Walking in Ariege - Explore the Pyrenees!

Discover the hidden gems & see magnificent wildlife

Guided walks:


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.


Multi day 2-3 days hiking

  • 3000m Peaks and refuge tour: Climb Pic Montcalm, Pic Estats and stay in a high mountain refuge
  • Chemin de la Liberté: Freedom Trail from Ussat les Bains to Andorra taken by local passeurs in WW2


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!


Day walks we can finish at a mountain restaurant to sample tasty local cuisine.


  • Cathar culture spouglas valley caves and castle trek (1 day)
  • Refuge de Rhule for lunch & climb a local 2000m peak (1 day)


Learn about the flora and fauna, history and culture with a qualified International Mountain Leader

Planning next years holiday?

Check out our trekking holidays on these Freedom trail treks following historic routes, mainly in Europe but elsewhere too... Why not join us in November in Jordan to follow in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia? Or cross from France to Spain or Andorra following WW2 escape routes like the famous Chemin de la Liberté in the summer? You can also do the shorter family Freedom Trail Experience in a long weekend. 

Another alternative locally is to tackle some 3000m peaks.




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,Winter on Pic Estebat

marmots, bearded vultures, golden eagles, foxes, deer and otters.

Make it 2 days and stay at the Refuge d'en Beys.








 Yoga Trekking

I love to relax alongside a mountain lake and do some restorative yoga. Let us know if you would like some recommendations :) 


Historic Walks

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.


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 campsWild camping

  • Overnight mountain atmosphere camp including tents, cooking facilities, food, night explore and star spotting. Night navigation/game optional.


Equipment: Hiking shoes, backpack, clothing suitable for hiking (wind, fleece), sunglasses,

sunscreen, hat, picnic, energy bars, head torch, sleeping bag, thin mat and water.

The Chemin de la Liberté - The Freedom Trail 4 - 4 day options

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. We have 4 available itineraries of varying difficulty trekking along the Chemin de la Liberté, the choice is yours. Transport can be organised and hut booking in addition to guiding. We welcome groups of 4+ people for this 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: 




We are able to accommodate you in 3* hotels or a comfortable Auberge with excellent food at the beginning and end of your trek and offer options including airport transfer for up to 25 people.

Sample itinerary to incorporate as part of your holiday


Day 1

Walk La Soumere - Aunac

A pleasant walk passing the Louis Barreau memorial to finish at the gite d'anes Aunac or alternatively Esbintz. (3.5 - 4.5 hrs)

Day 2

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. (8 hrs including lunch)

Day 3

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 into Pic de Lampau. +1500m of ascent. A chance for lake swimming at Estagnous! (7-9hrs)

Day 4

Estagnous refuge - Borde de Perosa

Leave Refuge de Estagnous at around 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. (7-8 hrs) We offer transport back to France from Spain with a dinner stop in Puigcerda.



These activities are now run with Freedom Trail Treks and you can contact anne@chezarran.com for more information.

If you would like to visit the Chemin de la Liberté museum as part of the programme we can offer a morning or afternoon visit at the beginning of your trip. www.freedomtrailtreks.com

Looking down from the col de craberous on the 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  +44 7951058053 or email anne@freedomtrailtreks.com or anne@chezarran.com 




TO BOOK: Indicate what you would like on your booking form & we will send the activity booking form.

Walkers doing your own thing?




We offer:

  • 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. We offer a self  GR10 guided itinerary for those who would like to do the GR10 ariege section here: https://freedomtrailtreks.com/

20140819_150655 s640arran1 _mg_7687 _mg_7723 _mg_7744 col de port_423_600 col de port_424_600 col de port_430_600 dent_orlu_001x_square DSC00276s600 arran fontargente_walk_006flower fontargente_walk_063 img_1794hay bail img_5049 img_5065 img_5076 img_5084 img_5146 img_5486 img_6331 P1010599s600Spa Treks Arran P1010615s600 Arran Mt Valier from refuge espugues P1010705s600 arran P1010721s600arran P1030846s600 arran view from Estagnous