PYRENEES GR10: Part 6, AULUS-LES-BAINS - MERENS
6 days walking/7 nights
Part 6 of a superb trek traversing the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Coasts
The high plateau of summer pastures
Ariege, its lakes and green valleys
The site of he Etang de Bassiès and its refuge
Varied itinerary : crest, forests and summer pastures
The wild beauty of the Ariege and its Regional Natural Park
A tried and tested logistics to comensate for the lack of accommodation on this section of the GR10
Let 's discover the full itinerary!
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at your accommodation in Aulus-les-Bains. Options to visit Aulus-les-Bains or go hiking:
Guzet lake and Ars Waterfall
A great loop walk from Aulus-les-Bains to a mountain lake and the superb waterfall, the Cascade d'Ars. 13km, 5hrs, +880m, -880m.
The waterfall of Ars
This is another option for a shorter loop walk: it will take you to the great "Cascade d'Ars" which gives Aulus-les-Bains spa resort, its reputation. 10.5km, 345hrs, +740m, -740m.
Day 2: Aulus - Bassies Refuge
From Aulus-les-Bains a walk towards the Port de Saleix (1794m altitude). The beauty of the mountain scenery is awesome, rural barns, fresh, bubbling mountain torrents, a rich Pyrenean flora and an old mine. From the Port of Saleix, you can admire the view towards the Auzat and Vicdessos valleys, then the Bassiès lakes, before reaching the refuge.
Overnight: Bassies Refuge, Walk: 11km, 5hrs 15m, +1250m, -350m.
Day 3: Bassies Refuge - Refuge Goulier
The GR10 goes along the magnificient Bassies lakes, and joins the lower part of the high Vicessos valley in the direction of Auzat, at the foot of Montcalm, the last summit of more than 3000m altitude heading towards the Mediterranean. Then a superb path leads you to Goulier, passing through Olbier, a pretty little mountain village in the Ariege Pyrenees.
Overnight: Refuge Goulier, Walk: 13km, 5hrs, +450m, -1000m.
Day 4: Goulier - Siguer
Starting from Goulier, the day's itinerary crosses many cols and passes through beautiful forests and mountain hamlets such as Lecroul and Siguer. The buit heritage in these places is of hidtoric importance: Romanesque churches, orris, barns or bordes. Near the villages, take the time to discover the remains of old cultivated terraces, with their low stone walls.
Overnight: Siguer, 11.5km, 4hrs 45m, +650m, -950m.
Day 5: Siguer - Pont de Coudenes
From Siguer and after a forest climb, you will reach the panoramic ridge of the Bede which leads to the summit of the Pla de Montcamp, a vast high plateau with a wonderful 360 degree view of the Ariege mountains. You'll then cross the wide open spaces of the Pla du Four, ideal for grazing animals as the Courtal Marti and Belledreyte huts testify. After crossing the Sirmont pass you'll descend to the Coudenes bridge. Transfer from Coudenes bridge to your accommodation in Tarascon sur Ariege.
Overnight: Tarascon sur Ariege, Walk: 14.5km, 7hrs, +1500m, -1200m.
Day 6: Plateau de Beille - Rulhe Refuge
In the morning, transfer to the plateau de Beille, famous for its nordic ski station adn for being on the itinerary for the Tour de France race. Ascent to the Rulhe refuge via the col des Finistres, Didorte, Belh and Terre Negre. A high mountai ambiance is guaranted !
Overnight: Rulhe Refuge, Walk: 14km, 5hrs 15m, +800m, -400m.
Day 7: Rulhe Refuge - Merens
Starting from the Rulhe refuge, the GR10 first crosses the Calmette pass, the skirts around the Etang Bleu, following the Lhasse ridge with beautiful views over the Rulhe massif. Then a descent leads over the Comte Lake. The path then descends along the Mourguillou stream before arriving in Merens.
Overnight: Merens, Walk: 12.5km, 5hrs 15m, +350m, -1450m.
Day 8: Departure
Holiday ends after breakfast.
At a glance
15 June - 30 September
7 nights / 6 or 7 days walking
Time: 4 - 7.5 hours per day
Ascent: 330-1500m per day
Hotels, gites & huts (4 nights in private rooms, 2 nights in dormitories)
Other walking holidays along the GR10 in French Alps
Other long distance treks in the mountains
GR 10 Trek
This self-guided walking holiday is the sixth part of a wonderful & dramatic 415km crossing of the Pyrenees Mountain chain between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean along the GR10 long distance trail. You'll amble through stunning scenery that varies enormously, with flower-filled meadows, sparkling lakes, cirques and high summits. You’ll get a taste of many different cultures, from the Basque country by the Atlantic to Catalonia by the Mediterranean. Each valley you pass through has its own distinct flavour.
This section of the GR10 long distance trail goes from Aulus les Bains to Merens, in Haute Ariege connecting the western and the central sections of the Pyrenees with the Ariege part of the mountain range. This region is known for its high plateau landscapes, deep valleys hemmed in by soaring summits, sometimes covered with a sprinkling of snow, and mountain lakes whose waters change in colour. In the evening, the Ariege gastronomy will get you back in shape for the next day. From Aulus, the guarded refuge of Bassies surrounded by lakes will satisfy your desires for wide open spaces. In the Vicdessos region, you'll discover ancient circular dry stone constructions called orris, which will allow you the pratice of pastoralism in the Auzat valley. After a mountain stage staying in the Rulhe refuge, part 6 of the GR10 reaches Merens, close to Capcir and Andorra.
