Pyrenees GR10 Stage 7 Trek: Mérens-les-Val to Vernet-les-Bains

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 7 Trek

  • Join a classic European long-distance trek

  • Trek from valleys to summits

  • Explore the high mountains of the Pyrenees

  • Cross 2000m+ cols

  • Discover the beautiful Bouillouses lake

  • Option to summit Pic Carlit (2921m)

Why Choose Cloud 9 Adventure

  • We are the GR10 experts

  • Outstanding fully-qualified guides

  • Authentic hotels, refuges and gîtes

  • Partial luggage support

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 7 Trek: Dates and Prices

AT A GLANCE

 

7 nights

6 days' trekking

Partial luggage delivery

Group size 4-10

 

Price: £1695

 

Join: Mérens-les-Val

 

End: Vernet-les-Bains

Nearest airports: Carcassonne, Perpignan, Toulouse

ACCOMMODATION

3 nights in hotels

2 nights in refuges

2 nights in gîtes

 

 

DIFFICULTY GRADING

8

Challenging

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 7 Trek: Overview

The GR10 is one of France's most well known 'Grand Routes'. It’s an 866km (538 mile) trek that traverses the whole of the Pyrenees, with 48,000m (157,000 ft) of ascent and equal descent. From the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean, this trekking route covers some of Europe’s most beautiful and wild scenery. This is Stage 7: Mérens-les-Vals to Vernet-les-Bains. This is where the real high mountains begin. Starting from the valley floor in Mérens-les-Vals, we'll trek up and across 2000m+ mountain passes and past beautiful, isolated lakes. Experience the remote and little-known natural reserves of Mantet and Py. We’ll visit untouched villages, staying in charming, local gites and getting away from it all on this remote section of the wider GR10 trek. Stage 7 is one of the most diverse stages of this coast-to-coast route and each day brings something completely different. From the high peak of Carlit (2921m) to hidden lakes via open meadows and olde-world villages, you’ll enjoy delicious Pyrenean food, wine and charming hospitality. 

 

What to expect

 

Cloud 9 gives this a moderate Grade 6 in terms of challenge level. It’s open to fit hill walkers with experience of multi-day hill walking trips. If you have any questions about this trip’s suitability for you, just get in touch.

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 7 Trek: Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival in Mérens-les-Vals

Your adventure starts in the charming village of Mérens-les-Vals, in France’s Ariege region. This pretty spot is located at the confluence of three valleys and is surrounded by high peaks and deep valleys. Arrive at the group hotel by around 18:30 to meet your guide for a trip briefing and an opportunity to check kit, weather and to run through the week's itinerary.

Accommodation: hotel, dinner not included

Luggage access: yes

Day 2 - Trek from Mérens-les-Vals to Refuge des Bésines

After an excellent hotel breakfast to set us on our way, it's time to begin Stage 7 of the GR10. As we head out of the village and straight onto the trail, this first day is as classic 'Pyrenees' as it gets! The distance is relatively short but the route is technical in sections and nearly all uphill, seeing us climb from deep valley rivers up to rocky mountain ridges, high above the village. We begin by following the Nabre valley as far as la Pésasse (1830m), before turning to the south west, where we'll climb up and past the Lac de l'Estagnas. From here, it's a solid climb up and over la Porteille des Bésines (2333m). Fortunately, tonight's refuge is all downhill from the top of this col through glaciated terrain. There’s an option to add on an extra loop along a ridge and up to l'Etang de Soula Couloumé (2324m), a gorgeous lake to visit in the afternoon sun, nestled in the shadow of Pic de l'Estagnas. An alternative path then takes us down to the refuge. 

 

Accommodation: mountain refuge, dinner included 

Luggage access: no

Distance: 10 km (6.2 miles) 

Ascent/ descent: +1250m (+4101ft) / -250m (-820ft)

Walking: approx 5-6 hrs

 

Day 3 - Trek from Refuge des Bésines to Les Bouillouses

Starting our day high in the Pyrenees, we'll begin by climbing and traversing a nearby col called the Coume d’Anyell or Col de la Coma d'd’Anyell (2490m). On a clear day, the views from here are fantastic and we'll be able to look ahead to where we are going in the coming days. After a pause for refreshments, a long downhill is a treat for tired lungs as we descend to the Lanoux lagoon (Etang du Lanoux), the largest lake in the French Pyrenees. Located at 2213m, the water has a definite glacial chill, even in midsummer. The big climb of the day is still to come as we begin our ascent to the summit of the impressive Pic Carlit (2921m). At nearly 3000m, the altitude will make hiking uphill that bit harder and we'll be sure to take the pace steadily. From the summit, we'll enjoy a beautiful view back to Lanoux lake, before making the final part of today's trek. It's downhill all the way to Bouillouses, our base for the night. If the group do not want to summit Carlit, or the weather is not in our favour, we have the option to take an alternative route avoiding the peak itself.

