Walking in Ariege - Explore the Pyrenees!
Discover the hidden gems & see magnificent wildlife
Hill walking, hiking, trekking - the options around Ussat les Bains for walking trips are endless! Choose relaxing day walks or challenging ridges, or opt to stay out on a hut-to-hut or night camp adventure. Take a picnic up to one of the nearby mountain lakes, perhaps take a swim or just relax by the shore. Why not include a Cathar castle to appreciate some of the regions fascinating culture and history? We cater for all fitness levels, tailoring trips to meet your expectations.
We have guided all ages and offer walks from 2 hours to full-day excursions. We can take you off the beaten track and explore on well marked paths or take a trip into more adventurous terrain - the choice is yours. Day ascents can range from just 150m to over 1000m - it's up to you!
On half-day walks we can finish at a mountain restaurant to sample tasty local cuisine.
- Enjoy stunning mountain views
- Learn about the flora and fauna, history and culture with a qualified International Mountain Leader
Peaks & Lakes days
Etang de Comte (1726m) + 300m. Walking time: 2hrs
Mont Fourcat (2001m) +750m. Walking time: 4hrs
Etang de Appy & Pic Saint Barthelemy (2368m)+1550 m Walking time: 6.5hrs
Pic Rouge de Bassiers & Cirque (2676m) + 1500m Walking time: 11hrs
Pic Estabet and Pic Journalade (1995m) +700m Walking time: 7hrs
Dent de Orlu (2222m) Walking time: 3hrs 30.
The Wildlife reserve of Orlu is a protected area, home to chamois,
marmots, bearded vultures, golden eagles, foxes, deer and otters.
Make it 2 days and stay at the Refuge d'en Beys.
|Group Size||Per Day|
|1 to 5||£150|
|Additional people up to 10||£20 / person extra|
|Group Size||Per Half Day|
|1 to 5||£80|
|Additional people up to 10||£15 / person extra|
Take a look back to the 11th Century & beyond
- Mountain Orris of Soulcem and Lake
- Cave entrances, Spouglas and cathar culture around Ornolac
- Cathar Castle Walks and meal: Roquefixade and Lordat
A great way to improve your fitness or just enjoy the views. We meet in the morning and head off for a relatively gentle day with little height gain and an emphasis on history, culture, fauna and flora. Camera essential.
|Group Size||Per Day|
|1 to 5||£150|
|Additional people up to 10||10€ / person extra|
*Family special offer 160 euros*
|Group Size||Per Half Day|
|1 to 5||£65 / 80€|
|Additional people up to 10||10€ / person extra
Equipment: Hiking shoes, Backpack, clothing suitable for hiking (wind, polar, waterproofs ...), Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Hat, Picnic, energy bars and water. Map and compass/GPS optional.
Overnight Mountain atmosphere camps
- Overnight mountain atmosphere camp including tents, cooking facilities, food, night explore and star spotting. Night navigation/game optional.
|Group Size||Per Night|
|1 to 3||£95 / 110€|
|4 to 8||15€ / person extra|
Equipment: Hiking shoes, backpack, clothing suitable for hiking (wind, fleece), sunglasses,
sunscreen, hat, picnic, energy bars, head torch, sleeping bag, thin mat and water.
For longer walking holidays and treks starting in 2012 drop us an email and we will send you a link.
The Chemin de la Liberté - The Freedom Trail
The great escape by night - see the Second World war escape route walk sections
The Chemin de la Liberté starts from the nearby town of Saint-Girons. During the Second World War more than 33,000 civilians and 6000 allied servicemen climbed over the peaks of the Pyrenees from France to escape Nazi occupation and regain their liberty in neutral Spain. The whole trail can be walked in 5 days staying in huts, or the walk can be shortened to 3 days starting higher up the trail. Parts of the trail also make really nice day walks and you can see or even climb the spectacular Mont Valier where one of the the crossings into Spain took place. For more information have a look at Scott Goodall's book "The Freedom Trail". We are happy to guide groups on this walk and organise the overnight camps as needed. This walk is in partnership with Ruth Jenkins of Gîte de la Borde, also an International Mountain Leader. We have 4 available itineraries of varying difficulty trekking along the Chemin de la Liberté, some finish in Spain and others just reach the boarder and return through France - the choice is yours. Transport can be organised and hut booking in addition to guiding offered. We welcome groups of 4+ people for his itinerary.