7 nights/8 days: 6 or 7 days independent walking moving between accommodation
Everyday (subject to availability) from 15 June to 30 September
Walking Profile & Grade
6 or 7 days independent walking moving everyday between accommodation. It is graded strenuous because there are two days with well over 1000m of altitude gain, the longest day having +1500m of ascent. Average days include 6 hours hours walking and 850m of ascent & descent. Details are provided with the descriptions below. Paths are generally good and well defined, although they are often rocky and mountainous in character. You should have a good head for heights and be able to navigate.
This walking holiday is graded strenuous. See more information about walking grades.
Accommodation & Meals
- Half board
- 2 nights in room in guest house on day 1 and 4
- 2 night in room in gite on day 3 on 5
- 2 nights in shared dormitory in mountains refuges on day 2 and 6. Bring a sack sheet (blankets provided).
Where is this trek?
When to Travel
Our self-guided walking trail along part 6 of the GR10 long distance path is available from 15 June to 30 September. This 6th stage of the trek has the opportunity to reach summits above 3000m and so before 15 June there is a high risk of snow on the trail and some of the accommodation is not open. During the rest of June and early July there is a greater risk of encountering snow fields on the trail than later. The summer period is the driest in the central Pyrenees, however afternoon showers or storms are fairly common. From mid September night time temperatures tend to be fresher with a small risk of fresh snow at altitude. In terms of fellow walkers, the briskest period is from Mid July to mid August.
Navigation, Walking Notes & Maps
The vast majority of this walking holiday follows the GR10 (Grande Randonnee) long distance trail which is very well way-marked with red and white markings. Moreover, there are several signposts along the trail. The walking follows clear paths for its entire duration. Some small sections follow local or unmarked trails, for example to access accommodation or to access panoramic summits, but these are easy to follow. On this particular walking holiday we use the Cicerone guide books. As well as the walking notes we supply walking maps. You'll be provided with detailed 1:25,000 walking maps.
On this walking holiday you can choose to have your main luggage transferred between accommodation so you only have to carry a day rucksack with a picnic lunch (supplied by the guest houses and included in the holiday price), water and spare clothes, waterproofs, camera etc. On this holiday several local taxi companies are responsible for transporting your main luggage. Please limit the weight of your bags where possible to 15kg.
How to get to Aulus-les-Bains:
By air :
Airports :Toulouse-Blagnac airport.
By train :
TER trains from the main cities towards Boussens then bus from Boussens to St Girons. Then bus from Saint-Girons to Aulus.
Contact SNCF (www.ter-sncf.com) to confirm the timetable.
By car :
From Toulouse, 128km, autoroute via Saint Gaudens ; to Saint Martory, take Saint-Girons .
From Lyon 600km, rejoin Carcassonne, then direction Foix/Mirepoix ; from Foix, rejoin directly Saint-Girons, then Aulus les Bains.
From Marseille 466km.
From Montpellier 307km.
Free parking in Aulus-les-Bains : Camper van parking space, near the tourist office or in the village ; inform a member of staff at the office.
Depart from Merens:
TER train direction Toulouse (SNCF line La Tour de Carol – Toulouse), stops in Foix.
Travel to Aulus-les-Bains from Merens:
TER trains from Merens to Foix (SNCF line La Tour de Carol - Toulouse). Bus from Foix to Saint Girons and from Saint Girons to Aulus les Bains.
We recommend arriving by train to avoid returns to Luchon to recover your car, because the return journey is long by public transport and very expensive if you take a taxi. If you have to come by car, we recommend that you leave your car in Aulus les Bains on the first day and return by public transport because you will not be tired by a week's walking.
Informations SNCF: https://uk.voyages-sncf.com/en
Please contact us for assistance in organising your travel arrangements
7 nights / 6 or 7 days walking
- From €1015
- Without bag transfers: less €110 per booking
- All prices per person, based on 2 sharing a room, except where stated
- Please consult us about Single supplement prices
What's included in the price
- Half board accommodation
- Transfers days 5 and 6
- Luggage transport depending on the option chosen except 2 nights in refuge on days 2 and 6
- Dossier containing maps, route notes (1 for 4 persons, given in 1st accommodation)
- GPS tracks if you ask us + access to the detailed itinerary on the Mhikes GPS mobile application
What's not included in the price
- Travel to Aulus-les-Bains and return from Merens
- Lunches and drinks
- Holiday and travel insurance
- Showers in the mountain huts
- Additional transfers
- Entrance fees, additional activities
- Drinks and picnics
- A deposit payment of 30% or at least £250 or 250€ per person must be made to confirm your booking. The balance of payments is due 8 weeks before the holiday date. If the holiday date is less that 8 weeks away at the time of booking, then the full price should be paid.
Half board accommodation: 2 nights in room in guest house on days 1 and 4, 2 nights in room in gite on day 3 and 5, 2 nights in a shared dormitory in mountain refuges on days 2 and 6, (bring a sack sheet (blankets provided)) and 2 night in a shared dormitory in mountain refuge on day 3 and 6 (bring a sack sheet (blankets provided)). Breakfasts are continental breakfasts (tea, coffee, milk, butter, jam) and evening meals in gites are often based on local specialties. Picnics and drinks are not included.
Extra nights are possible at Aulus-les-Bains at the start of the trip and in Merens at the end of your walk.
This is part 6 of a long distance trek across the French Pyrenees. It is possible to do the walking stages either side of this part of the trek. Here are the links to other stages of the trek:
We also have a high level traverse close by in the Pyrenees National Park: Traversing the Pyrenees National Park
Please consult us for a price on any of the above options.
Tailor Made Trips
If you want to learn more about the region's culture through tailor-made activities and visits, check out those trips that include a few days in Occitanie. Contact us to add them to your hike.
Authentic trip to discover the Tarn: stunning walks, exquisite gastronomy and centuries of captivating history in Toulouse, Albi, Carcassonne and more.