hire car, so we can pretty much travel anywhere to start the walk. A circular or out and back walk would make sense for us up to 5 days.
    It sounds like the higher country will be out due to snow and some of the accomodation may not be open then? I will be researching as much as possible but I thought your insights would be a good starting
    point for our planning. Your website is excellent and very informative so I will be spending a bit of time reading up but any extra info will greatly help us plan.Thank you so much.
    Regards,
    Jeff Camp

  146. Elizabeth says:

    Hi there!
    My sister and I are hoping to hike from Hendaye to St Jean-Pied-de-Port this summer but were confused when looking up the trek online. Is there a fee to hike on this trail? ( We might have been looking at guided tours, but don’t plan on having a guide. A site mentioned that self guided tours had a fee??)
    Also, are there free shelters or refuges to stay between these places, other than wild camping? ( I didn’t see any listed on the link you gave until after passing St Jean-Pied-de-Port. )
    Thanks,
    Elizabeth

  147. steve says:

    Hi Elizabeth.
    There is no fee to hike the GR10 (or any other routes in the Pyrenees as far as I know). The only free shelter in that section is the Cabane de Gainekoborda, though I don’t know what state it is in. There may be others… On the other hand you have accommodation at

    • Biriatou (hotels)
    • Refuge d’Olhette, recommended
    • Sare (hotels)
    • Ainhoa (hotels)
    • Refuge de la Ferme Esteben
    • Refuge de Bidarray
    • St-Etienne-de-Baïgorry (hotels)

    I hope this helps.

  148. steve says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Sorry I’ve been so long in replying but I’ve been away. Limoux is a great base for exploring the pre-Pyrenees, ie. the Corbières. Don’t miss Bugarach: you get a great view of the Pyrenean summits.

    There are many ways of crossing the Pyrenees which can be combined to create a circuit but at that time of year you may come across snow in Ariège above 2000m. On the other hand the Pyrenees-Orientales are accessible from Limoux and lower, on average. One other possibility is the Sentier Cathare, lower down so snow-free and with refuges which should be open.

    I hope this helps

  149. Charles says:

    Steve,

    I will be in Barcelona this summer and was thinking of taking my teenage daughter to do a 5-7 day section. Any recommendations? What book do you recommend that can give you a snap shot of the different sections of the trail?

  150. James Enciso says:

    Hi Steve,

    I would like to thank you so much again for your website and your personal input and experience in hiking the GR10.

    As I have completed my first solo-trek from Hendaye to St. Jean Pied de Port at the end of September of last year, I personally found the tranquility and solo-trekking an optimistic experience.

    My holidays (February 14-March 5) are fastly approaching and I yearn to continue hiking the GR10. I would like to ask you if it would be possible to hike a part of the GR10 during this time of a snowy month? I was also considering the GR Tour de Mont Blanc but the snow fears me.

    Any Advice is helpful! Thank you so much again for your time and understanding.

    James

  151. steve says:

    Hello Chuck

    Sorry to be so long in replying but I’ve only just noticed your comment. Since you will be in Barcelona you have many possibilities at the east end of the walk, for example you can get a train to Banyuls in France and start from there. Or you might consider the Spanish GR11, the equivalent on the south side of the Pyrenees. As for guide books to the GR10, Cicerone does a good one though the FFRP guide is the definitive one if you read French.

  152. steve says:

    Hello James

    I’m glad you enjoyed solo walking on the GR10. Unfortunately, unless you are adept with crampons and an ice axe walking beyond SJPP in February is not recommended and the Tour de Mont Blanc would be even more difficult.

    Steve

  153. Veronika P says:

    Hi Steve, thank you for all this extremely useful information. I’m sorry if I missed it among the other comments but is it possible to post resupply boxes to yourself to places along the trail?
    Many thanks,
    Veronika

  154. steve says:

    Hi Veronika

    Yes you can send parcels “Poste restante” to any post office, though they are becoming rarer : find a post offices in France. Beware, however, they may have limited opening hours and be closed all weekend.

    Best wishes, Steve

  155. Veronika P says:

    Thank you Steve!

  156. Cati says:

    Thank you so much for this information! My friend and I only have 5-6 days for a backpacking trip, but we would love to experience the Pyrenees. Do you recommend a certain Route? Where are the best starting points, and is it possible to jump in somewhere in the middle? Also, do you need a permit, or to book anything beforehand? Thank you again, and I’m sorry if you’re already answered these questions in the other comments.

  157. steve says:

    Hello Cati, There are so many possibilities. With 5-6 days you will only walk a max of 10% of the Pyrenees. If you are experienced montain walkers, go for around Gavarnie or in the Ariège, otherwise start in Hendaye and walk to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port. The high montains are only really accessible from June 15 to September 30 but the west end can be walked all year round. You don’t need a permit, but in July and August you would be best to book hostels in advance. Let me know if you have any more questions.
    Best wishes Steve

  158. Frank Boase says:

    Good Morning Steve, For many years this walk has been on my list of things to do. However the harsh realities gallop in….MONEY…So If I’m planning (wishing) to do the entire walk (I’m living in Philippines).
    1. How much should I budget for? I would plan to pack a light weight tent!

    2. Are a sort of soft felt/canvass boot suitable? I would/will go in July/August

    More later, but thanks for a great read.

  159. steve says:

    Hi Frank

    I know that Christine aka German tourist manages on a budget of 10 euros/day for long-distance treks in Western Europe, but then she is very abstemious. On the other hand, eating in hostels every night and buying a picnic (but camping nearby) would cost you about 30 euros/day on the GR10. So I would guess 20 euros would be a reasonable budget.

    I don’t know what the cost of living is like in the Philippines, nor how much you would spend on food in the 7-8 weeks it will take you to walk the GR10. But, above all, don’t try to walk too fast to save money. And plan rest days. I have met many dispirited people on the point of giving up as a result of a trivial problem because their body hurts all over. All they really need is a day or two’s rest.

    As for footwear, soft felt/canvas boots are not suitable. Trekking shoes with good soles are a minimum.

    By the way, if you haven’t bought them already, a really lightweight tent (400g) and a lightweight rucksack will make a hole in your budget. But in my opinion they are worth it.

  160. Mackenzie says:

    Hi Steve, Thanks so much for such an informative and maintained website, it’s been my home base for planning. I will be hiking the GR10 June 17- July 12, so I will surely not be able to complete it. Do you have a favorite section or recommendation on a ~26 day journey? How necessary is it to obtain reservations for the gites/refuges ahead of time at this time of year? I plan to bring a bivy sack for emergencies but no tent. Thanks again for your super website!

  161. steve says:

    Hello. There has been a lot of snow this last weekend to add to the existing. I can’t really predict how quickly it will melt but since you are starting June 17 you would be best to start at one of the ends rather than in the middle. Either way you will get to 2000m+ in a week or so and with 26 days you will finish near the middle. In June you will find space in the gites and refuges but in July you will need to book. Normally ringing up 1-2 days ahead is sufficient both in June and July. Butfor the week of 14 July, national holiday, you should book earlier.
    Have fun, Steve

  162. Cati Crawford says:

    Hi Steve – thank you so much for your reply! I have a couple more questions regarding accommodation. We are trying to decide whether to camp, sleep in gites, or refuges. Are all of these options relatively easy to find from the mail trail? If reservations are needed, how do you recommend making those? I cant seem to find a good website.

    Cheers

  163. Cati Crawford says:

    Hi Steve,

    ** Sorry for the typo: “mail trail” = main trail. Also, for context, we are planning to hike from Hendaye to St Jean Pied de Port.

    Thank you!

  164. steve says:

    Hi Cati,

    What you need to do is to identify the places you want to stay in, see my map of accommodation on the GR10 in the French Pyrenees. And then search for hotel, gite, refuge, camping for those places. You will get more accurate results in French than in English. You could camp if you want to save money but in some places it will have to be wild camping. As far as I know in Biriatou the only option is hotels but as long as you get off early from Hendaye you should be able to walk to Olhette in a day. As for making reservations, these can usually be made via the web and you should do this for the first two nights. After that you can book for the next night but one by phone when you see how far you think you will get. I recommend not booking too far ahead so you can slip in a rest day which will allow you to discover the area and recover if you are tired.

    “Slow trek” is my motto.

  165. Sherli says:

    Dear Steve:

    Thank you for such a website, which give a great overview, is detailed and helpful. I am writing to ask your specific advice. My friends and I will be based in the city of Pau for a short vacation in late May this year. We would like to don a hike that can be completed within several hours. (oh Lordy!!) Which means we intend to drive to which ever access point and then hike for several hours. Which section of the trail would you recommend? I would love to see the majestic waterfalls and mountain peaks without too strenous a hike…as we are healthy but softened with city living. Your feedback and experience would be most apprrciated. Thank you very much! Yours cordially,

    Sherli

  166. steve says:

    Dear Sherli

    From Pau, Gavarnie is easily accessible and is a good starting point. If some of you want an easy trek they can just walk to the Cirque and its famous waterfall (7km, 100m climbing, about two hours walking there and back) but the more ambitious can climb up to the refuge des Espuguettes (13km, 650m climbing, 5 hours round trip) and see the cirque from above. If it is a weekend the refuge may be open but you will need to check – see website for details. Make sure that your backpack is as light as possible.

    view of the cirque de Gavarnie and the Brèche de Roland from Espuguettes hostel

    [Picture: view of the cirque de Gavarnie and the Brèche de Roland from Espuguettes hostel]

    Be prepared to be tired at the end of the day – there are plenty of opportunities to quench your thirst in Gavarnie.

    Steve

  167. Qin Zhu says:

    Steve, thank you for the wonderful website that provides so much information for GR10 hikers and your tireless effort for answering questions. I hiked from Hendayne to Borce in previous years. I plan to hike from Borce to Bargneres-de-Luchon from June 16 to 30. But I am not sure if I will have problem with snow between Gabas and Gourette around Jun 17. I also plan to do the 3 day variant through Hourquette d’Ossoue based on your recommendation. Would there be problem passing high altitude in snow around Jun 22-23? I plan to bring microspikes (not as aggressive as crampons on hard ice, but lighter and easy to put on/off). I hike regularly in mountains, but have limited experience hiking on icy terrain. Much appreciate your advice!

  168. steve says:

    Glad you find the site useful. It snowed quite heavily in the Pyrenees last week, so my guess is that there will still be snow at the Hourquette d’Arre between Gabas and Gourette on 17 June. However, if there is too much snow it ought to be possible to walk to the Cabanes de Cézy, then north nearly to Eaux-Bonnes before heading up the river Sourde to Gourette. On the map it looks like a good alternative.

    It is also likely that the Hourquette d’Ossoue will still have snow/ice on it. I don’t know what microspikes are like in use but what the guides here say is that crampons and the like are a means of progression. For safety you should carry an ice-axe and know how to use it. So I would recommend both crampons and an ice axe, which you can always post home (from Luz-St-Sauveur) afterwards. Ask for advice in the Bureau des Guides in Cauterets.

    Please let us know what it is like. I try to post a report on late-season snow here if at all possible.

  169. Qin Zhu says:

    Steve, thank you so much for your advice! I will definitely report back the condition on the trail. I never used ice axe before, hope it is easy to learn! Is icy condition common only above 2400m or anywhere above 2000m in the second half of June? I was wondering if I should walk backwards from Luchon. Appreciate your thoughts!

  170. steve says:

    Hello again. See this video on using an ice axe to self arrest. In the second half of June you are only likely to have snow/ice above 2400m and only on north-facing slopes. As for the direction, you are better off walking west to east (as you are intending) because the Hourquette d’Ossoue is higher than the Hourquette d’Arre and will have snow later on. It is probably best to aim to cross the ice/snow mid-morning: it will be slightly soft, but not slushy.