 

Accommodation: hotel, dinner included

Luggage access: yes

Distance: 17 km (10.5 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +650m (+2132ft) /  -1000m (-2460ft)
Walking: approx 6 hrs

 

Day 4 - Trek from Les Bouillouses to Planès

Our day starts with a mellow and beautiful walk around Lac de Bouillouses. It’s a paradise for walkers, especially those with an eye for photography - as the reflections of the morning light on the water are often breathtaking. Our route today is much lower, easier and mainly downhill. The trail is shadier as we pass through the forests of Barrès and Bolquère. The day's only uphill section is a short climb, which takes us over the Col de la Perche (1581m) and down to the village of Cabanasse. If the group are keen to add an extra loop, we can trek up to the Mont-Louis fort, a UNESCO site and France's highest fortress at 1600m. Tonight's accommodation is in a fantastic eco-gîte called the Orri des Planès. Here, we'll be welcomed with fantastic home-cooked food and a warm atmosphere, set in a lovingly restored gite. The perfect place to relax at the halfway point of our trek.

 

Accommodation: eco-gîte, dinner included

Luggage access: yes

Distance: 15 km / 9.3 miles

Ascent/ descent: +200m (+656ft) / -1500m (-22961ft)

Walking: approx 5.5 hrs 

Day 5 - Trek from Planès to Carança Refuge

A nutritious breakfast at our lovely gîte sets us on our way to the last three days of Stage 7 of the GR10. Today's trek begins with an easy ascent to the Pla de Cédeilles; open meadows surrounded by lush forest. From here, it's a mellow descent to the Refuge de l'Orry, where we'll take the time to pause, refuel and enjoy the peaceful setting. Energy levels restored, it's time to tackle today's big climb to the Col Mitja (2367m). This spectacular col marks the join between the Carança and Riberola valleys, and on a clear day offers us fantastic views of the rest of our route, as well as back to the iconic Carlit, where we started our journey. The trail from the col takes us downhill all the way to the Carança Refuge, a rustic and remote gem, hidden deep in the valley below the col.

 

Accommodation: mountain refuge, dinner included 

Luggage access: no

Distance: 13 km (8.1 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +1100m (+3609ft) / -800m (-2625ft)

Walking: approx 6.5 - 7 hrs

Day 6 -  Trek from Carança Refuge to Mantet

From the Refuge de Carança, our route passes through two natural reserves, Mantets and Py. Designated in 1984, these protected areas are recognised for their outstanding natural beauty, biodiversity and ecology and are a treat for the senses. Leaving the hut after a simple breakfast, we'll first pass the Pla de Bessibés, before climbing up to the Col del Pal (2295m) after around 4km. From here, we descend to the Carrefour d'Alemany and the Jasse d'Alemany (8km) before traversing to the villages of Mantet and Py, where we'll spend our penultimate night on the trail. We'll stay in the Auberge de Py, a boutique gîte, sleeping a maximum of 12 people and specialising in locally-sourced cuisine.

 

Accommodation: gîte, dinner included

Luggage access: yes

Distance: 11 km (6.8 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +550m (+1804ft) / -850m (-2789ft)
Walking: approx 5 hrs

Day 7 -  Trek from Mantet to Vernet-les-Bains

Today is the last day of Stage 7 of the GR10. It will take us right to the base of the magnificent Canigou mountain, which dominates the landscape and overlooks the town of Vernet-les-Bains. Nicknamed 'Fujiyama Canigou', this mountain's silhouette looks astonishingly similar to its Japanese twin peak. Our route takes us past the impressive Tour de Goa, which overlooks the town and is a medieval defence point, built as a signalling station to warn against impending attack. This section ends here so we'll descend right into the town of Vernet-les-Bains to spend the night, where we'll have the opportunity to enjoy its charming centre and the local spas that the town is famous for. (If the group as a whole is linking together stages 7 and 8 of the GR10, we will bypass the town and stay high in the hills, instead heading straight to the Refuge de Mariailles, which marks the starting point of our next and final section: Stage 8.) 

 

Accommodation: hotel, dinner included

Luggage access: yes

Distance: 13.5 km (8.4 miles)

Ascent/ descent: +550m (+1804ft) / -1400m (-4593ft)

Walking: approx 6 hours

Day 8 - Departure day

If today is our last day on the trail, we'll part ways after breakfast at our hotel in Vernet-les-Bains. Bus and train connections link back to nearby airports, you’ll be sent full details upon booking. If you would like to stay on in the region and relax and explore after our trek, please don't hesitate to ask - we're happy to make recommendations and help with accommodation and onward travel suggestions. 

Included

  • 7 nights' accommodation on twin-share or dormitory basis

  • All breakfasts

  • Evening meals on 6 nights (not provided on arrival day)

  • Fully qualified & experienced International Mountain Leader

  • Luggage delivery on most nights

Not Included

  • Lunches

  • Evening meal on 1 night

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Personal drinks & snacks

  • Luggage delivery on 2 nights

  • Tips

Pyrenees GR10 Stage 7 Trek: Book Online

The Park, Waresley, Sandy, Beds SG19 3BS

+44 208 144 8102     

© 2018 Cloud 9 Adventure

info@cloud9adventure.com

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