The HRP high-level trail
There are three main trekking routes across the Pyrenees from coast to coast: of these, the Pyrenean Haute Route (or HRP for Haute Route Pyrénéenne) is the most challenging – and arguably, the most spectacular. Unlike the GR10 and GR11, it is not waymarked and borders on mountaineering at times, sticking as closely as possible to the main ridge. It stretches 750km from the Atlantic resort of Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean, crossing the French-Spanish border many times on its traverse. The hike calls for experience, navigational competence and self-reliance, but offers rich rewards as you pass through some of the most stunning landscapes the region has to offer.
This guide presents the Pyrenean Haute Route in 44 day stages, which are divided between five sections: since each section starts and finishes at a location accessible by public transport, they can be walked individually if you don’t have a spare month-and-a-half for a complete thru-hike. Although the route offers excellent opportunities for wild camping, each stage finishes at a mountain hut or village, meaning that you can sleep under a roof every night if you prefer. Clear route description is accompanied by 1:100,000 mapping. There are bad weather variants and alternatives to avoid the most technical sections, and the guide also includes optional ascents of 10 classic summits, including Vignemale, Pic du Taillon and the highest peak in the Pyrenees, Pico de Aneto. You’ll also find helpful advice on travel to and from the route, equipment and safety.
From the rolling green foothills of the Basque Country to High Pyrenean landscapes of aquamarine lakes nestled among 3000m peaks, the scenery is as varied as it is beautiful. Highlights include the karst terrain of Pic d’Anie, the Ossoue glacier, Lac de Mar in the picturesque Val d’Aran and the dramatic Cirque de Gavarnie with its towering cascade.