    Since you will be equipped you might like to climb up to the Refuge du Portillon and see some real glaciers in passing.

  171. Qin Zhu says:

    Steve, I can’t say enough thanks! The video is great, very informative. I ended up watching a few episodes. I am just afraid I don’t have a chance to practice before the trip. Would love to see real glaciers. I guess I have to take my chances!

  172. Qin Zhu says:

    Steve, trouble you for another question. I was not able to import the KML or GPX file of refuges and cabanes from http://www.pyrenees-refuges.com into Google map as Google map has trouble with the file format. Are the downloads only for GPX device? Thanks again!

  173. steve says:

    Hello Qin Zhu, I’ve just tried downloading the files and none of them are downloading correctly at present (they are all just 1kb). There seems to be a problem. Let’s hope it gets fixed soon.

  174. Nathan says:

    hey steve,

    sorry if this was mentioned somewhere earlier. im wondering when is the earliest the route is fully accessible? i am hoping to be walking already by 18th april…

    thanks

    Nathan

  175. steve says:

    Hi Nathan

    Since you are starting on 18 April you will need to take an ice axe and crampons. Avalanches are frequent in some areas so ring mountain rescue for advice before going beyond Gabas or Bouillouses. Normally, the earliest possible start is 1 June but that is pushing it. You could start at one end, walk to the snow and then drop down, or go to the other end and start again… Take care, Steve

  176. Vincent says:

    Hi Steve,
    I am planning to walk a section of the GR10 for a week starting from April 27th. I am still considering the section we should walk due to the local snow conditions.

    I am having the following sections in mind:
    1. Saint jean pied de port – La pierre st martin (safest option)
    2. Merens les vals and walk westwards (stays below 2000m)
    3. Merens les vals and walk eastwards

    Do u think option 2 from Merens les vals and walk westwards to Sigue would be an option? Thank u

  177. steve says:

    Hello Vincent,

    From here I can see Canigou and it is still white very low down, so there is still lots of late-season snow. Assuming that you don’t have crampons Option 3 is a non-starter. With Option 2 you risk avalanches at the head of the Mourguillou valley on Day 1. The pass is at 2400m and will very likely have snow. And although the slope before it faces south-east and may be clear, it is very steep and you may find big snow fields above you just waiting to shift. I would go for Option 1.

    Please let us know what conditions you encounter. Keep safe.

    Steve

  178. Karen says:

    Hallo Steve,

    So im divorced and have 3 children. They are very fit. I am very fit. 42 kilometers running niente problemo – slowly -. I want to take my children on a few days walking each day starting at st Lary and to let them see beautiful mountain views and fresh air and return after max 6 hours walking to Saint Lary to a camping each day. After this we will go to the coast so they can relax for 10 days. Can you advise a few routes … Thanks Karen

  179. steve says:

    Hello Karen

    The GR10 passes through St-Lary-Soulan and walking either way out of the town will take you on into the mountains. I would recommend the Néouvielle Nature Reserve but it tends to be busy in Summer.

    The site of the St-Lary-Soulan tourist office has a brochure of walks near St-Lary-Soulan called the Sentiers du Rioumajou.

    Otherwise look at visiorando.com which has many longer walks near to St-Lary. (The details will be sent to you by email.)

    You can also look at Wikiloc for longer hikes (You can filter the thousands of results by difficulty or distance.) Beware with Wikloc, these are tracks that walkers have done and not necessarily official “treks”. But if several people have done the same route it is probably well-worn.

    If you want a really inspiring walk drive to the Granges d’Astau (to the east) and walk up the Valley d’Oo as far as the Lac Sausat. But start walking at 8am to avoid the crowds.

    I hope this helps

  180. Vincent says:

    Hi Steven,

    Thanks for your reply. The local information is really valuable for us. 🙂 At the moment i’m considering to depart from Ax-Les-Thermes, instead of Merens les vals to avoid the high pass to Refuge de Ruhle.

    I’ll go via Vallee de Savignac, but then have to decide whether to go around Pic de Lauzate from the north or south. I’d love to go via the south, because of Crete des Isards. I’ve heard there is some snow, but I am not sure if it is safe enough to passage. Do u know more about the current conditions of Crete des Isards.

    Anyways, thank u. I’ll leave in a few days. I’ll report the conditions on the mountains when I’m back for other people.

  181. steve says:

    Hi Vincent,

    On my map (Topo France) I have a path marked on the south side of the Pic de Lauzate going up to the Col de Belh but nothing on the north. I don’t know it but much of the area round the Rulhe is big blocks of stone which are difficult to cross, so you might be better on the path. On the other hand the south facing slope of the Lauzate at 92% is classic avalanche territory and the path is just under it.

    I am going up to the Pla Guilhem (near Canigou) 2300m+ on Wednesday. It isn’t very close but should give me some idea of the conditions. I’ll let you know.

  182. Tim L says:

    Very informative! I’ve read everything but I’m somewhat confused on Fall hiking. Leaving from the West on September 1 and finishing at the end of October in the East – Is this possible? I understand the refuges may be closed and some other facilities BUT are there enough hotels and weather to carry one through to the Med in late October?

  183. steve says:

    Hi Tim,

    The weather should be OK (just) but accommodation will be difficult. I’m looking into this and will get back to you in a few days.

  184. Tim L says:

    I’m quite willing to start earlier if need be. I am a fit 63 year old living in Banff, Canada ( 1500m) who trudged up to 2200m yesterday carrying a 5 kilo weight, took 85 minutes. I’m cautious about the time to do the whole GR10. My friend’s children say they will camp and do it in 34 days.

    I am willing to start earlier (say Aug 20) and try to do it by October 15th.

  185. steve says:

    Same age as me then. Yes, start earlier. I could just about do 700m climbing in 90 minutes, with a 5kg pack. But I wouldn’t be able to do the GR10 in 34 days. No way.

  186. steve says:

    Hi Vincent

    I’ve just come back from the Pic des Sept Hommes in the Canigou massif. So here is my snow report: large patches of snow from 1900m. Icy in the morning. It would have been possible to get to Sept Hommes (2650m) without crampons because there are zones without snow but this would have meant detours.

    I met a family at Mariailles who had been heading in the direction of Canigou (via Cabane Arago) who had turned back at 1900m because the track was covered in ice and on a slope. They had snowshoes but these were not enough.

    Normally there is more snow in Ariège than around Canigou.

    I hope this helps.

  187. steve says:

    Hello Tim

    Accommodation on the eastern half of the Pyrenean Way (GR10) open autumn 2017

    Note that although most staffed hostels close at the end of September many have a basic dormitory which is accessible all year.

    • Luchon – hotels open all year
    • Cabane de Peyrehitte – hut open all year
    • Fos – hotels open all year
    • Melles – hotel open all year
    • Refuge d’Araing, hostel open to 30 september 2017
    • Cabane d’Arech – hut open all year
    • La Maison du Valier – hostel open to 11 novembre
    • Cabane d’Aouen – hut open all year
    • Refuge d’Esbintz, hostel open all year but you need to reserve
    • Refuge d’Aunac – open all autumn
    • Refuge d’Aula – hut open all year
    • Refuge de Rouze – gîte open all year
    • Gîte d’étape l’Escolan, Bidous – open all year but may be closed for a couple of weeks in autumn
    • Aulus – open to 30 september 2017
    • Refuge des étangs de Bassiès – open to 30 September 2017
    • Refuge de Marc – probably shuts sometime in September 2017
    • Refuge de Goulier – open to 30 October 2017
    • Petit gîte de Siguer is now closed but there is a room available for walkers, contact the mairie
    • Col de Sasc (very basic, to be avoided) – hut open all year
    • Cabane de Courtal Marty – basic hut open all year
    • Clarans – basic hut open all year
    • Plateau de Beille (nothing, the hut at 1940m is reserved for the shepherd)
    • Refuge du Rulhe – open to 30 September 2017
    • Refuge de Mérens (now closed, go to l’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre)
    • Refuge des Bésines – open to 30 September 2017
    • Refuge des Bouillouses – open to 29 October2017 (try also Auberge du Carlit)
    • Bolquère – hotel open all year
    • Ori de Planès ecogîte – probably open all year
    • Cabane de l’Orri (very basic) – basic hut open all year
    • Refuge de la Carança – open to about 24 September, but there is a dormitory which is open all year
    • Mantet (chez Cazenove is now closed), try la Cavale
    • Refuge de Py – open all year
    • Refuge de Mariailles – hostel open to 29 October 2017, nearby huts open all year
    • Chalet des Cortalets – hostel open to 15 October 2017, nearby hut open all year
    • Batère – open to 30 September 2017
    • Arles-sur-Tech – hotels open all year
    • Refuge du Moulin de la Palette – hostel open all year
    • Refuge de Las Illas – basic hostel open all year
    • Refuge du Col d’Ullat – hostel open all year
    • Refuge Tomy – rock shelter but remarkably comfortable, with water and gas!
    • Banyuls – hotels open all year
  188. steve says:

    Hi Vincent,

    Just to let you and anyone else contemplating an early start know – though I suspect you are following the weather forecasts anyway – that snow is expected right along the length of the Pyrenees this week. 300mm is the figure being bandied about!

  189. Jennie says:

    Hi Steve,

    Love your website!

    I have just heard of a possible trip to stay in Ceret in early July this year. I would love to head to the mountains for a day or two of hiking. I am not so much interested in a mega physical challenge but stunning scenery, interesting botany, lakes and big skies…

    Any suggestions of the best place to head for?

  190. Mox says:

    Hi Steve,

    300M! Yikes. I’m looking at doing my first section from Hendaye to St Jean Pied de Port 2nd week in May. Am I likely to be in trouble? Also, where do you get your snow level information from?

    Thanks

  191. steve says:

    Hi Jennie

    Ceret is a lovely place to stay and you can head up to the mountains directly from there. On the other hand you could base yourself for a night at the comfortable hostel at the Moulin de la Palette above Arles. For big skies, a rather most ambititous project would be to drive to the refuge de Batère further up the valley (great outdoor hot tub) and then go to Les Cortalets on the flanks of Canigou and stay there overnight. Or the Tour de Mir above Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste. Bear in mind that it will be hot, so although starting walking at dawn may be a real struggle, it is worth it.

    Another thought, perhaps the best of all: drive to the col d’Ullat towards the Med and then walk to the Puig Neulós. Easy walking, can be done in a morning. Eat at the restaurant at the Col d’Ullat afterwards.

  192. steve says:

    Hi Mox

    I think you might have misread what I wrote. It wasn’t snow down at 300m but 300mm of snow. This was the figure given on televison after it had snowed. But it doesn’t apply to the first section from Hendaye to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port which is low down. You won’t have any problems. Should be lots of flowers and very green.

    Have fun

  193. Mox says:

    Hi, misread, check! Indeed I did. Threw me into panic mode but checking one of your links above and mountain-forecast.com settled me

    thanks

  194. Vincent says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’m back from my trip to the Pyrenees. My original plan was to hike from Ax-Les-Thermes to Aulus-Les-Bains, but in the end I came no further than Siguer due to personal reasons. I took the trail from Ax-Les-Thermes that leads to Crete des Isards. I cannot recommend this trail, as there is lots of snow on the trail which forces you to walk on the steep slopes.

    The path over the Crete des Isards has some snow on steep parts, which makes the climb risky. We chose to go to Refuge de Ruhle, passing large snow patches and eventually ended up in Siguer.

