BLOG HOME > LIFE AT VP >

Epic Hike In The Central Pyrenees


Lee Parish, 16th October 2017

It’s the middle of October and a perfect time to enjoy some high altitude hiking, taking a break from cycling and running. The snow line is at its highest in autumn and you are promised warm days with clear dark blue skies without the intensive heat of the summer.

We chose one of our favourite routes which takes us into the National Park of Aiguestortes. We highly recommend it to any of our guests who are looking to mix their daily activities between the bike, sightseeing and hiking. From this hike we see the many features of this area: pastures, fields, forests, rivers, lakes and high peaks serving as an appetizer for the largest mountain basin of the Pyrenees - The Colomers Circ.

Colomers Circ

One of the fourteen Spanish national parks, and the only one located in Catalonia, this is a wild mountain region in the Pyrenees, with peaks rising to 3,017m (Besiberri Sud) and with nearly 200 lakes, many of them of glacial origin.

twisted waters

The park's name in Catalan is Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, freely translated as "Twisted Waters" of the the winding streams and two principle rivers, Riu Escrita and Riu de Sant Nicolau.

forest pathsThe park has a great variety of alpine vegetation owing to the large range of altitudes. From 1,500m to beyond 2,000m, the dominant vegetation is mountain pine Pinus uncinata forest.

 

a lake

Water dominates much of this mountain park and sustains an extensive aquatic ecosystem. Cold mountain streams and lakes teem with trout and provide habitat for grass frogs, common toads, and Pyrenean newts. Muskrats and otters prowl the banks.

map

Our route is well trodden and marked with yellow paint. For safety, we'll also give you an appropriate A4 map for your hike. You can then shorten or lengthen this route on the go.

mountain flowers

Tread carefully. While hiking over 2,200m altitude we see lots of autumn crocus. At this altitude, you'll also see alpenrose Rhododendron ferrugineum, and blueberry Vaccinium myrtillus which prefers cooler locations and Heather Calluna vulgaris" or common juniper Juniperus communis which prefers more sunny and dry areas.

hiker looking at mountains

Generally, above 2,300m trees cannot survive!

rocks and roots

On our descent through the forest, the trails are fun, interesting and engaging. The path flows but the rhythm constantly changes.

wild horse

Nearing the end of our 15km journey with about 650m of total climbing, we meet one of the free roaming horses in a lower pastures (1,750m altitude). After a short wordless exchange, we press on to the car and Vielha for a well deserved coffee and tapas.