The Pyrenees National Park
This is the favourite territory of Pyrenean chamois, marmots, desmans, bearded vultures, the universe of amazing landscapes, the well-diversified botany overhung by the Pic du Midi d’Ossau. Discover an outstanding natural space without gates, or fences… where animals are completely free!
Founded in 1967, the Pyrenees National Park is a unique territory, which is home to an exceptional natural heritage.
The Pyrenees National Park is divided into two areas:
• The heart area (45,705 hectares): it is almost uninhabited and is highly protected. It boasts the most spectacular landscapes: the Pic du Midi d’Ossau, the Néouvielle, the Gavarnie cirque…
• The membership area (206,352 hectares): it is a kind of “pre-park” on the edge of the central area. It is made up of 86 towns and 40,000 inhabitants.
The missions of the Pyrenees National Park :
• Preserve the biodiversity, the landscapes and the sites.
• Welcome the public so that it can take advantage of this heritage while respecting it.
• Reconcile environmental conservation and economic activities.
• Contribute to the sustainable development of the valleys.
In the heart of the Pyrenees National Park and the Ossau Valley, discover a mythical hike: the Orteig passage and the Arrémoulit Lake!
The Ayous Lakes
The Ayous Lakes are a must-see site of the upper Ossau Valley, offering hikers spectacular mountain scenery.
Located outside the Pyrenees National Park up to the Ayous Refuge, the lakes are home to a rich wildlife, including Pyrenean chamois, marmots and large birds of prey. Frequented by herders and their livestock during the summer months, this itinerary will delight nature lovers.
Starting from Bious Artigues car park, plan a 5 1/2-hour hike to walk around the lakes, in one or two days (staying overnight at the Ayous Refuge).
You could also simply hike up to the refuge in two and a half hours.
A walk in the heart of the Ossau Massif, in the Bearnese Pyrenees!
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The tour of the Pic du Midi d'Ossau
The tour of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau is a classic Pyrenean hike that will delight all lovers of wide open spaces.
In the heart of the Pyrenees National Park, observe the area’s fauna, including Pyrenean chamois and marmots, and admire the geology of the volcanic massif.
A hike for experienced mountaineers.
Seasoned hikers should plan on a 7-hour hike, setting off from the famous Bious Artigues Lake, to discover in all its immensity this iconic peak of the Ossau Valley.
Hikers can choose between two itineraries: starting from either the Pombie Refuge or the Bious Artigues Lake, each providing different views of the mountains.
With a difference in height of over 900 metres, this hike is usually completed in two days, spending the night at the Pombie Refuge, located midway.
A challenging hike up and around the most famous Pyrenean peak !
The Arrémoulit refuge and lake (2305 m) are situated in the heart of a glacial cirque formed by the walls of the highest peaks of the Ossau Valley (Palas 2974 m, Arriel 2 824 m). Its access without technical difficulty, allows hikers to approach the mineral world of high mountains and its mountain lakes.
Duration 6:00 – Difference in height 1000 m
Pombie / Anéou
With its small lake surrounded by large rocks, the Pombie refuge is the starting point for all ascents at the Pic du Midi d’Ossau. To get to it, you have two possibilities:
• by the Anéou cirque, 1 km before the border (Pourtalet) - Duration 3:00 – Difference in height 330m
• by Soques 5 km before the border (Pourtalet) - Duration 5:00 – Difference in height 720 m
Aule: the Aule Lake
The ascent of the Aule valley takes place in a pastoral atmosphere. Here, shepherds and ewes occupy these vast pastures. The diversity of landscapes makes possible to forget the journey that is sometimes a bit tough. It seems that, from this viewpoint, the Pic du Midi d'Ossau (pictured cons) is even more majestic as it overlooks the panorama over the eastern peaks.
Walk of the 3 villages
This pretty walk makes possible to discover, while gaining height, some typical villages of the Ossau Valley. Former paths that linked them are still paved in places, the slate roof houses that are grouped together around the church offer beautiful gates of carved marble.
Departure: Béost, fountain square, in front of the town hall – Duration 2:00 – Difference in height 300 m
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