    I’ve to say that the mountain range that you walk before hiking down to Siguer is really really beautiful. I wish I could have stayed there overnight.

  195. steve says:

    Thanks Vincent for sharing this useful information

  196. […] Les GR 10 – Sentiers de Grande Randonnée […]

  197. Edel O'Donnell says:

    Steve
    Thank you for this website…it’s great
    I’m off to do the GR10 on June 6th. Hoping for good weather. Do you recommend booking accommodation ahead each night during June or would it be ok to book as I go.
    Edel

  198. steve says:

    Hi Edel

    I recommend booking for the night after next, even in June. Around 14 July and 15 August you should book at least three days in advance. But it is best not to book too much in advance in case you have a change of plan.

    Have fun, Steve

  199. Edel O'Donnell says:

    Steve

    Thanks for your accommodation advice
    One more question. I want to buy a map (s) for the section from Olhette to Cauteretes, can you recommend a website where I might purchase same (or are they easily purchased there). I have guidebook and I also book from TopoGuides but the detail is not there ….a map for detail would be good.
    Regards and thanks again
    Edel

  200. steve says:

    Hi Edel

    Assuming you are in Ireland, you can buy them from Amazon, for example this IGN map of Vignemale/Cauterets. You can see the IGN’s own complete list of trekking maps for the GR10 in the Pyrenees on their site.

    As you are going early in the season can you let us know if there is still any snow when you reach the Hourquette d’Arre please? It would also be nice to have your impressions. Thanks.

  201. Juan Diaz says:

    Hi Steve

    Thanks for the website.

    We are looking to walk from Etsaut to Cauterets starting late June. We arrive in Europe ( northern Spain) in mid June. Can you advise where to get maps?

    We have been told there may be snow between Refuge Arremoulit and Refuge Larribet. If so, how should we detour to get Cauterets?

    We are planning to trek from Larribet to Ileeou. Alternatively should we go to Wallon? We are finding it hard to get distances and the routes.

    Thanks

  202. steve says:

    As you are not in France probably the best option is to download the free Topo Pirineos map. You will also need the free Basecamp GPS software which will enable you to print the maps. The advantage of this map is that it covers both sides of the Pyrenees, and you can transfer it to your hand-held GPS if you have one. Another excellent possibility is the French government map site. Search for Etsault (for example) and you will have the 1;25,000 map before your very eyes. So you just need to print them out. Alternatively you can try to buy them from the French IGN but I don’t know if you will have the time. For free maps of the Spanish Pyrenees go to the Spanish IGN site.

    Yes, there may be snow between Arrémoulit and Larribet and the pass is very abrupt. Probably the easiest alternative is to go down to the lac d’Artouste and the Lac de Migouélou and then down into the Tech valley. (I gather you have already rejected the obvious GR10 option between Etsaut and Cauterets and want to be higher up in the mountains.)

    Another possibility is to go to Respomuso and then Wallon, Pont d’Espagne. Here again you may encounter snow, at the col de Arrémoulit and the col de la Fache. But these are less steep than the direct route from Arrémoulit to Larribet.

    For routes look at Wikiloc. My HRP route from Somport to Oulettes de Gaube may be interesting and there are many others.

    Ibones de la Fache

    The picture shows the state of the snow at the Ibones de la Fache, just below the pass on 15 July 2016. Crampons and an ice axe could be useful.

  203. Alan Cane says:

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve been following your website for a couple of years to plan short hikes on the GR10 and GR11. You do
    a fabulous job with the Q&A helping so many people. This year I am planning to walk the entire GR10 starting
    on June 25th. I am looking for other hikers starting the same time because I’ll be walking solo. Could you
    publish my email address (alan.cane@outlook.com) or direct me to a forum for walkers on GR10 looking to connect. Regards,Alan

  204. steve says:

    Hi Alan

    I hope you find someone, but even if you don’t you will meet people all along the way. You can try Andy Howell’s Pyrenees forum though it hasn’t been that active recently.

  205. Kelsey says:

    Hi Steve and everyone,

    First off, you have an amazing website full of excellent resources. Thank you for all your hard work.

    My question: Maps.

    My friend and I will be doing the section:
    Cauterets → Horquette d’Ossoue → Gavarnie → Bareges → Saint Lary-Soulan

    We are from Canada and are sorting through which map would be best to get for this section. What exactly would you recommend for this? So far we are considering:

    1) GR®10 DE CARTES IGN 1:25.000 (DE HENDAYE À ARRENS)
    1647OT (Papier ou Résistante)
    1 x Vignemale/Ossau/Arrens/Cauterets/Pn des Pyrénées (Gps) – Résistante 16,70 €

    2) https://www.amazon.de/Pyr%C3%A9n%C3%A9es-carte-Bigorre-St-Lary-Soulan-Randonn%C3%A9es/dp/2344008063

    Our ideal map will have good topos, be water-resistant and have less focus on tourist “hotspots”.

    Thanks again for your help!

    -Kelsey

  206. steve says:

    Hello Kelsay

    Go for the IGN maps, because they are 1:25000 and because they are designed for walkers. They are not particularly water resistant, but fine for one trip. You might also be interested in the free maps of the Pyrenees you can download from the Internet, install on your computer and print. If you have a GPS you can transfer them to it as well.

    Have fun, Steve

  207. Ki says:

    Hello

    I can’t seem to find this anywhere, so I’m asking you: can I always buy food in the huts/refuges on the GR10? Just packed food I can bring with me on the trail. And do they cost much/more then normally?

    thanks..

  208. steve says:

    Hello Ki

    Unfortunately you won’t be able to buy food to take away in most refuges. They will normally do you a picnic (but ask in advance), but not cans or other essentials. This is because the cost of transporting anything from the plain (by helicopter or on the back of a donkey) is prohibitive. This doubles the price, so few people would buy them anyway. You will find a few exceptions but you need to check. See however Facebook page on Ravitaillement de cabanes sur le GR10 for some good news in Ariège.

    Good luck.

  209. Qin Zhu says:

    Hi, Steve. I just finished 14 day GR10 trek from Borce to Vielle-Aure. I asked you a bunch of questions before regarding the section and you’ve been really helpful. I just would like to report back that there was little snow on GR10 during the early season this year. Both Hourquette d’Arre and the path to refuge Bayssellance are passable without crampons. I found the unusual heat wave ( oddly in the middle of June) very challenging for this hike. But the scenary was absolutely stunning. Hope the info will help fellow hikers.

  210. steve says:

    Many thanks Qin Zhu, it’s great to have news straight from the trail.

  211. Flora says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the tips! I am thinking of walking from Banyuls for as far as I can get in four days with a friend. How much do we need to plan/book in advance would you say?

  212. steve says:

    Hi Flora

    It depends on when you are going. Banyuls – Refuge Tomy – Col d’Ouillat – Las Illas – Moulin de la Palette – Arles would be typical stops. The Refuge Tomy is only 3 hours from Banyuls and is a free but can only accomodate two people. You can’t book it. If you can set off by 13:00 it is a great first stop. If not you will have to continue to either the Refuge de la Tagnarade (again free, unbookable) or the col d’Ouillat Chalet de l’Albere (which you can book). After that the next stop is Las Illas. I’m not convinced you can book there but there is plendy of room and a hotel if you are really stuck. The Moulin de la Palette is quite small and it is best to book (great place also). Arles has hotels, as does Amélie-les-Bains, an alternative end point.

    In summary, the only places you need to consider booking are the col d’Ouillat and the Moulin de la Palette. Normally for July and August since there are only two of you, booking a two weeks in advance should do, except for around 15 August which you need to book now. On the other hand, if you are not sure how far you will get in a day it is best not to book more than two days in advance, but be flexible about your route should you find that the hostels are booked up. In September you only need to book two days in advance, except possibly at weekends.

    best wishes
    Steve

  213. Jenny says:

    Hi Steve

    I have a friend walking the G10 as we speak. He is getting a little low on funds as nowhere takes cards. Can you advise the easiest way to find out the closest places to where he is walking to get to a bank or cash machine?

    Many thanks.

  214. steve says:

    Hi Jenny
    He isn’t the only one to run out. Last year, walking the HRP, I ran out of cash. It cost me 100 euros to get a taxi to find some! I should have known better. Your friend won’t find many cash points – the words are “guichet bancaire”. He will just have to ask any locals he meets. Otherwise, if you let me know where he is and which way he is going I can make enquiries.
    best wishes
    Steve

  215. steve says:

    I’m going to walk the Senda de Camille from 2-8 August and then to the Jazz festival in Marciac until 12 August so I won’t be able to reply to comments for a while.

    Photo: On the Senda de Camille, near the col de Pau, looking north

  216. Chris B says:

    Hi Steve
    Thanks for the website – it is full of info but as novices to planned walking (we are fit and undertaking practice walks in Australia) i’m finding it hard to work out what would be a good part of the walk for about 10 days in september. A part of the track with access to gites or hostels would be good as my wife is a bit nervous about huts. We will be going on to Barcelona aferwards but that doesn’t mean the walking has to be at that end of the trail.
    Can you give me any pointers? or a good start point for that length of journey that will give us some good walking with great views.
    thank for the site, much appreciated

    chris

  217. steve says:

    Hi Chris

    Probably the best idea is to take a train to either Mérens or Bolquère (depending on how many days you want to do) and walk to Banyuls where you can catch a train to Barcelona. There are plenty of hostels. I assume that your practice walks are with a rucksack containing the weight you will carry, and uphill…

    The best bits are from Mérens to Bouillouses and around Canigou.

    Have fun
    Steve

  218. Chris B says:

    Thansk steve – will look and probably have a whole load more questions!

    Thanks
    chris

  219. Katrien says:

    Hi Steve,
    I would like to go and hike for one week from 28/10 till 4/11. Walking for 5-6 days in a row. Do you think there is a part (easy reachable) that we still could do, because it is quite late in the year already: no snow and still huts available to stay over?
    Thanks a lot!
    Katrien

  220. steve says:

    Hi Katrien
    At that time of year most hostels will be closed (normally open until 30 September). The free huts will still be available and many of the hostels (refuges) that are shut have space available out of season. However, don’t expect any facilities in free huts or out-of-season refuges. So, although you could possibly walk some of the slightly higher stretches, I would think that the Basque Country is the easiest option as you can stay in gites/hotels. Hendaye to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the GR10 would be the obvious choice. I hope this helps.
    Best wishes
    Steve

  221. Katrien says:

    thanks Steve! Maybe better to do this hike in another time 🙂

  222. Clare Hawkins says:

    Hi there
    I’m just wondering how far in advance we need to book accommodation. We walked Hendaye to Etsaut last year in late Sept/ early Oct and as it was quiet we just booked a day ahead. We plan to continue for two weeks commencing 7 Sept ( including the variant for Petit Vignemale) so anticipate it being busier.
    Many thanks
    Clare

  223. steve says:

    Hi Clare

    One day ahead should be fine, except for Bayssellance (2-3 days max) if you are staying there rather than at the Oulettes de Gaube. It’s a good time to avoid the crowds. (I’m assuming there will only be two of you.)

    Steve

    [you put your reply on the wrong page so I have moved it here]

    Hi Steve
    Thank you very much for your advice re booking. Re Vingemale; I have emailed the Bureau des Guides in Cauterets but heard nothing. Do you suggest I phone? My French is not great but I would really like to get something sorted before we leave here on 5th Sept. Do you recommend any particular guide? Thank you so much for your help; as others have said, it is so kind of you to share your invaluable expertise.
    All the best
    Clare

    Hi Clare

    Yes, do phone. There are used to talking with people who don’t speak much French. Though I’m not sure why you are contacting the Bureau des Guides… You don’t need a guide for the GR10.

