Hiking the Cirque de Troumouse, High Pyrenees

After the previous day’s taxing but oh so rewarding hike around the cirque de Gavarnie we looking for a day hike that was challenging with great views but didn’t require crossing snowy patches or strenuous climbing. The cirque de Troumouse trail out of Gèdre, described in Gavarnie-Luz by Michel Record, offered just the hike we were looking for.

In early June the trail was free of snow but still high enough to afford fantastic views up the vallon (small valley) de l’Aguila and of the cirque de Troumouse. While the trail is in generally good condition and not technically difficult there are a couple of places where it is not well blazed. Having said that, in the wide open terrain you may lose your way from time to time but it is impossible to really get lost. About 8K with a 700 meter change in elevation.

The loop trail starts outside the small hamlet of Héas at the small parking lot on the left side of the road just before the Troumouse pay entrance.  Here you’ll find a trail junction a short ways up the hill. As this is a loop trail you can tackle it from either direction. The following description follows the trail clockwise heading first towards la cabane de l’Aguile, however following the trail counter clockwise would give you a more gradual climb up, ending with a steeper descent and may make it easier to find the trail in the sections where there are few blazes or cairns.

The first section climbs the side of the hill with increasingly impressive views of the surrounding mountains.

About halfway up you hit a control station on the stream tumbling down from the valley above.

From here the trail continues along the stream up into a pastoral hanging valley. At the Oratoire de la Famille turn right off the main trail and head up the hill.  The way is sketchily marked with a few cairns. Continue up the hill towards the large rock formation, la Muraille de la Sède, ignoring the trail that heads to your right parallel with the stream below.

At the top of the hill towards the base of the muraille (rock wall) the trail becomes more obviously marked with cairns and climbs to the right to a grassy pass with fabulous views of the cirque de Troumouse (a great spot for a picnic).

Continue to the large rock formation Tour de Lieussaube. A short ways past the tour a trail, marked sketchily with cairns, departs the main trail and descends to your right down a boulder strewn ravine, soon coming to scant ruins.

From here you should be able to see the Cabane des Aires across the grassy plateau. Follow the track as it meanders across the plateau towards the Cabane, crossing several small streams as you go.

From the front of the Cabane the trail descends along long switchbacks to the river below and is easy to follow back to the parking lot.

June 6, 2012

For links to all the posts in this series see the French Pyrenees page.

3 thoughts

  1. Wow, seriously Debbie, I didn’t realize France had so much natural beauty! These photos are stunning!! And I bet that sheep photo was another one for me! LOL 😀

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