Hike to Lac d'Estom, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Hautes Pyrénées!

Cauterets
Hike to Lac d'Estom,  ...

Need a change of scenery? Nothing like a hike to a mountain lake to decompress! Above Cauterets, in the heart of the Pyrenees National Park, the Lutour valley is an adventure playground popular with hikers. Here, the mountain landscapes are of breathtaking beauty, and the nugget that we discover perched at an altitude of 1804 meters, after some effort, is none other than the magnificent lake of Estom, one of the most beautiful of Hautes Pyrenees! Whether you are an experienced mountaineer, looking for a getaway in the middle of nature or a good time to spend with the family, here is a half-day hike not to be missed during your stay in the Pyrenees.


Estom Lake
Estom Lake

The route from La Fruitière to Lac d'Estom

The hike starts from the parking lot of La Fruitière, a charming little traditional inn in the Pyrenees which offers tasty local cuisine. About ten kilometers separate us from Lake Estom. The idea is to follow the path that runs along the Gave de Lutour, the common thread of this adventure towards the lake of glacial origin. Here, the mountain torrents are commonly called “gaves”.


Estom Lake
Estom Lake


Accessible to all, the first kilometers of the hike are on relatively flat ground. The wild landscapes of the green valley are revealed along the way, as well as the imposing reliefs dominated by the peaks of Labas (2946m) and Estom Soubiran (2829m) in the background. The trail climbs gently through pretty lawns dotted with flowers and undergrowth. Herds of cows and sheep invite themselves into this grandiose surrounding landscape, ringing their cowbells in the middle of lush vegetation. Horses and chamois live peacefully in this natural environment.

The good idea: Another hiking idea in the region? Follow us to Lac de Gaube! Unless you prefer Lac d'Estaing?


Estom Lake
Estom Lake


We follow the clear torrent that meanders through the valley. We discover several frothy waterfalls as the path progresses. The noise of the torrent resounds. Here and there small streams join the river. There is no shortage of heavenly picnic spots! We come across marmots, horses and birds of prey of all kinds. In short, all that nature has to offer.


Estom Lake
Estom Lake
Estom Lake


The trail is well marked all the way. At 1553 m, we cross the Pouey Caut footbridge to change banks and now climb with the Gave du Lutour on our left. The slope begins to steepen and rocks dot the path that runs along the high lawns of the Pouey Caut plateau. From here, the elevation and difficulty increase gradually. The calves will heat up, but the game is worth the candle!

The good idea: After the effort, the comfort, we take you to visit the thermal baths of Luz-Saint-Sauveur!


Estom Lake
Estom Lake
Estom Lake
Estom Lake

A spectacular arrival at Lac d'Estom

We always follow the torrent throughout the ascent. A waterfall falls with a loud crash. We cross a pine forest then the landscape emerges again. The path is magical, the panorama splendid! The path soon goes up groves of pines, in three successive steps marked by beautiful waterfalls. In the distance, we see the refuge of Estom. Arriving near the lake, we enter the Pyrenees National Park. Still a little effort before discovering the lake which culminates at an altitude of 1804 m!


Estom Lake


After the spectacle of the climb, the gaze finally rests in front of the green circus surrounding this magnificent mirror of turquoise water. The panorama of the Pyrenees chain rewards all the efforts made. The waters of Lake Estom are among the most transparent in the Pyrenees, you can see the bottom despite the 18 meters deep. What splendor! The less cautious hikers will try a swim in this little Eden, those who wish to enjoy the beauty of the place will go around the lake and be amazed! Note that it is possible to spend the night at the Refuge d'Estom provided you have booked in advance.

The good idea: Do you like sporting challenges? How about climbing the mythical Col du Tourmalet by bike?


Estom Lake
Estom Lake


A hike to extend at leisure...

To prolong the pleasure, there are a multitude of hiking trails from Lake Estom. The first suggestion is to continue the ascent along the Gave d'Estom Soubiran which feeds the lake. This will take you to Lac de Labas, Lac des Oulettes d'Estom Soubiran and Lac de Couy. Via the Col des Gentianes, seasoned hikers have the option of climbing up to Lac Glacé which is located on the path leading to the Pic d'Estom Soubiran.

It is also possible to reach the foot of the Vignemale glacier via the Col d'Arraillé. Along the way, a stop at the Oulettes de Gaube refuge is a must before climbing this mythical peak of the Pyrenees chain.


Estom Lake
Estom Lake


The descent from Lake Estom is done by the same path and allows you to enjoy the panoramic landscapes of the entire valley! This half-day walk (between 4 and 6 hours) is punctuated by waterfalls, meadows, rhododendron glades and unusual encounters with local fauna. Back in Cauterets, we would almost revel in a good stew from the Pyrenees after these hours of walking. After the effort, comfort!

Did you like this report? Discover others on the BLOG and by subscribing to the Facebook page of the Guide de Toulouse Pyrénées. We also have an Instagram page @guidetoulousepyrenees


Photos and Article written by Lesley Williamson for the Guide de Toulouse Pyrénées


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