    Best wishes
    Steve

  224. Clare says:

    HI Steve,

    Thanks for all the great work you do to provide this website and this great recommendation of the route: Cauterets to Luz-St-Sauveur via the Hourquette d’Ossoue. I really appreciate it.

    I’ve only got four days, so I thought that this route would be perfect, also because I see in one of your other comments that there is public transport from either end.

    Can I ask if you think that this is achievable in four days (or if not how many days), and if you have any recommendations on refuges?

    Many thanks

    Clare

  225. steve says:

    Hi Clare

    Yes four days is fine. It would be possible to do it in three: Cauterets – Oulettes de Gaube – Gavarnie – Luz but the extra day gives you more possibilities. As for staffed refuges you have the Clot, Oulettes de Gaube, Bayssellance, Granges de Holle (near Gavarnie), hotels in Gavarnie, the Granges de Saugué and hotels in Luz-St-Sauveur. No recommendations in particular, except that staying in the Granges de la Holle (to visit the Cirque) and then Granges de Saugué makes the last day more reasonable. (I’m assuming you are going before the end of September.)

    have fun
    Steve

  226. Sarah-Rose says:

    Hi Steve,

    Just following on from my friend Clare’s questions above – if we did it in 3 days which refuges would you recommend staying in each night to break up the walk evenly? And what is the best way to go about booking the refuges?

    Thanks for all your help!

    Sarah-Rose

  227. steve says:

    Hi Sarah-Rose and Clare

    For a three-day schedule, if you arrive in Cauterets in time, walk to the Refuge du Clot, then Bayssellance, Granges de Saugué, then Luz. Otherwise stay in Cauterets, walk to Oulettes de Gaube, Granges de Saugué, then Luz. But the three-day schedule wouldn’t give you the time to visit the Cirque de Gavarnie World Heritage site. You should be able to book all these by email (except Oulettes de Gaube and Bayssellance where there is on-line booking).

    best wishes
    Steve

  228. Chris B says:

    hi again steve
    I’m just starting to write out my day by day plan – and i have a question already – if we are planning to walk between Besines and Lac des Bouillouses can we detour to Pic Carlit and still do the whole thing in one day – from the info i can gather it looks doable but looks like a very long day.
    thanks
    chris

  229. steve says:

    Hi Chris
    Yes it is possible. The climb from the Lanoux reservoir is steep and on scree near the top but in terms of distance you don’t add much. However you do add 600m of ascent.
    Steve

  230. […] to spend 6 to 12 weeks hiking in my favourite place (um, Europe) next year, perhaps do the entire GR10  or instead maybe the GR11 (but my French is better than my Spanish lol) and maybe some of the […]

  231. […] Pyrenean Way website: I also read this website and reviewed all of the forum questions/answers. […]

  232. Ronen says:

    We are 6 friends, planning on hiking the GR10 from “Refuge Jeandel” to ” Lac d’Estaing” in 6-7 days, starting on the 16th of september.
    We’ve seen a weather forecast for the villages along the GR10 saying it will be cold and rain.
    But, we haven’t found a weather forecast for the high peaks on the GR10, only for the villages, so we are afraid its going to be even worse when we’ll climb to the high altitudes.
    So, we don’t know what to expact.
    Can you please help us understand (from your experience) whether the weather is going to be very bad (rainig all the time, hard to pass the high sections of the hike) so we should trek there some other time), or is it good enough for trekking?

  233. steve says:

    Hello Ronen

    The temperatures are pretty normal for the season and you are only going up to a max of 2400m so you should be fine. I’ve just been looking at the weather forecast for Gourette and it looks as though it might get down to nearly freezing some nights so if you are camping you should try to be down in the valley. But in the day the temperature gets up to 20 degrees C from the middle of your walk, for much of the time it will be sunny, and most importantly there is virtually no wind so it should be a good walking temperature (but take gloves).

    As usual it is best to start early and aim to arrive before 16:00 which is when any storms may start.

    You might get a sprinkling of snow on Saturday night but your first day is low down so it shouldn’t really affect you.

    Please let us know how you get on. I am busy creating a page for filing snow reports.

    have fun
    Steve

  234. Mox says:

    Hi Steve, what do you reckon my chances are for decent weather 3rd week in May? I did mid May this year for 5 days, Hendaye to St Jean Pied de Port, and it was perfect but you hear things about the winter of 2012/13… I’m looking at doing the next leg.

    And whilst I’m here, I’m trying to figure out how to get from Etsaut to Bayonne. I gather that the train gets most of the way up the valley and I’d probably have to catch a bus to it. Do you have any additional information?

    Many thanks

  235. Becky says:

    Hi Steve,

    What a great website and help this has been for me so far with my planning! I am looking to do the full length of the GR10 next summer (July & Aug) partly on my own and partly with friends joining me at various stages – an incentive to stick to my schedule!?

    I have two questions – one around accommodation and the other around timings for the full walk.

    Accommodation: trying to do this on a budget and thus planning on staying in the Cabanes as much as possible but recognising I will need to a) shower, b) charge phone/camera etc and c) have a proper roof under my head to avoid going completely insane. Does a ratio of 4 nights Cabane, 1 night Gite D’Etape sound doable (ish) do you think?
    Timings: I have the Cicerone GR10 Trail guide which has 55 stages in it, with the odd variation. Some of these I think I can merge (i.e. start the next section early), as I was keen to complete the whole thing in 2 months but with some rest days and this guide will mean I am cutting it short. What is a reasonable time to aim for with maybe a full rest day every 10 days, for someone fairly fit but obviously planning to ramp up the fitness level prior to beginning the trek?

    Many thanks in advance!
    Becky

  236. steve says:

    Hi Becky
    I’m glad you find the site useful. Yes 4 nights in cabanes followed by a night in more comfortable accommodation sounds fine. But think in terms of refuges as they are cheaper than gîtes d’étapes (and there are not that many gîtes d’étapes on the GR10 anyway). The main factor is how much food you can carry without it slowing you down – try doing a four-day hike in MOUNTAINS with all you are intending to carry to see how it shakes down.
    I don’t know how much long-distance walking you have done but the main physical problem is the creeping tiredness from walking day-in day-out. I’ve met so many people who have given up because they pushed themselves too much, or they were trying to keep to a schedule. One bloke persuaded himself that he could do the whole thing in 60 days with no stops. After 30 he was half way there but so tired and miserable that all he wanted to do was to go home. If he’d taken 2 days off at that point I’m convinced that he would have made it. But the physical tiredness had left him so depressed that he wouldn’t even consider it. So what I am suggesting is that you should take each day as it comes. Certainly plan everything in detail, but above all don’t expect to keep to a schedule. Most walkers can’t do more than seven hours a day over a long period. Your friends will have to be flexible!
    Above all enjoy!
    Steve

  237. steve says:

    Hi Max
    Sorry to be so long in replying but I’ve been in Seville. The third week in May is early for the GR10, and although SJPP is still low, by the time you get to La-Pierre-St-Martin you are in ski country. You will probably get through but look at the webcam. Getting back to Bayonne from Etsaut is easy. The bus connects with the train which now goes as far as Bedous.
    I hope this helps
    Steve

  238. Abigail Chen says:

    Hi,

    Im thinking of doing the portion of the GR10 that is from Cauterets to Luz-st-Sauveur in March and I’m wondering if that is too early for the trail? Also if you have any advice regarding the accommodation/itinerary it would be grand!

  239. Chris B says:

    Hi Steve
    Moving on with our planning and training for our trek later this year. I have found a great GPS app that i have tested locally which works very well – Alpine Quest. It has the GR10 and other trails around it marked very clearly. Do i need paper maps too? They look like a unnecessary expense and weight but should i have them for a backup?

    thanks
    chris

  240. steve says:

    Hi Chris

    Since there are two of you and you can have the app on both phones, the only real worry is that the phones doesn’t pick up the GPS signal for some reason. Normally there will be waymarks anyway. That said, I always carry a photocopied map so I can get a better feel for the area if I need to plan an alternative route, which is difficult to do on a phone. As for expense, you can download free maps and print them out: see my site on the GR11 http://www.lasenda.net/free-maps-of-the-pyrenees/

    Happy planning
    Steve

  241. George says:

    Hi Steve,

    I highly appreciate your work and experience you’ve put in here. Very impressive I must say.

    I do have one question though: I read somewhere that there is a suspension bridge on the gr10. It noted though that crossing it is only an alternative. As I am scared of heights and can’t cross bridges like that, do you know if there’s a way around it or even better that it is just a chooseable alternative?

    Thanks and kind regards,
    George

  242. steve says:

    Hi George

    I suspect you are thinking of the Passerelle de Holzarte, south of Logibar. The main GR10 no longer goes that way but climbs up a ridge to the E. So no problem.

    Have fun
    Steve

  243. Martin Buchan says:

    Hi Steve

    Flying to Biarritz 21/6/18 then on to Hendaye same day.

    Are you able to advise a suitable camp site in Hendaye for two x one man tents? Start GR 10 next day – 12 stages.

    Also, do you know if Coleman type screw on gas canisters are available in Hendaye.

    Thanx MB

  244. George says:

    Thank you for your reply Steve, much appreciated. Ridges don’t bother me much its just the suspension bridges that are just not doable for me. So it looks like I’ll be able to do it, yaay. What about the GR11, any suspension bridges there?

    Cheers,
    George

  245. steve says:

    I can only remember one suspension bridge near St Aniol d’Aguja and it is short. There may be others but evidently they are not etched in my memory!

  246. steve says:

    Hello Martin

    There are loads of campsites in Hendaye, though they tend to be aimed at people with cars. The nearest to the station is the Camping Ametza but I can’t recommend any one in particular.

    As for Coleman type screws, see this site for details on camping gas cylinders and connections in France.

    I hope this helps.

    Steve

  247. shane says:

    Hi Steve, My wife and I finished the GR10 last year (over 5 years in stages) and had the most amazing time. We have a week off after easter and wanted to go back to the lower pyrenees and do some walking if it is possible at that time of the year? Any suggestions for first week of april? Great website btw, regards, Shane

  248. steve says:

    Hi Shane
    Good to hear that you enjoyed the GR10. There’s a lot of snow at present, more than usual, but in any case you can expect snow from 2000m in the first week of April. For example Canigou will be inaccessible without crampons. That still leaves a lot of choice…
    Have fun.
    Steve

  249. Jemma says:

    Hi Steve, I am planning a trip to the Pyrenees at the end of August. I am planning to base myself in gavarnie. Would there be enough day hikes for five days.

  250. Rusty says:

    Hi Steve
    Just bought your first Pyrenees book via Amazon.
    Not many blogs stay active for this long impressive stamina & useful too, thanks.
    What’s the latest through route date for the GR11, I’m thinking of a late start from the Med. side.

  251. steve says:

    Hi Rusty

    I hope you enjoy the book. For the latest through-route dates see my article “Snow reports for walkers in the Pyrenees“.

    Have fun
    Steve

  252. Sarah says:

    Hi Steve, Huge thanks for providing this resource to hikers! I am planning on doing the GR10 W-E this summer, and have two questions for you:

    1) I need to fly home by August, so I’m planning to reach Gabas on June 24 and cross the Hourquette d’Arre on June 25. It looks like the snow is heavy this year, so I probably can’t rely on the June 14 snow-free date — I know it’s impossible to say with certainty, but do you have any guesses what conditions will be like on June 25? A bit of snow doesn’t bother me, but if there’s a good chance it’ll be deep enough to require crampons/present an avalanche risk, I’ll look into alternatives.

