Self Guided Hut to Hut in the French Pyrenees
The GR10 & Grand Cirques
- Challenging and remote walking in the High French Pyrenees
- Linear route, from Cauterets to Luz Saint Sauveur
- GR10, Vignemale Peak and Cirque du Gavarnie are just some of the highlights
Self Guided Hut to Hut in the French Pyrenees
This 7 night high level ‘Hut to Hut’ route crosses five valleys in six days, following sections of the famous long-distance GR10 walking trail, and all within the French Pyrenees National Park. It is a tour encompassing some of the most spectacular and challenging scenery in the French Pyrenees. You have the freedom and flexibility that a self-guided route allows and are able to stay high in the mountains after the day walkers have left.
With our comprehensive route notes and area map, you will cover a rich variety of terrain, encountering high level lakes and dramatic cirques, long and deep pastoral valleys, as well as high plateaus and rocky passes with glimpses of glaciers. The route offers two opportunities to summit two high peaks: Petite Vignemale (3032m) and Piméné (2801m).
With a mix of remote mountain refuges and more comfortable gite and auberge accommodation, you get to experience the best of both worlds. Some of the huts along the route are simple and rustic, with no shower facilities nor hot water, but the itinerary is balanced with stays in gites, auberges, and also en suite rooms at the start and end of the week. Mid-week you return to civilisation when passing through the village of Gavarnie, with its renowned cirque backdrop and allowing you to stock up on supplies and phone signal. All of the route is done on foot, with no use of buses and just the one cable car used on day one (which can be avoided), which makes for a satisfying and complete ‘end to end trek’.
At the beginning, you make your way to the town of Lourdes. From here we will collect you and transfer you to your Gite accommodation for the first night in the small spa town of Cauterets. On arrival, you will sit down with one of our local hosts, Sandrine or Sian, and talk through each day’s stage, logistics and any questions you may have. At the end of the week, your final night is spent in the town of Luz Saint Sauveur, before your own independent travel the following morning. It is possible to return to Lourdes by public bus or we can organise a private taxi for you
This Hut to Hut route is available between July 14th and September 22nd 2018. We especially recommend July and September being periods when the huts and walks are generally quieter. The earlier you book, the easier it is for us to guarantee your accommodation and confirm your arrangements.
If you would like us to check availability in the accommodation along the route, please contact Kelly to talk through the itinerary and to let her know your specific travel dates. We ask you not to book flights until we have confirmed all the accommodation for your trip.
NOTE: Each stage involves up to 1020m of ascent, up to 1586m of descent and up to 18.8km of walking, so this particular holiday is for experienced walkers with a good level of fitness. It has a Collett’s grading of hard and long. See the factsheet link below for further details and day by day stages.
The GR10 & Grand Cirques
This is a linear route, walking point to point. You start out from the spa town of Cauterets, and ascend into the Gaube Valley underneath the Vignemale; the highest mountain in the French Pyrenees at 3298m. You ascend to the neighbouring peak, Petit Vignemale (3032m) and stay overnight to Refuge de Baysselance; the highest refuge in the French Pyrenees at 2651m. A long descent to the village of Gavarnie down the Ossoue Valley is followed by three days discovering the three magnificent glacial cirques and valleys of the high central Pyrenees, including the impressive Cirque du Gavarnie and its towering ridge of frontier peaks, recognised as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Accommodation in a French Refuge
Remote huts and French Gites that range from the basic to the surprisingly comfortable
The 7 nights accommodation along the route is a mix of mountain Refuges and also Gites and an Auberge, offering a great balance between a true mountain hut experience and a little more comfort and amenities. On nights 1 and 4 you have the option to upgrade, from Gite accommodation to a Hotel in a private en suite room.
Nights 2, 3 and 5 are spent in mountain refuges, perched high, and at fantastic vantage points to watch the sun go down behind the surrounding peaks. Due to their altitude and remoteness, they are simple in their facilities and have no shower facilities or hot water, but have toilets and wash basins. Lockable rooms with sinks allow you to have a wash and give you some privacy. You sleep in mixed-sex dormitories, in bunk beds or in some cases, on sleeping platforms with mattresses in a row alongside one another. There is not the option to upgrade to private rooms in these refuges, but it makes for a true hut experience, and the atmosphere is convivial and warm, with great camaraderie amongst fellow walkers.
Food in the Mountains
Meals are provided during the week on a full-board basis. You receive breakfast each morning and a 3 course meal each evening. On every walk day a packed lunch is provided in the morning.
