Glacial Cirques, Mountain Meadows, and the High Peaks of the Pyrenees


Grand glacial cirques, crystalline lakes, snow-capped summits, mighty waterfalls, magnificent beech forests—the airy realm of the French Pyrenees is utterly breathtaking. We’ve created a fantastic hiking journey that brings you along the best trails of the famed GR10, the long-distance footpath that carves a dramatic route among the high peaks of the Pyrenees. Along the way you’ll feast your eyes on spectacular views, including the wild Cirque de Gavarnie, a vast stone amphitheater with dramatic 4,000-foot-high walls, and the enormous Cirque de Troumouse—five miles end to end!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Pau / Saint-Lary-Soulan / Réserve Naturelle de Néouvielle

From Saint-Lary, a beautiful slate-roofed village in the Hautes-Pyrenees, you’ll hike amid the picturesque mountain villages of the Vallée d’Aure, with their impressive medieval churches built when Christian pilgrims hiked this valley on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In the magnificent Reserve Naturelle de Néouvielle, our hikes follow the GR10 trail up to the peak of Madamete (8,717') and to the Cirque de Troumouse, with its huge vertical walls above glistening meadows and jewel-blue tarns.

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Days 5-6
Cirque de Gavarnie / Breche de Roland

A secret path along the natural ledge on the glacier wall leads to the foot of the Grande Cascade, a 1,000-foot waterfall that springs from the top of the famous Cirque de Gavarnie. On Day 6, a challenging hike brings you to the Breche de Roland, a dramatic natural 100-foot-wide breach in the cirque wall that offers a fabulous view into Spain’s Ordesa Canyon.

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Days 7-9
Mercadau Valley

From Cauterets, famed as a thermal hot springs town since Roman times, explore the verdant Mercadau Valley on the French-Spanish border, with its exquisite lakes and shepherds’ huts nestled amid rugged glacier-carved scenery. Depart on Day 9 via Pau.

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Enjoy alpine hikes in a spectacular realm of snow-capped mountains, jewel-blue lakes, and glacier-carved cirques
The high cliffs and rock faces of the Cirque de Gavarnie, one of the grandest natural sites in all Europe and a World Heritage Site
The snowy crags and alpine flora of the gigantic Cirque de Troumouse
Follow the famed GR10 across the high trails of France’s Pyrenees National Park


Length: 9 days
Cost From: $5495  
Arrive: Pau, France
Depart: Pau, France
Lodging: 8 nights charming inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

7 hiking days on steep trails, 4-7 hours a day, altitudes between 6,000-8,700 feet, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day's hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.