    2) If I need to detour around Hourquette d’Arre on June 25, can I assume that I would also need to detour around Hourquette d’Ossoue on June 29? I’d hate to miss that stage, so if this is the case I might just plan to start the GR10 ten days later, end at Merens les Vals, and return another year…

    Many thanks for the advice!

  253. steve says:

    Hi Sarah

    1) You say you need to fly home by August. When in August? Yes you are right about the heavy snow but 25 June could still be OK. In any case you can avoid the Hourquette d’Arre by heading north from the Cabanes de Cézy to just short of Eaux-Bonnes where you can turn east for Gourette.

    2) You are also right in thinking that the Hourquette d’Ossoue is one of the best sections of the GR10 and it would be a pity to miss it. But coming back another year would take something away from the walk. It seems to me that there are two options if there is still snow. a) hire an ice axe and crampons in Cauterets (ask about conditions in the Bureau des Guides in any case) or b) miss out the Hourquette d’Ossoue but come back by train from Banyuls to Cauterets and walk it then.

    How many days have you allowed for the whole walk? How much experience do you have of long-distance walking, by the way?

    I hope this helps.

  254. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the reply! My flight back is on July 29th; I’ve budgeted 48 days total, including 3 rest days. I’m 30 and have done several six day backpacking trips in California and Patagonia averaging 20-22 km per day, but I’ve never done a longer trek — I’m hoping the ability to pack lighter on the GR10 can compensate for my lack of thru-hike experience, but will see how it goes! I like the suggestion of returning to Hourquette d’Ossoue later on/in another trip to the Pyrenees rather than delaying and truncating the entire hike — I think I’ll book gites/refuges in accordance with my 48-day plan and take the La Sourde and Col de Riou detours if snow gets in the way.

  255. steve says:

    Hi Rusty
    I’m not sure what you mean by “if I decided to return after a few days by the Med. on the GR11.” Can you explain more, thanks

  256. steve says:

    Hi Sarah
    Can you let us know if you do encounter snow, please? It will be useful for other early birds.
    Don’t bother booking everything in advance. It is only necessary for 14 July weekend. Normally you can ring two days in advance (or get refuge to ring for you where you don’t have any coverage). If you book everything you risk not being able to take that rest when you really need it.
    Good luck
    Steve

  257. Frank Boase says:

    Hi Steve, After many years, I’m making the opportunity to walk G10.
    An there AYM’s anywhere nearby or do I need to take cash with me?

  258. steve says:

    Hi Frank
    Excellent question. I once spent 100 euros on a taxi fetching cash because I had run out! There are cash machines (ATMs) on the GR10 in Hendaye, Sare, Saint Étienne de Baïgorry, St Jean Pied de Port, Arrens-Marsous, Cauterets, Luz Saint Sauveur, Bareges, Saint Lary Soulan, Bagnères de Luchon, Seix (off route), Bolquère, Arles sur Tech, La Jonquera and Banyuls. Source Visa ATM locator (Feb 2018)

  259. Frank Boase. says:

    Hi Steve, Thanks for you quick reply re ATM’s.
    Next it has been suggested to me that I take a GPS with me. Which of the many do you suggest? Is it solar-powered? Does it use a sim card that needs reloading?
    Again thanks

  260. steve says:

    Hi Frank

    Yes, take a GPS (or a phone with Wikiloc app loaded), see my page on how to use a GPS. You need one that you can put maps onto: Free maps of the Pyrenees. Any recent Garmin will do, though there are may other possibilities. No they are not solar powered, you need spare batteries and a charger. Yes you will need a sim card with sufficient memory for the map you choose.

    best wishes

  261. Rusty says:

    Sarah / Steve
    Eastward from the Atlantic is what I mean.
    I won’t hold your youth against you.
    Back on the GR 11 if I feel like it.
    In my 50’s but stronger than I was in my 20’s, done a few long distance routes including the South West Coast Path (in two trips).
    Tend to be a little ambitious & end up injured so I will be taking it very easy to begin with & taking plenty of rest days.
    Travelling with a tent & a stove so costs will be low also lower “other people are hell” risks 😉

  262. Frank Boase says:

    Thanks Steve, your a great (impartial) help.

  263. Steve White says:

    Hi Steve – great website & really helpful. I am thinking of doing a 5 week stint mainly on the GR10 but thinking of crossing to GR10 & getting as far as Espot. The crossing via Portillon de Benasque at Bangneres de Luchon in terms of distance & time is not clear – what the options – presume Hospice de Luchon is the best starting place?

    Steve

  264. FRANK BOASE says:

    Hi Steve, I plan do walk G10 this summer, on my own, what is a good light-weight tent?
    Thanks Frank

  265. steve says:

    Hi Steve
    I presume you mean crossing over to the GR11. You can hitch/bus/taxi from Bagnères de Luchon to the Hospice de France and then climb to the Refuge de Venasque and down to the Hospital de Benasque and take a bus from there to Benasque. The walking part is spectacular, particularly when you arrive at the Portillon. It is 10km and 1000m of climbing which should take you 6h00. However an alternative option would be to cross over to the GR11 from Gavarnie to Bujaruelo which 13km and 1000m climbing so would take 6h30. The advantage of this option is that there are no roads involved.
    Have fun.

  266. steve says:

    Hi Frank
    Sorry but I can’t help on this. Your best bet is to look at Andy Howell’s page which details all you need to know on lightweight tents.
    Best wishes
    Steve

  267. steve says:

    Jemma Chapman sent me the following message for you, Steve.

    I did this last year. The walk from hospice de France to hospital de Benasque is beautiful. I got a shuttle from the office du tourisme in luchon to the hospice, it left at 09:30. The bus from the hospital de benasque to the town runs 3 times a day (at 11:00,14:00 and 17:00 last August)but I hitched into town from the hospital car park easily. Hope you have a good trip.

  268. Steve white says:

    Thanks Steve & Jemma for the response re Benasque- looks like it will be a highlight of my trip!

  269. Clare Goodwin says:

    Hi Steve,

    We’re looking to do Cauterets to Luz-St-Sauveur the last weekend of May. Is this going to be possible or still too snowy?

    Clare

  270. steve says:

    Hi Clare

    If you are thinking of walking the direct path (and not going up to the Oulettes de Gaube) it might be possible but today there is 115cm of snow at the bottom of the slopes (1700m) and 290cm at the top (2300m), which is exceptional. Keep an eye on the Luz-Ardidan ski resort webcams. The col de Riou is at 1940m and the approach is 30°. 1940m is not very high but if there is still a significant amount of snow it could be unstable. It is one of these things you can’t predict as yet, but I would work on the assumption that it will be OK – you can always get a bus to Lux via Pierrefitte.

    Keep safe, Steve

  271. Rusty says:

    Hi Steve
    Can you delete my post with my email included, I was stupid to post it.
    BTW
    Solar is getting cheaper by the minute just bought this off Amazon for £30, it charges at the advertised rate, 2-3 hours for a smart phone even on a cloudy day in the UK.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01CHFVBX0
    Thanks.

  272. Clare Anna says:

    Thanks Steve, much appreciated!

  273. Jordan says:

    Hi Steve,
    Congrats on a fantastic trove of knowledge!
    I’d like to plan a 10-14 day route for my family including wife (experienced Nepal hiker) and two sons (11 & 13, fit day-hikers).
    Our dates are any time in July (I have left the month open).
    I have been trying to decide between GR10, GR11 and even HRP, and also between staying in huts or lugging a tent (I know you are all about ultralight).
    Ideally we want to avoid giant boulder fields and anything technical, but we do love dramatic views.
    Please let me know what you would recommend.
    Thanks!

  274. steve says:

    Hi Jordan

    I like wild and dramatic but not too mineral, so my ‘best bits’ reflect this.

    GR10

    The GR10 is the best organised of the three routes in terms of accommodation. And so many people have now walked it that the path is well defined. For me the best bit is the Cauterets – Bayssellance – Gavarnie loup.

    GR11 most difficult stages

    • Góriz to Pineta
    • Baiau to Arans if you go on main route but much easier if you head east from Baiau initially
    • L’illa to Malniu. Beware of late snow at the Portella d’Engorgs. You can go around to south but this involves a boulder-hopping descent.

    GR11 most beautiful stages

    • Zuriza to Aguas Tuertas to Cancanchú*
    • Salent de Gállego to Bujaruelo
    • Torla to Pineta
    • Puente de Coronas to Espot*
    • Nuria to Ulldeter**

    HRP most difficult stages

    • Egurguy – Iraty very steep near start
    • Iraty to Ardane Gagnekoa spectacular narrow ridge, Zazpigain but OK if you don’t have vertigo
    • Somport to Pombie annoying boulder field just before the Col de Peyreget
    • Pombie to Arremoulit, exciting corniche Passage d’Orteig
    • Arremoulit to Respomuso steep descent on scree
    • Biados to Soula, steep climb on screen and boulders after Anescruzes, didn’t like that at all.
    • Soula to Portillon to Rencluse to Conangles a tricky section probably best avoided
    • Saboredo to Fournet annoying boulder fields
    • Certascan to Soulcem, worst boulder field I know after Port de l’Artiga but most beautiful lakes in the Pyrenees, Estanys de Romedo!
    • Soulcem to Fourcat to El Serrat, more boulder fields

    HRP most beautiful stages

    • Gavarnie to Héas to Bielsa
    • Conangles to Saboredo
    • Fornet to Soulcem**
    • Juclar to Hospitalet to Bouillouses
    • Eyne to Ulldeter*** to Pla Guillem (except for the ski resort at Ulldeter!)

    See also my site on the GR11, Senda Pirenaica, this page on cross-border routes, and this page comparing the GR10, GR11 and HRP. There are also reports on the Senda de Camille, the Mountains of Freedom, and a cross-border walk taking in Aneto.

  275. Becky says:

    Hi Steve,

    I posted a while back asking for your thoughts on accommodation/distances when I was planning on walking the whole GR10 route this summer. My plan has since changed and I won’t be able to go for a way as long as I’d hoped for (combination of not being able to take 2 months off work and also buying a house so needing a salary!)
    I still intend on going mid-August to early Sept, for 2.5 weeks and hiking as much of the midi-Pyrenees as I can in that time (perhaps roughing it a bit more accommodation wise given that I am only walking for a few weeks).
    What I wanted to ask was, if I’m coming from the UK and can do around 17 days away in total, where would you suggest I start and end (i.e. a combination of the best access but also the best views!)
    Any thoughts greatly welcome 🙂
    Many thanks!
    Rebecca

  276. steve says:

    Hi Becky

    Two possibilities with easy train/bus access: Etsaut to Luchon or Luchon to Mérens. The former has some of the classic sights of the GR10 – Lac de Gaube, Vignemale, Gavarnie, Néouvielle, Lac d’Oo – but will busy in August. The latter has less organised accommodation but free huts you can stay in if you don’t mind slumming it. Around the 15 Aug you will need to book in advance because it is a Bank Holiday.

    Have fun

  277. Jim says:

    Hello
    Great site.
    I want to walk this walk. Atlantic to Med. I also want to follow as high a route as possible.
    Are there GPS Routes for the “high” route?
    Is accommodation good or not good when staying up high?
    Is there a day by day route available for the high route?
    Thanks
    Jim

  278. steve says:

    Hi Jim

    There are three main routes in the Pyrenees going from the Atlantic to the Med. The GR10 on the northern side, the Pyrenean Haute Route (HRP) which is the highest and crosses the watershed on the French/Spanish border many times (I counted 28!), and the GR11 La Senda Pirenaica on the south side. I have written an article on another site comparing the three Pyrenees routes. It sounds like you would be looking towards the HRP (known in French as the Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne).