Spectacular scenery makes for an inspirational experience along this famous route including seeing the memorial to the Halifax pilot and his crew and wreckage of their bomber at a height of 2200m which crashed in July 1945. A sense of sadness is felt to see the gleaming metal of the plane 80km off it's intended course.
You can see some images from the route here on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chez-Arran/320358506480?fref=ts
Sample itinerary to incorporate as part of your holiday
Walk La Soumere - Aunac
A pleasant walk passing theLouis Barreau memorial to finish in a very special place. (3.5hrs)
Aunac - Subera wild camp
After breakfast we head up to the Col de Core by car and set off walking for the Subera hut (1499m) where you could see wild horses or cows cared for by the refuge guardian. (8hrs including lunch)
Subera refuge - Estagnous refuge
Next we move over to Espuges (2110m) refuge via the Col de Craberous (2382m) to stay in Refuge Estagnous (2245m) (8-9hrs). A challenging but exhilarating day. Highlights include spectacular scenery, wild horses and the crash site of an old Halifax bomber which sadly crashed intoPic de Lampau. A chance for lake swimming at Estagnous! (7-9hrs)
|Leave Refuge de Estagnous at 8am and walk via col de la Pal de Clauere to Borde de Pedrosa (6hrs) There is a short section of cableway on the ascent past Lac Long and Lac Rond. Continuing to Refuge de Fournet which takes another half an hour where we will have a drink and depart. (7-8hrs)|
These activities are now run with Spa Treks and Pyrenees Activ. http://www.spa-treks.com/chemin-de-la-liberte
Check out our blogspot above for pics from recent trips. If you are a group or a UK trekking company we are happy to put together a programme to suit you from 4 days to 1 week including all local transport. We do this through our UK travel company Spa Adventure Treks Ltd.
TO BOOK: Indicate what you would like on your booking form & we will send the activity booking form.
Walkers doing your own thing?
- Free use of our maps and walking guide books
- Free advice on your chosen route
- Drop offs and pick ups
FAQ's Ariege mountain walks
Are there any 3000m Pyrenees peaks in Ariege locally?
Yes Montcalm (3077m) is in the vicdessos valley within 35 minutes drive of Chez Arran in the Montcalm massif. There is also:
|Pic d'Estats||3143 m|
|Pic Verdaguer||3131 m|
|Pic du Port de Sullo||3072 m|
Are there any shops selling mountain walking equipment near Chez Arran?
Decathlon stocks walking poles, boots and other mountain gear and can be found just south of Foix. There are also some maps and guidebooks here and there is a guide to local hut walks in tourist information in French along with various small well illustrated themed walk mini books.
Where do I go to buy local walking maps and what is the scale?
Supermarkets, tourist information and Decathlon plus some bookshops in Tarascon and Foix. There are 1:50 000 maps readily available called 'Carte de Randonees' Haute Ariege. There are also the following 1:25,000 ING TOP 25 maps covering Ax les Thermes 2148 ET, Vicdessos valley 2148 OT Foix and Tarascon Sur Ariege 2147 ET.
What is available from Tarascon Sur Ariege Tourist information?
Some local walks, mini books but we have many on site here. Local event information, festivals, music, horse fairs, local producers events, exhibitions, opening times for sites.
Is there a section of the GR10 near here?
Yes the GR10 crosses the Pyrenees on the French side and the GR11 crosses it in Spain. The trails are often well marked and there is a section which can be accessed from the Vicdessos valley and finishes in Merens les Vals near Ax les Thermes.