Le Tour des Lacs d’Ayous
Of all the hikes you can do near us, this is perhaps our favourite for the simple reason that it offers you a panoramic view of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau. If you do the full circular route, then it’s about 14k and a 5 to 6 hour round trip at a reasonable walking pace.
Of course, you need to stop off at the Refuge d’Ayous for a beer, coffee or a glass of wine, and soak in the magnificent view of the Pic’s reflection in the lake.
If you only have time for one walk – this is it!
Make sure you get there early, as during the summer months the top car park can get very full. You should aim to ideally be there by 10am latest – but if you can get there for around 9, that’s even better.
Chemin de la Mature
If you glance in any guidebook in the Pyrenees, you’ll probably come across this fairly gentle walk. It’s marked as ‘Hard’ here, but it really isn’t. We first did the hike with our 2 year old on our back and in the company of a friend who was 6 months pregnant. But you shouldn’t underestimate it either.
The highlight of the route is walking along a path that is literally hewn out of the cliff face. It’s wide enough for a horse and cart to go along – so if you’ve got a fear of heights, don’t worry too much. It also offers a great view of the Fort de Portalet – which is a 150 year old fortress that guards the Valley d’Aspe.
You should allow at least 3 hours for this hike. You could, if feeling fit enough, combine it with a trip to one of our other favourite hikes, the Tour du Bellevedure (see below).
The Tour du Belvedere overlooking the Cirque de Lescun.
If you’ve never gazed upon the Cirque de Lescun, then you’re in for a treat. We like this route because it’s not too difficult and offers a truly fantastic view of the mountains – ones that many people remark look like something out of the Dolomites.
The hike starts and finishes in the town of Lescun – which has a couple of places you can eat in. Do check out the church – it’s lovely!
The ‘Montagne du Rey’
As the closest mountain to us at Secret Pyrenees, we have a bit of a soft spot for Montagne du Rey also known as the Pic du Rey. At around 1350m high, it’s not too high to be intimidating, but high enough to feel you’ve had a good hike. Starting in Louvie Jouzon, it takes around an hour to the summit if running and about 1hr45 if walking.
There are lots of options to extend the route or indeed make a loop.