    Yes there are loads of GPS tracks for all three routes, see Wikiloc.

    As for accommodation, I have done all three routes and can safely say that you do not need a tent. You will be able to find a roof every night. That said, this needs careful planning, see the refuges in the Pyrenees site. Depending on the route you pick perhaps a quarter of the nights will be in free basic huts, a few on a concrete floor but most with at least minimal comfort. 60% of the nights will be in staffed hostels. And 15% in bed and breakfast or small hotels. The hostels and B&B works out at about 55 euros for bed and breakfast, evening meal and a picnic, so doing the whole route like this works out at over 2000 euros. Camping is naturally cheaper.

    Yes there are day-by-guide books. The Cicerone Pyrenees guides are great for Anglophones.

    [I’m assuming you have already done some long-distance walks and that you are confident for the steep hands-on-rock bits of the HRP. If not I would recommend starting with the GR10.]

    Feel free to ask more questions once you have settled on a route.

    Happy planning, Steve

  279. Rusty says:

    New Flora & Fauna Guidebook in English, not on Amazon UK in English but found here:
    https://www.nhbs.com/wildlife-of-the-pyrenees-book

  280. steve says:

    Looks interesting.

  281. Birgitte says:

    Hi, I plan to hike section 2 during august. Is there anything I should pay attention to when hiking the gr10 alone as a female? Have there been any incidents as far as you know?
    Thanks, Brigitte

  282. steve says:

    Hi Brigitte

    I have met quite a few lone women walking in the Pyrenees and none have reported female-specific problems. The only thing you need to look out for in August is the heat, and some refuges may be booked up around the 15 August holiday.

    Have fun

  283. Birgitte says:

    Hi Steve, thanks for quick reply. What would you expect would be the average day and night temperature in section two? I actually expected the mountains to be more chilly than fx section 1.

  284. steve says:

    Hi Brigitte. What do you mean by section 2?

  285. Alice says:

    Steve – I’ve been reading your site for several years since we first hiked a week from Estaut to Cauterets several years ago – thank you! This year we are newly retired with 6 weeks to ourselves. We arrive Cauterets on July 13 with a tent and stove, and will walk for 6 weeks towards the Med. Yes we’ll have heavier packs, (about 18lb each plus water), but we plan to go very slowly – possibly 2 days for everyone else’s 1 day – and enjoy the scenery with slow picnics and even mid day naps. We’ll be taking full advantage of the Formule Bivouac wherever it is on offer and will report back on how that goes. I do have a question… how does the snow look this year? We last went in a heavy snow year and had a slightly hairy time getting over the Hourquette d’Arre so wondering what the early reports are like.

  286. steve says:

    Hi Alice

    It’s good to have the time to do things at your own pace! Although there has been much more than average snow this year, setting out on July 13 you shouldn’t have too many problems. The only place where there might be difficult snow would be in the region of Vignemale but by that date many people will have passed through before you. Ask in the Bureau des Guides and consider the alternative route if necessary. But keep an eye on this page for more snow reports.

    Prepare to enjoy yourselves…

  287. Alice says:

    Thank you so much – we will indeed keep an eye on your snow report page. I see that 2013 had the most snow ever… that’s when we were last there! Very much appreciate all the helpful info.

  288. Heather says:

    To Birgitte; I’m a 55 year old woman, and walk solo all over the world. I’ve walked GR10 solo and am doing it again in August. There’s no problem being a solo female hiker as long as you are sensible (same for any hiker); carry enough water especially in August, and take a mobile phone, battery charger and add the track (get it from Wikiloc and add it to ViewRanger or any other GPS app). And thanks again for your helpful site Steve

  289. Qin Zhu says:

    Hi, Steve. We have been walking GR10 for several years and your website is the best source of information. Thank you for maintaining the site and sharing your knowledge!
    This year in late July we are going to hike from Vielle Aure to Merens Les Vals, but we will take a detour at the beginning stage of the hike to explore Lac du Portillon area. From my previous correspondence with you through this website, you indicated this could be an interesting place to visit. Our plan is to go from Lac d’Oô -> Refuge Espingo -> Refuge Portillon -> Refuge du Maupas near Lac d’Enfer -> Luchon. Since this is not the standard GR10 route, I wonder if there is any challenges we should be aware of. We are fit and experienced hikers, but have no technical climbing skills. If we get there between July 23 – July 28, do we need crampon/microspikes and ice axe? Your input will be greatly appreciated!

  290. steve says:

    Hello Qin Zhu

    I considered walking from Portillon to Maupas in 2016 but the more I looked at the less I liked it. It looked more like rock climbing than walking. An alternative would be to go from Portillon to la Renclusa refugio in Spain and then back to the Hospice de France (HRP) and catch a bus down to Luchon. I haven’t done the first day, though the second is magnificent. I suspect you might need crampons to get to the Col de Litérole, though maybe not. There will certainly be snow above Portillon (though not below) at that date.

    It is definately worth going up to Portillon whatever.

    Have fun, Steve

  291. steve says:

    Hi Steve. Thank you so much for alerting me the difficult nature of the path to Maupas. You are absolutely right! My question is the path from Refuge de Portillon to la Renclusa appears to be HRP Etape 21 (on my GPS map). It seems to be along the ridge to the right of Punta Mamy and Pic des Crabioules. The latter was mentioned by other walkers as being challenging. I wonder if climbing ropes are needed for this portion. We are not trained in rock climbing and would like to be aware of our limitations. Your opinion helps a great deal!
    Qin Zhu

  292. steve says:

    Hi
    The HRP goes up to the Col de Litérole and then down the other side. It doesn’t go along the ridge. It is steep and if icy you will need crampons and an ice axe, but it is not rock climbing.

  293. Jemma Chapman says:

    Hi Steve,
    I am planning a trip to the Pyrenees in August/September. I m travelling with my kum who doesn’t want to carry her bag between stops! I have found a few tour operators who will transfer your bags for you, out favourite itinerary so far is with company called Purely Pyrenees. Do you know anything about them?
    Jemma

  294. steve says:

    Hi Jemma

    Not carrying bags! A great idea. I don’t know anything about Purely Pyrenees as such. However they are part of La
    Balaguère which has an excellent reputation. Go for it.

    Steve

  295. Birgitte says:

    Sorry, section 2 I mean from around Orédon. From medio august until beginning of september.

  296. steve says:

    Temperatures depend a great deal on how high you are. Assuming you are in a valley at night, expect min of 10 degrees C, and a max of 25 degrees C in the day higher up in August.

  297. Laurence says:

    Hi Steve. Do you know the best walking route from La Refuge de Breche de Roland to Camping Valle de Bujaruelo (on the GR11)? I am walking for 3 days in the Pyrenees in July this year and am planning to see the Cirque de Gavarnie on my first day, walking from Gavarnie to Bujaruelo. But the walking route isn’t obvious, once you get to the Breche! I don’t know if I should scramble up to the Breche and down the other side to Bujaruelo, or walk on the north side of the Breche. Can you advise please?

    My second day will be spent viewing the Gorge d’Odessa, following the GR11 to Refugio Goriz. For my third day, I’m planning to walk from Goriz back to Gavarnie (probably over the Breche de Roland).

    Also, do you think I’ll need crampons in July, or will the snow have cleared by then?

    Many thanks for any help you can give.

  298. steve says:

    Hi Laurence
    I’ve never walked from the Brèche down to Brujaruelo but you can’t do it on the North side. Even on the south side it must be something of a scramble. The easiest solution would be to go to the Brèche then back down to the Saradets hostel and along at a much lower level to the Puerto de Bujaruelo. After that the route is well used. You can look on Wikiloc to see if there are any other useful tracks.
    When you walk the Gorge d’Ordesa consider the alternative to the GR11 of the Faja de las Cazadores on the S side, which is quieter. Going back on the third day, I’ve done Monte Perdido to Saradets, via the Lac Glacé. You could do that or the more direct route. Either way, given the amount of late snow it would be a good idea to take crampons and an ice axe. When I climbed Monte Perdido, we used crampons several times between the Saradets and the Lac Glacé and it was an ordinary year.
    An alternative idea would be to go from Gavarnie to Bujaruelo via the Ibon de Bernatuara, something I’ve planned to do for years but never got round to.
    Please let us know how it works out.
    Sounds great!
    Steve

  299. Rusty says:

    Hi Steve
    Is there an opinion on how snowy this year will be for a 10th June Atlantic start?
    Seems lots of chatter about snow earlier in the year but it seems to have been warmer than usual recently.

    Taking some Innov8 Rocklites but not crampons plus iceaxe, they are enough to kick steps in melting summer snow and I have a full set of maps for diversions.

  300. steve says:

    Hi Rusty

    There is still snow and no it hasn’t been warmer in the Pyrenees than usual, though there have been some warm days further north. For more information, look at the webcams listed on my page about snow.

    Keep safe.

  301. Rusty says:

    Thanks, I’ll be fine started walking in the mountains 44 years ago, plus I’m a great coward & very robust.

  302. Frank says:

    Hi steve,

    This year we want to go further on the GR10 from Barreges to Luchon. Do you think this is possible, starting 19th June without crampons and/or ice axes

  303. steve says:

    Hi Frank

    It may be possible, but it would be wiser to have them just in case. There has been a lot of late snow and you will be heading straight into the heights. See also my page on snow conditions in the Pyrenees in 2018.

    Keep safe.

  304. Simon says:

    Dear Steve, reading this blog, I have to say that you are generous with your time and information….thank you.

    We haven’t treked for nearly 3 years. Aug 2015, 7 days of the Walkers Haute Route from Chamonix, carrying far too much. 2014 Routeburn + Caples (Tasmania) as a circuit.
    Dec. 2012 Torres Del Paine (carrying tent, cooker et al).

    Looking for 4-7 days with optional exit points, carry max 14Kg including water, food. want the exhilaration and awe of the mountains….ps I’m scared of vertical drops and thats why we avoided some sections of the Haute Route.
    Possibly GR10, GR11, GR20 or ??? and I will then research.
    Please reply only if you have time. We can’t travel till maybe Sept or plan for 2019 in the shoulder season.
    regards
    Simon

  305. steve says:

    Hi Simon

    I don’t know the GR20, except by reputation, so I won’t comment on that. I gather you are planning on carrying a tent.

    Wild, no drops and exit points tend to be mutually exclusive. On the GR10 for wild and exit points but with some drops (after Oulettes de Gaube) you have Cauterets – Bayssellance – Gavarnie – Luz – St Lary. For wild but few exit points try the Ariège.

    On the GR11 the fun starts at Candanchú but don’t go beyond Góriz (drops). Alternatively start at Conangles, heading east. Again few exit points but well defined paths and busses back to start. Above all, if you are considering 2019, to be safe don’t plan to start until July.

    I hope this helps.

  306. Alfonse says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for this website, amazing job with it, truly. A couple friends and I are going for a 6-day hike in a few days, and are trying to figure out what’s the best stretch. We’re going to be camping instead of staying in hostels (trying to keep the trip super cheap), and are looking for the best combination of great views, free huts, and food/water availability so we don’t have to carry much weight. So far we were thinking of starting in Les Gourettes and ending in Luz Saint Sauveur. Does that sound right to you? regards,
    alfonse

  307. steve says:

    Hi Alfonse

    If you are going within the next week you need to be aware of likely snow problems on your route. The Hourquette d’Ossoue just under Vignemale was snowbound on 29 May and access from the west would need crampons and snow skills. The situation may have changed but the Bayssellance refuge hasn’t put any news on its Facebook page, so you will need to ring them +33974776652. (You can always go directly from Cauterets to Luz but that would be missing out the best bit!)

