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I was able to appreciate the diverse range of hiking trails offered by this region in the heart of the Hautes-Pyrénées département

“Easy” hikes

This summer, I chose to go hiking in the Pyrenees, more specifically in an area encompassing Bagnères-de-Bigorre, the Vallée de Campan and the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. Suffice to say, it has something for everyone and depending on what I was looking for, my physical fitness, and the time I had available, there was a wide choice.  

Out of the “easy” hikes or walks, i.e. those with an elevation change of under 400 m, I enjoyed the Vierge du Bédat which overlooks and watches over the town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, its many footpaths and the fountains dotted around the mountain.

Thanks to the two loops in the Vallée de Lesponne, “entre cascade et torrent” (between waterfall and mountain stream) and “le tour de Serris” (tour of the Serris valley), I discovered the charms of barns and pastoralism in an authentic and unspoilt area. 

Breath-taking viewpoint

What can I say about the Plo Del Naou mountain and the Lac d’Arrou … The first hike, starting in the Col d’Aspin, offers a breath-taking view of the Massif de l’Arbizon, the Pic du Midi and the Vallée d’Aure while overlooking the Lac de Payolle.

The second hike made me appreciate the Hourquette d’Ancizan’s wild setting I walked through herds of cows and horses roaming free, before finding myself face to face with a marmot near the small Lac d’Arrou who seemed to be welcoming me!

After these charming warm-ups, it’s the lakes for me!

I have to say that in this area of the Hautes-Pyrénées, within a radius of under 20 km, a whole host of hikes provide me with the chance to slake my desire to march over challenging terrain and discover lakes as different as they are remarkable. I loved the Lac d’Aygue-Rouye, surrounded by inviting grass, and the Lac de Montarrouye, where I wandered through herds of animals, away from the crowd once I got past the Courtaou des Esclozes. 

I sweated during the short but hard climb towards the turquoise waters of the Lac de Peyrelade and its high-walled glacial cirque. And naturally, I marvelled at the Lac Bleu, a genuine pearl of the Pyrenees, its depth, and its colours that change with the path of the sun, before turning towards Lac d’Ourrec, where hikers and fishermen seemed to have arranged to meet in a setting where water and peace are everywhere…

©Laurent Gahery

A jaw-dropping panoramic view

To round off my stay, I couldn’t decide between the two peaks that dominate this multifaceted hiking region: the Pic du Montaigu or the Pic du Midi ? My hesitation didn’t last long – I did them both! (To be honest, I climbed the Pic du Midi in the cable car…)

I didn’t regret my choice; the Pic du Montaigu gives you the feeling of being on a high mountain at a (relatively) low altitude: 2,339 m. An even climb, a 1,300 m elevation change, and the last 100 metres along an easy but high-up ridge with a jaw-dropping panoramic view! 

I still have plenty of peaks, including the Arbizon, the Pic du Midi, the Néouvielle, the Cabaliros and the Pibeste, that I hope to explore on foot on future visits to the magnificent Hautes-Pyrénées!!!

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