Breakfasts vary depending on the refuge, but can be buffet style or served as a set plate. A normal refuge breakfast is continental and can be quite simple, including bread, cake, cereal, jam/honey, tea and coffee. Evening meals in the refuges are taken at a set time in the early evening and people sit altogether around the same table, with drinking water provided. The menu is fixed, but you will be surprised how well you will eat when somewhere so remote. Food tends to be hearty and plentiful, and is typical local cuisine, ideal for those long days out on the mountain. Expect big soups, stews and a sweet dessert. For vegetarians, meals will have much less variation. All supplies to the huts are airlifted in just a few times throughout the summer and so there are very limited supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables. Vegetarians might feel less heartily fed than non-vegetarians.
On four of the nights you are staying in gite, auberge and guesthouse type accommodation, which are in towns or have road access, and so there is much more variety and freshness to the ingredients used, and you will eat very well.
Drinks and snacks are not included in the accommodation, but can be purchased and added to your own tab.
Further information & prices
Choose your dates between: 14th July to 22nd September, with more limited availability in August when the refuges are particularly busy.
£750 per person with Inbound Transfer (from Lourdes)
Minimum of 2 people. Arrive on the day of your choice.
Please note that all bookings are subject to availability – please do not book any travel arrangements until we have confirmed your accommodation arrangements.
Accommodation in dormitory rooms for 5 nights and private double/twin room for 2 nights.
NOTE: There are no shower facilities on night 2, 3 and 5 – communal toilets and washbasins only.
NOTE: Some dormitories are sleeping platform bed arrangements, sleeping side by side in a row.
All dorms are mixed sex and vary in size from refuge to refuge.
Cauterets and Gavarnie have the option to upgrade to a private en suite room in a Hotel, rather than Gite accommodation – this is subject to availability and a supplement of £25 per person per night.
No single supplements apply for dormitory accommodation but are applied to private rooms in the Hotels/Gites.
You must supply your own sleeping bag liners for all dormitory accommodation.
Towels are not provided in any refuge/gite accommodation – please bring your own.
- Inbound transfer from Lourdes (airport or train station) to Cauterets.
- 7 nights’ accommodation in gites/refuges/guesthouse.
- Full board – Breakfast and 3-course dinner each day, plus 6 packed lunches for walk days.
- A meet and greet with a member of our staff in Cauterets on your arrival.
- Detailed route laminates and revelvant maps
- Detailed pre-departure information including packing suggestions
What’s Not Included
- Drinks/snacks and any other purchases in the accommodation
- Homebound transfer from Luz St Sauveur at end of week. Private taxi can be arranged or local buses used.
At Your Own Risk
Your self guided hut to hut itineraries will be spent entirely at your own risk and it is important that you understand that whilst these routes are accurate at the time of writing, the situation on the ground may change and the itineraries rely on your sound judgement and decision making throughout.
Our self-guided hut to hut itineraries are put together on a basis of goodwill so that you might enjoy a route you may not otherwise have discovered having organised the itinerary yourself. It represents nothing more than the opportunity to go out on a beautiful walk in a part of this wonderful walking area, with the support of knowing that many of the logistics have been arranged for you.
It is a fact that mountains, mountainous areas and activities undertaken in them are associated with personal injury and death. By coming to such areas, you are exposing yourself and your party to the possibility of personal injury or even death. In such an event, Collett’s Mountain Holidays will not be held responsible for your interest in mountainous areas and your involvement in mountain pursuits, which can occasionally have tragic consequences.
It is important that you understand that these routes are put together using our extensive knowledge of the area, to provide a route which we believe will be enjoyable and realistic for people who decide that they have the appropriate level of fitness and ability in order to complete the itinerary safely. The information provided uses only marked paths which are in use at the time of writing, however, it is your responsibility to continually assess the suitability and safety of the route throughout the walk and to undertake any action necessary to avoid any terrain which each or any member of the group is not comfortable with. The route choice also assumes an ability to read maps and navigate competently.
It is the responsibility of each individual in the group to make an assessment of the information provided, and to make an informed decision about whether the itinerary is suitable for them.
Finally, during your holiday with Collett’s Mountain Holidays you act at your own risk on any ideas, information and opinions included in any material prepared by us to help you get the most from the area.
In pictures – Self Guided Hut to Hut in the Pyrenees with Collett's
Guest Reviews - Hut to Hut Hiking
Had been to Pyrenees with you a few years ago. Chose Collett's then because we knew Spanish mapping wasn't great so wanted to walk with people with local knowledge. Dolomites highly recommended by other guests in Pyrenees and we had never been there. Hut to hut was attractive option.
We had a great holiday and may well return to do a differ(...)
We have been to Corvara in 2015 and 2016 with you.
We also did a bespoke hut to hut which your team organised and explained to us very well.
What stands out about Collett's is the quality of the host team in Corvara, who were great (again). They were unfailingly helpful, interested, friendly and great company. Our thanks to them, again.
Extremely welcoming and friendly staff. We did a self guided 4 day hiking in Alta Badia and your route choice was outstanding! Your website was easy to follow and the photos were excellent. When I inquired about a self guided trip the response was prompt, clear and helpful. Your pricing is also reasonable.