    Otherwise you could try the Senda de Camille, staying in huts/camping in between the refuges. This has the great advantage of being a circular walk.

    Bring warm clothes for the nights, but don’t be deterred!

  308. Alfonse says:

    Definitely not deterred! Thanks, we’re definitely sticking to the GR10. Would you say it makes sense to stick to the plan to go from Gourette to Luz-Saint-Sauveur? Will we pretty much get food and water every 2-3 days for that stretch? We don’t have particular snow experience, but we’re 3 pretty athletic people willing to get crampons and such when we get in to Toulouse.
    regards,
    alfonse

  309. steve says:

    Hi Alfonce

    When I said do not be deterred, I meant do not be deterred from coming to the Pyrenees. However you should NOT attempt the Hourquette d’Ossoue. I’ve just rung up the Bayssellance refuge and you would need crampons and ice axes. But you have no experience of using them; it isn’t something you can improvise. You need to go to snow school or at least have someone with you who knows what to do. Being athletic is irrelevant. If you really really want to go that way hire a guide in Cauterets. See also my latest comment on Pyrenees snow reports for trekkers.

    Keep safe

  310. Alfonse says:

    Yes, understood! Are there alternative ways to hike some of that stretch while avoiding the dicey bits? Would we be fine working our way from Gourette to Saint-Sauveur without doing the Hourquette d’Ossoue detour? If not, do you have recommendations for other parts of the GR10 that would be next-best for a 6-day hike this time of year?

    Many thanks for your help with this, Steve, incredible grateful for it!

  311. steve says:

    Yes, there may be some snow at the Col de Ilhéou but it should be passable – but ask when you get to Gourette. Later on there is a variant which goes directly from Cauterets to Luz-St-Sauveur. If you’ve got time you could then walk up to Gavarnie to see the Cirque. Please let us know how much snow you encounter.

  312. Alfonse says:

    (we’re flexible, basically looking for our best options coming from Toulouse this Saturday)

  313. Alfonse says:

    Will do Steve. Last question: do you know what the best way to the trail is from Toulouse? It looks like we can take a train to Pau and then a bus to Gourette, or take a bus to Lourdes and then to Arrens-Marsous. Would we be missing something by going straight to Arrens-Marsous?

  314. steve says:

    Hi Alfonse

    If you start at Arens-Marsous you might find the walk a bit short – but you can always venture into the Néouvielle after going up to Gavarnie. Have fun whatever you do.

  315. Stephen Fry says:

    Steve Hi.
    In 1978 I did the Pennine Way and met a man who told me about the GR10
    Shortly after I bought a copy of the GR 10 by Alan Castle and From that day it was always my plan to walk the whole route one day when I retired which will be 2025 How ever I have persuaded by employer to give me additional leave so this is the year and my outwards flights are booked. I will be setting off from Hendaye on 1st Sept. My aim is to complete it in 45-50 days and originally planed to use a bivvy bag for most of the route with a few Gites thrown in if the weather looked poor but a friend who owns a ski chalet in Ax Les Thermes says it could be too cold at night if I am away from the valley villages. What do you think ? I am happy to use the refuges, Cabins and bothy type huts but speak no French except Bonjour and Un croissant si vouz plait. That really is all. If I opt for the huts Will my lack of French be a problem. PS Steve you deserve some kind of award for this site. Services to long distance trail walkers. It’s brilliant Thank you so much.

  316. steve says:

    Hi Stephen

    Glad you like the site. 50 days is quite quick but it depends on how much training you have had recently. As your friend says it will be cold in October and a bivvy bag is not good enough. It could well snow from 1 October onwards, though it probably won’t last long. Prefer refuges and free huts – especially huts, as many of the staffed refuges will be closed in October (some have a room which is accessible all winter). Your lack of French won’t prevent you from pointing and miming. At staffed refuges you will find someone who can speak a little English.

    Above all plan carefully and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

  317. […] first, I was thinking of doing the last (or first) third of the GR10, as I had already done the middle 300km and I LOVE the Pyrenees. Then I thought, why not do only […]

  318. Wilfried says:

    Dear Steve,

    I am planning to walk part of the GR10 trail, for 5-6 days,over the last week of this June, in the central Pyrenees. I’m flying to Lourdes.
    I have very little rambler experience and traveling alone. However, I’m in good physical and health condition. Which stages would you recommend? I’d like to be facing sunsets, possibly have some lake views, and stay in affordable accomodations. No glacier,since I have no specialised equipment. Thank you!

  319. steve says:

    Hi Wilfred

    In the central Pyrenees, last week in June with very little rambler experience? The best idea would be to start at Lescun (train and bus to Pont de Lescun then 1h30 hike to village) and head west. If you are in the central Pyrenees you may have difficulties. But 5-6 days will get you to St-Jean-Peid-de-Port and a train station.

    Have fun
    Steve

  320. Wilfried says:

    Thank you, Steve!

  321. Wilfried says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thank you for the recommendations earlier. Unfortunately,due to poor weather condition next week, I have to postpone my trip to July instead.
    I noted that one of your favourite bit of the GR10 is “Cauterets – Luz-St-Sauveur”. Would you recommend it in my case?(traveling 1 week, alone, East-West,very good physical condition but little mountain hiking experience). My main concern is gauging well the level of difficulty. Cheers!

  322. steve says:

    Hi Wilfred

    As long as your trip is after 15 July you should be OK as far as snow is concerned but check with the Bayssellance refuge. Cauterets – Chalet-Refuge du Clot – preferably Bayssellance, but failing that Oulettes de Gaube – Granges de la Holle (Gavarnie) – visit Cirque and move on to refuge le Saugé – Luz-St-Sauveur – Cauterets. You will need to book Bayssellance or Oulettes de Gaube in advance. In fact at that time of year perhaps you should book everything in advance. Start at dawn (6am) for the longer days as it will get hot. (Ask for breakfast to be left on a tray.) You’ll meet other walkers en route so you won’t be alone. Have fun

  323. Wilfried says:

    Many thanks for the tips!

  324. Tommy says:

    Hi Steve,

    Many thanks for an excellent website, very useful! I am planning to hike part of the GR 10 this summer (mid July to mid August). My plan is to finish in Hendaye. I have not yet decided on a starting point, but I am considering Cauterets. Can you tell me if it will be possible to reach Cauterets by public transport? I plan to fly to Toulouse, or perhaps Bourdeaux. I am also curious to know whether it is required/recommended to book accomodation in advance?

    Thanks again for a very useful website,

    Tommy

  325. steve says:

    Hi Tommy
    Yes you can get a train to Cauterets from Toulouse. Bordeaux would be more difficult. (Check out Pau and Tarbes as alternatives.) As you are travelling alone you should be able to get into most hostels as long as you ring up 2 days in advance and this is the best method as you never know when you will need/want a break. However, around 14 July you should book well in advance (ie now) as this is a national holiday. (14 August is also a national holiday but by that time you will be near Hendaye so there will be a choice of accommodation.
    Have fun.

  326. Tommy says:

    Perfect, thank you very much!

  327. Birgitte says:

    Hello Steve,
    Thanking for all your useful advice on your blog, I have a few questions for my hike i August (Etsaut-Bagnèreres de Luchon).

    1) How is the internet connection?
    2) What are the opportunities to charge a power bank? Plan to primarily tent but sometimes book a hostel/ B&B
    3) I have red that you recommend to book a hostel a couple of days in advance by phone. Where do I find an overview with phone numbers for B&B or hostels on my way?
    4) Do the hostels typically offer the opportunity of a shower?
    5) Your recommended source for local weather forecasts?
    6) When do you use water purifying tablets and which can you recommend?

    It was actually my goal to stay offline but I can see it might be more difficult than anticipated.
    Many thanks,
    Birgitte (DK)

  328. Kasia says:

    Hi Steve! First of all – it’s a great website and very interesting discussion here. However have you ever thought about creating facebook group? There are some but in Spanish and French….Anyway, I visited Pyrenees last year and now I’m planning the short trip probably in early September (I hope all the snow melts by then and there won’t be autumn snow fall yet). Do you think it’s better timing than early August? I’m afraid of thunderstorms and my guess is that they are less likely in late summer. But on the other hand a bit concerned about temperature at night (I would like to camp).

  329. Pascal says:

    Dear Steve,

    We are planning a 3 day hike from Spain to France and back.
    The idea at the moment is day1 : San Nicolas de Bujaruelo – Gavernie day 2 : get to Cols des Tentes by taxi from Gavernie then go to Goriz to spend the night (camping).
    Walk back from Goriz to Torla and probably another taxi to San Nicolas de Bujaruelo.
    My main concern is :
    How suitable would Cols des Tentes – Breche de Roland – Goriz be for a 10 year old? Distance-wise and ascent looks fine but are there any very exposed sections?

  330. Alexandros Manousakis says:

    Hi Steve ,
    great job you have done with all these information .
    We are 3 men and planning to visit the GR10 from 15 to 24-9-2018 . We will begin from Arren Marsous and finish in Luz St Sauveur . With our planning we will overnight as follows : LAC D ILLHEOU – Lac de Gaube – REFUGE DE BAYSSELANCE – GITE D ETAPE DE SAUGUE – LUZ ST SAUVEUR and as planned we will have two spare days . In which of these would you suggest a second overnight in order to make an interesting day tour and return to the refuge in the night ? What is the highlight we shouldn’t lose ?

  331. steve says:

    Hi Alexandros

    If you are fit and feeling adventurous hire a guide (in advance) to take you from Bayssellance to the summit of Grande Vignemale (stay in Bayssellance two nights). Or stay in Gavarnie (Refuge le Gypaète), visit the Cirque coming back via the Refuge des Espuguettes before staying at Saugué. The cirque de Gavarnie is quite something.

    I hope this helps.

  332. steve says:

    Hi Pascal

    I was at the Brèche de Roland yesterday, starting from the col des Tentes. There was snow from just before the river crossing at 2400m. The round trip took us 6 hours plus stops. If you are thinking of taking a child on this route within the next month you will all need crampons and ice axes and you should use a rope to keep your 10-year-old safe. (You also need to know how to do a self-arrest.)

    However, your plans seem to include going directly from the Brèche to Góriz. This is completely impractical with a child even if the snow melts unless you are all very experienced mountaineers.

    By the way, you must book your taxis in advance as there are not many in Gavarnie.

    Keep safe.
    Steve

  333. steve says:

    Hi Kasia

    I haven’t created a Facebook group yet but you can always leave comments on my Facebook page and on the Backpacking in the Pyrenees including GR10, GR11 and HRP group.

    As for your main question, yes there are fewer storms at the beginning of September and it will be a bit cooler. But don’t worry about it being too cold to camp, see my page on temperatures in the Pyrenees.

    Have fun

  334. steve says:

    Hi Brigitte

    1) You will find 3G cover near most villages but not up in the mountains.
    2) B&Bs will have oportunities to charge power banks but the more isolated hostels run on solar power and will be reluctant to let you charge.
    3) For an overview of phone numbers buy one of the FFRP guides. The Cicerone guide may also have them but I’m not sure.
    4) Yes
    5) Meteociel.fr for nearest village (use the “fine” hourly projections, top right)
    6) When taking water from a spring or stream. The water in hostels is OK. No particular recommendations.

