The 10 best hikes to do in Ariège

Mazères
The 10 best hikes to  ...

Do you want to hike with your family in Ariège? Are you looking for beautiful hikes, easy, near Toulouse or near the Ariège lakes? This region offers you many possibilities. It is crossed by the Chemins de Grandes Randonnées. You will climb mountain trails there. The Ariège Pyrenees Natural Park protects its fauna and flora, and offers a preserved setting, conducive to nature observation. We have selected for you the 10 best hiking routes to discover Ariège.


Photos of the article Guide Toulouse Pyrénées unless otherwise stated

Opening photo © Cottevieille | Adobe Stock


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1) The GR10

The GR are hiking stars! The long-distance paths mark out the old Ways of Santiago de Compostela. The GR 10 is an exceptional route. It allows you to cross the Pyrenees, over 1100 kilometers only in Ariège, from Mazères to Hospitalet-prés-l'Andorre. It offers you panoramic views of the Pyrenees mountains of great beauty, in particular the Pic du Midi de Bigorre or the Pic de Bacanère. You will go through many passes, sometimes exceeding 2000 meters in altitude! You can take refreshing breaks on the banks of high altitude lakes. It is also dotted with picturesque villages, with a very interesting local heritage.


The good idea Follow a hike in the region Le Tour du Pays d'Olmes sud (fr).


Photo © Yvann K | Adobe Stock

2) The Petrifying Waterfalls of Roquefort-les-Cascades

The Petrifying Waterfalls of Roquefort-les-Cascades are wonders of nature. They are located in the heart of the forests of Ariège, in the eastern part of the Massif du Plantaurel. A well-marked circuit takes you from the village of Roquefort-les-Cascades to the mountain. It's a short ride, less than a mile, on an easy trail. It borders the river and the walk is really lovely. It is ideal for a family outing.


Learn more? The petrifying waterfalls of Roquefort-les-Cascades.


Photo © Yannick | Adobe Stock

Photo © Yannick | Adobe Stock

3) The theme trail of the hills of Camon

The Camon theme trail allows you to take a little height to admire this "most beautiful village in France" and to go around it. You start from the village of Camon and you will make a loop on the hills. This short hike of nearly 4 kilometers, for about an hour's walk, is very easy, with slight elevation changes. At the start, stroll through the alleys to admire the medieval monuments of Camon. Then take the Grande Rue to start the route. You will enjoy the view of the surrounding vineyards . A guided tour of the Tourist Office lets you discover the 120 dry stone huts, traditional to the wine-growing heritage of the region.


Learn more? Camon, fortified medieval village in the heart of Cathar Country.


The good idea Find this hike by clicking on Le Tour de Camon (fr).


Camon - Photo @ Lesley Williamson

Photo @ Lesley Williamson

4) High altitude hikes in green resorts

In summer, the ski areas are transformed into green resorts. These are privileged sites for family hikes in the forest or sporty ascents of mountain passes.

  • The Monts d'Olmes resort in Pays d'Olmes is equipped with the Sources chairlift, which operates in the summer. You have direct access to many altitude hikes. The tour of the Étangs de Fagebelle forms an easy loop, accessible to families.
  • The Beille plateau offers original and fun activities: Nordic walking, mountain biking, horseback riding, canirando, canikart, bivouacs, discovery of pastoralism with tastings of local products...
  • The spa town of Aulus-les-Bains is a great place to stroll through the heart of the forest, criss-crossed by charming rivers.

However, be careful, hiking at altitude can be dangerous, especially during periods when the weather is unstable. The Ariège Pyrénées tourist office references different itineraries according to themes or tourist points of interest. Guides are there to help you select the routes adapted to your level, to advise you and to accompany you.


The good idea A great idea for a hike: Le Tour du Pays d'Olmes Nord (fr).


Learn more? You visit Ariège out of season, read our article What to do in Ariège in winter?

Photo © Filip | Adobe Stock

Photo © Filip | Adobe Stock

5) Montségur and the Cathar Bonshommes Trail

Montsegur is part of the Pays d'Olmes. The Château de Montségur and its Cathar past have made the town sadly famous. Walkers will enjoy taking the mountain path that leads to the castle. However, it is inaccessible from December to February. Once at the top, you can relax during the guided tour and enjoy the sumptuous landscape. More adventurous hikers will face the Col de Montségur and the Montagne de la Frau.


Learn more? Holidays in Cathar Country, heading to Ariège with the family!


The good idea The Cathar and Bonshommes Trail (fr) or The Pog de Monségur Tour (fr).


Photo © Yad177 | Adobe Stock

Photo © Yad177 | Adobe Stock

6) The Regional Nature Reserve of Saint-Barthélemy

Many trails criss-cross the Regional Nature Reserve of the Massif Saint-Barthélemy. It revolves around its mountain peak. You can observe the typical flora and fauna of the Ariège Pyrenees, such as Droseras or Vandelli's Androsace. Departing from Montferrier, the hike takes you to the heart of the Massif de Tabe. The Pic du Soularac culminates there at more than 2300 meters and it is a major objective! It is aimed at experienced hikers. Count 7 hours of walking, to cover its 15 kilometers, with steep gradients.


The good idea The hike to Le Pic Saint Barthélemy (fr).


Photo © Aterrom | Adobe Stock

Photo © Aterrom | Adobe Stock

7) the waterfalls of the Prayols forest

The Cascades de la Piche are the main points of interest on this 7 kilometer hiking loop . If it can be a bit long for small legs, it is nevertheless suitable for families because the course is without difficulty and with a slight drop. You leave from Prayols, on the way to the three waterfalls, and you walk through its forest area, integrated into the Regional Natural Park of the Ariège Pyrenees.


Learn more? Details of the route on the tourist office website.


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8) The Devil's Bridge

Starting from the town of Thuyets, a 6-kilometre hiking loop takes you on a path steeped in legend. Allow 3 hours of walking to reach this mysterious bridge. Legend has it that the Devil's Bridge was built by monks from Gellone. But each night the devil inexorably destroyed the bridge. Guilhem would then have accepted a pact with the devil, disguised as a man, to build a stronger bridge...


Learn more? The Devil's Bridge, a legendary place to discover in Ariège.


Devil's Bridge - Photo @ Lesley Williamson

Photo @ Lesley Williamson

9) Lake Bethmale, in Couserans

This hike makes you discover the magnificent Couserans Valley, which is part of the Regional Natural Park of the Ariège Pyrenees. It starts in Ayet and continues in the town of Saint-Lizier, over 10 km of trail. Bethmale Lake is a calm and peaceful fishing spot. You can relax on the banks and listen to the chirping of birds.


Learn more? Lake Bethmale in the Couserans, paradise for walkers and fishermen.


Betmale Lake - Photo @ Lesley Williamson

Photo @ Lesley Williamson

10) The Ariège vineyards

The Ariège wine region is made up of hills and valleys, where it is very pleasant to walk. You will find many trails and marked hikes there. It is also an opportunity to discover the Ariège viticulture, its traditions and its ancestral know-how. Discover the Domaine de Lastronques vineyard in the Lèze Valley.

Follow the Chemin des Vignes, a 9 km hiking circuit to discover the wine-growing landscapes of the region.


Learn more? The vineyards to discover around Toulouse.


The good idea Find many other hiking routes in Ariège in our guide.


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You are now ready to explore the Ariège paths. We wish you beautiful walks in Ariège.


Did you like this report? Find more on the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide Blog. We are on social networks, find the Facebook page of the Guide Toulouse Pyrénées and the Instagram account @guidetoulousepyrenees


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