The routes were superb, the staff was very helpful and welcoming, the scenery magnificent, the hotels excellent, the food great, and the directions very precise. There were only a couple of times in our five days that we had any doubt about the route to follow. We were absolutely delighted with the trip.
I would say that this was the trip of a lifetime, except that we plan to return. We hiked "hut to hut", or more accurately chalet to chalet. The routes were well planned, the scenery was incredible, the accommodations were great, the food was wonderful, the directions were meticulous, and I am running out of superlatives. We did the five-da(...)
Friend recommended & you seem to provide a competitive comprehensive service which suited our needs. We did 6 day high route hut to hut so spent night in angelo arrival & verena at end. very impressed with all staff & facilities.
I have previously done hut to hut trekking in the Dolomites and my wife has always been keen to do this. I looked at trying organise this myself but after looking at Collett's and they did everything but the walking it was an obvious choice.
First time we have travelled with Collett's and it won't be our last. Organisation was excellent fro(...)
My holiday was a Hut-to-Hut Walk in the Dolomites, to which I added some Via Ferratas. Having booked all my accommodation for the eight days, the pack of information you sent me was very comprehensive. Consequently, everything went like clockwork.
I wanted to amend my Hut-to-Hut itinerary slightly, to spend 2 days on Via Ferratas, and you w(...)
Many thanks for an excellent hut to hut holiday. The trip notes provided were thorough and it all went without a hitch but best of all are your chalet staff who were all extremely helpful and a credit to Collett's.
The trip itself was demanding but well worth it with some of the best scenery that I have ever seen.
No doubt I will holiday(...)
We had an excellent week of walking, despite unexpected snow in August! The route was well thought out and at a good level for our children (the youngest being nine). The scenery was stunning, the accommodation and food along the way were great. A fantastic week and one that we'd love to do again.
Collett's were one of the few that organizes short (3-4 days) self guided hikes in the Italian Dolomites (as far as we could find on the internet).
Value for money?: Yes, the planning of the routes, booking the rifugios and the information we got on arrival were well worth it.
I thought the three staff members I met in the reorder and during my hut to hut tour were absolutely first class, friendly helpful and I enjoyed meeting them as they happened to be doing some visiting of the rifugi. They were Beth, max and Alison.
They are also really loyal to Collett's and spoke so warmly of the company.
The so-called huts are 3* chalets with great food and each day begin with a chair lift to get right up close and personal with alpine fields of wild flowers and amazing rocks formations. This part of northern Italy was part of Austria before WWl which explains the Italian Tyrol which still looks, feels and sounds more like Austria. La Marmola(...)
Chris was very knowledgeable & thorough with the self guided routes &maps plus additional info such as bus times. He put all my concerns to rest.
The hut to Hut routes & plans were excellent. The hut to Hut tour was right in the area I wanted to explore & it was the perfect level for my first solo trek. Good support, but plenty of independ(...)
The professional image of the website determined our decision to go with Collett's for our holiday.
It would have been nice to receive the hard copy of the itinerary, guest handbook, maps and route prior to our departure for us to vet. We live in Australia, and were told on the 15th June that these would be posted to us, however, we had al(...)
We were a grownup family of 6, each person thought the hut to hut holiday was one of the best they had enjoyed. The "huts" were very welcoming and standards were high for that type of accommodation . Thank you.
The reception hosts at the Haus Valentin where outstanding friendly and informative with attention to detail, I was impressed that even though I was a late arrival and missed any talks, the Hut to Hut people made a clear point of seeking me out to chat about my routes starting the next morning.
When I return I would with out doubt look at s(...)
We were a grownup family of 6, each person thought the holiday was one of the best they had enjoyed. The "huts" were very welcoming and standards were high for that type of accommodation . Thank you.
Chalet was great.
We walked largely from hut to hut where the food was very good. The first night was in the Hotel Panorama where the food was excellent.
We spent in total 3 off 11 nights in the Chalet Angelo. We were a self guided group using an outline of a route supplied by Colletes. This worked very well. The routes were excellent and ju(...)
We were recommended you by friends who stayed with you last year. We chose Collett's because it offered assistance in booking the hut to hut walk and we liked the idea of getting help with planning our own itineraries for day walks. We also very much enjoyed the organized walks. Kelly was extremely helpful and friendly in going over our hut to(...)
We did the hut-to-hut tour and all the hotels and one hut we stayed in were excellent apart from the hotel in Ortisei which felt a little tired. Really well organised holiday and all the staff were really helpful. The hotel Panorama in Corvara was excellent.
2 years ago I was searching for a Dolomites wildflower guide and stumbled across you online. We had a few days open before a hut-to-hut hike starting from Bolzano, and I'd always wanted to try Via Ferrata. After those days in the Dolomites, my husband promised me we could return. So we did this year - and will again, I hope. And what price cou(...)