    Have fun

  335. Pascal Manuel says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your reply.and the tip about the taxi.
    We will have crampons but i am hoping that by mid August most if the snow will be gone but obvisouly we will have to see when we get to Gavarnie what the situation is and may have to do another walk.
    What is the issue with going to Goriz from the brexhe. I have not done that walk in the past (only did Torla to Monte Perdido passing Goriz and back) but reading the walk descriptions i could find, I did not see major reported safety issues (apart from being vigilant with not loosing the path at the early stage). Are there some exposed sections? What section is dangerous?
    Thanks in advance

  336. steve says:

    Hi Pascal

    You didn’t say when you intended to go. Yes by mid August most of the snow will be gone. If you were just adults you might not need crampons. In that case the problem (for a 10-year-old) is the Pas des Isards, just after the Brèche. Yes there is a chain to hang onto, but it the passage requires great care see https://goo.gl/images/hAfG1z. Perhaps you can avoid this by scrambling down the scree…

    best wishes

  337. Birgitte says:

    Hi Steve, thank you for info. The Cicerone guide (English) does not have a phone list, but I found this list on for the “Gites” along GR10: http://www.gites-refuges.com/v2/recherche_affichage.htm

  338. Wilfried says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for your tips(See 21/6/18). I did (8-14 July) East to West:Luz-St-Sauveur -> Cauterets -Luz St Sauveur, via Gavarnie, refuge de Baysselance, Hourquette d’ossoue, Gaube valley. A few comments to share:
    – I recommend crampons to cross the icy Hourquette d’Ossoue around that time of the year
    – On the way down from Cauterets to Luz, the GR10 signage is patchy and a bit confusing between the villages of Grust-Sazos-Luz.
    – I strongly recommend hikers to stay at the refuge Grange De Holle , in Gavarnie. Philippe, the host, is not only a nice bloke but also very knowledgeable and helpful hiking-wise.I was traveling just by myself and without his indications, I’d have been in trouble…
    – The food at Refuge des Oulettes de Gaubes is really delicious!

  339. Chris Riddoch says:

    Hi Steve,
    What a great resource……
    I’m hoping to do some walking in the Pyrenees next year. I’ll be 70 then, but I’ve walked and climbed all my life and I’m still reasonably fit for my age. I walked 5-6 sections of the HRP around the Vignemale when I was younger and have fantastic memories. However, my days of arduous backpacking and ‘roughing it’ are over, and now I look for shorter days (4-6 hours) with comfortable accommodation (guest houses, lodges, small hotels, B&B) and nice wine and food at the end of each day! My wife also insists on these!
    So my question is: is there a section of the GR10/GR11/HRP that would fit these wishes??? We can do any time of year.
    Your help would be hugely appreciated….

  340. steve says:

    Thanks Wilfried for the input. I have just been staying at the Gypaète in Gavarnie, also to be recommended for the food.

  341. steve says:

    Hi Chris
    I don’t know how long ago you were last here, but hostel food and general conditions have improved greatly in the last 20 years. However, by and large, the distance between hostels in the high mountains hasn’t changed. And if you are looking for guesthouse-type accommodation or even more comfortable you might be better off selecting a single centre and doing day walks from there. Otherwise, for a linear walk concentrate on the ends of the mountains: from the Med to Bolquère or from Hendaye to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port. The best time of year for those areas, assuming a ‘normal’ winter is May/June.
    You might also want to consider a circular walk like the Senda de Camille – there are many others – though this is largely hostel accommodation and has some long days… Cicerone are bringing out a guide in the near future.
    I hope this helps.

  342. Chris Riddoch says:

    Thanks Steve… That’s really helpful. I was last in the Pyrenees 30 years ago! A single-centre trip seems favourite now because we can walk with day-packs. We might even be able to hike to a refuge or two for an overnight stop. Can you suggest places that are good bases for a series of day-hikes? Not too isolated, but also not full of tourists on donkeys (which is my main memory from 30 years ago – together with the snails)!
    Many thanks…..

  343. Pascal says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your reply.
    We were not contemplating doing the Pas des Isards going towards the Casque but going down the scree as described in several walks.
    I have one more question : it seems the refuge de la breche is still closed but i was wondering if it was possible to refill water there or not?
    Thanks

  344. steve says:

    Hi Pascal

    I was at the Brèche two weeks ago. There was snow from 2400m. The hostel and building works were fenced off and inaccessible. But in any case there is so much water flowing around you could get some from a stream. With a water purifying tablet I can’t see that you would have any problem (there are no sheep or cows up there).

    Have fun

  345. […] On the border between France and Spain is this straighforward hike, topping out at 2804 metres. There are a lot of options for hiking in the Pyrenees […]

  346. Tommy Johansson says:

    Hi again Steve, and thanks for your quick reply last time. And your website is absolutely priceless. I am now on my way from Cauterets towards Hendaye. Do you have any recommendations for accommodation in or around Gabbas. It can be a little further away, but I don’t want to push it too much. I have searched for hostels/hotels, but I haven’t found anything yet.

  347. steve says:

    Hi Tommy

    You could try Chez Vignau.
    Looks OK still.

    Have a good trek.

  348. Gjermund Lunder says:

    Hi Steve! Thanks for this wonderful site! Really amazing! We are 5 guys planning to stay at Le refuge des Cortalets (2150 m) from 29 September until 2 October this year and maybe climb Canigo (2784 m). Can we expect snow on the walking part from the car parking Esquena d’Ase,on Le refuge des Cortalets or at Canigo? I’ve seen your max temp 13 and min temp 0 in the temp table above. It is too early to predict the temperatures for sept/oct 2018, I guess? If snow, do you have other routes in the area you would recommend? We are from Norway and used to snow, but prefer to have some temperatures above 5 and no snow for these days 😉 Thanks a lot again for your site and all the effort you put down to answer all questions!

  349. steve says:

    Hi Germund
    On my calculation you will be staying three nights in the refuge. I think you will easily find time to climb Canigou – it takes 4 hours max. As for snow below the refuge, it is highly unlikely. You might get a covering of snow above the hostel but it probably won’t last the day.
    Just go for it.

  350. Gjermund Lunder says:

    Thanks Steve. Really appreciated!
    Kind regards
    Gjermund

  351. Stephen Fry says:

    Steve Hi.
    I am setting off from Hendaye on 1st Sept and hoping to complete whole GR10 route in 45 days travelling as light as possible. I planned not to take a sleeping bag only a silk liner. And believe this is possible put Goulier right up to End of September but Is there enough manned accommodation between Goulier and Canigou between 1-15th October to make thit possible to leave the sleeping bag and camping mat at home ? E.g. My plan was Goulier to Plateau De Beile but I now read on this blog there is nothing available at PDB so was thinking of stoping in the unmanned gite at Sigure. Is there a proper bed and are blankets provided here please. Then next day going Sigure to Rulhe. I am a very experienced Fell walker / runner and completed Pennine way in 6 days but I am reliant on the facilities as was only planning on 3 kg sack excluding water.
    If I do need a sleeping bag. What do you tihink please ?

  352. steve says:

    Hello Stephen
    You will need a sleeping bag for all the unstaffed huts. I also recommend a sleeping-bag-shaped emergency blanket, much better than the traditional flat sheet. Rather than a bulky camping mat I have an inflatable Thermarest mattress which weighs 216g.
    By the way, have you seen the Pyrenees refuges and cabanes site for huts?
    Keep warm.

  353. Jemma Chapman says:

    Hi Steve, I have just returned from a great week in the Pyrenees. We started in Arrens-Marsous and finished in Gedre. We travelled with Purely Pyrenees/La Balaguere who transported our luggage between hotels. I would recommend them to anybody who wants to walk point to point but without having to carry more than a day pack. We also stayed in a fantastic chambre d’hote right on the GR10 between Arrens and Lac D’Estaing it’s called Reve de Gosse, again can’t recommend it enough, huge portions of home cooked food and hosts who couldn’t do enough to help us. We will be back for another section next year.

  354. steve says:

    Hi Jemma

    Thanks for your feedback. Very useful. Which section are you thinking of doing next year?

  355. Nina says:

    Hello Steve,

    my first email seems to have gotten lost – hence a second attempt (hopefully not double posting).

    I really enjoy exploring your website and wished I’d have lots of time to do all the hikes. However, I will only have 4 to 5 days (coming from and returning to Bilbao). Do you have any recommendations for a route where I can possibly can get to via public transport, which takes four days (they can be streneous days) and which is reasonably marked (I hike on my own and don’t want to get lost…)? I liked the general sound of this route http://www.pyreneanway.com/2011/09/circular-trek-in-the-high-pyrenees-5-days-on-the-edge/?lang=en apart from the fact that it would require a guide.
    Any suggestions would be most appreciated! Thanks a lot!

    Best wishes,

    Nina

  356. steve says:

    Hi Nina
    You were looking on the wrong page! Your question and my reply are here.
    Best wishes

  357. brian peake says:

    hi can you wild camp on the way

  358. steve says:

    Hi Brian

    You can wildcamp in some areas but not near the Atlantic because the land is private property. There are restrictions in the National and Natural parks and other protected areas.
    In the Pyrenees National Park you can camp overnight only as long as you are more than one hour from a road, from 19:00 to 9:00.
    In the Catalan Pyrenees Natural Park you can camp overnight only, near hostels and on the GRs.
    In the Ariège Pyrenees Natural Park, I’m not sure what the rules are, but they are probably similar to the Catalan Pyrenees Park.

    However, a really good option is the free huts (very basic). If you are prepared to pay to stay in hostels some of the time you can walk the GR10 withougt the burden of a tent.

    Best wishes

  359. Stephen Fry says:

    Hi Steve. just returned from my epic Pyrenean journey starting on 1st Sept from Hendaye and arriving in Banyules on 6th October. I first heard about the GR10 in 1978 and it has been a 40 year ambition. To say I am over the moon is an understatement. I would like to thank You for your dedication and hard work in putting together this and your other site. Without your information the trip would have been a lot more difficult and daunting for a non French speaker. The trip was absolutely great. I would just give one piece of advice to others planing to stay in Gites. Make sure you prebook any accommodation for Saturdays. I spent 36 days on the trail and had no problems calling ahead the day before as it was September and pretty quiet…except for Saturdays where I came across 3 different weddings and found the places I wanted to stay were full and so were a lot of the alternatives. Spent one night in a 4 start hotel which came to almost euro 200…room and dinner only no breakfast,, one night sleeping on a table after pleading with the agile wonder and one night in a Cabin… which was cold. I wish I had taken some matches to light the fire. Other than that an amazing experience and one I strongly recommend to anyone….as you say..If you only walk long enough..make sure you explore they Pyrénées. Thanks again Steve all the best http://Www.stephenfryrambles.com

  360. Stephen Fry says:

    In my previous post…the term “agile wonder” should say Gîte Owner…the wonders of spell checker when you make a typing error…I have no idea if the owner was agile..she did bend over backwards to help though.

  361. Andrew says:

    Hi Stephen

    Thank you for very informative site.
    I will have 11 full days to hike in the beginning of September 2019 coming from Paris. Mostly camping with couple refugio between. Where in you opinion best to start and finish (I can do a loop too)? Want to see best of mountains if this is possible in such short time. GR10 or GR11 or HRP ready for all.
    We are experienced hikers. Did Chamonix to Zermatt this september mostly wild camping.
    Thanks
    Andrew

  362. steve says:

    Hi Andrew

    Assuming you want high mountain passes, take the train to Bedous and the connecting bus to Candanchu in Spain. Walk to Bujaruelo on the GR11 and then cross over to Gavarnie in France and then walk back on the GR10 to Etsaut where you can get a bus back to Bedous. See the page on my other site on the GR11 for more cross-Pyrenees treks. You can, of course include a bit of HRP, Somport – Pombie – Arrémoulit – Wallon – Oulettes de Gaube, for example.

    Happy planning

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