The Tour of the Vignemale is one of the most emblematic routes in the Pyrenees, combining high mountain landscapes that take your breath away. In just three days, you cross from the Aragonese Pyrenees to the French Pyrenees along a historic route that has connected these two countries for centuries. Along the way, you discover the peaks, lakes, valleys, forests and refuges that make this place so magical.
Like most famous routes, there are several variations of the Vignemale. You can include ascents of peaks such as the Pimené or the Vignemale. However, my Collection is a simple version of the route. It’s quite challenging because of the accumulated altitude difference, but as it doesn’t include any summits, it’s suitable for hikers who have some experience and good knees. The route is a 49.5-kilometre (30.7 mi) circular that sets off from Bujaruelo campsite and refuge. You can park your car there whilst you hike. If you don’t have a car, catch the bus to Torla and take a taxi to the refuge from there (6.5 km / 4 mi from Torla).
Along the way, you’ll be immersed in the beauty of the Pyrenees–Monte Perdido, a cross–border mountain range recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can marvel at the exceptional beauty of the Cirque de Gavarnie or the imposing Vignemale. Crossing from Spain to France on your own feet, following a path that winds between lofty peaks, is an adventure you won’t soon forget.
The route is high altitude, exceeding 2,500 metres (8,202 ft) at times, which means it’s only possible to hike from April until October. Even within those months, the mountains can be treacherous and the weather can quickly change. Check the weather forecast before setting off and don’t hesitate to ask for advice in the refuges just in case. You’ll stay in refuges both nights. Otherwise, aside from a waterproof, good hiking boots and motivation to get out into the mountains, you don’t need anything else.
As for what food you should bring, it depends on whether you’ll eat and pick up food from the refuges. Bear in mind that it’s best to book dinner in advance during the high season. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to refill your water bottles in the rivers and waterfalls along the route.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: February 2, 2023
The journey begins at the Bujaruelo refuge, where you can leave your car parked, enjoy the regional food they serve and find out about the weather conditions before starting.
When you have everything ready, the route begins by crossing the Romanesque bridge over the river Ara and goes up the valley of…
With the batteries charged, it's time to launch into the second stage. From the Oulettes refuge, the path continues to climb to the Hourquette d'Ossoue pass, a mountain pass at 2,734 meters where snow is not uncommon, even in summer.
During the descent from the pass you will find the Bayssellance refuge…
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The third and final stage of our journey brings you closer to one of the most impressive natural spectacles in the Pyrenees: the Cirque de Gavarnie. I could spend hours admiring this great wall of calcareous rock watered by various waterfalls. The main one, simply called the Gavarnie waterfall, has a…
Hiking Collection by Luc Gesell
Hiking Collection by Luc Gesell
Hiking Collection by Julien Harté
Hiking Collection by Thüringen entdecken