Col des tents via Breche de Roland and Orlu National Park circuit


This is an excellent, but slightly difficult 3 day circuit walk in the high Pyrenees. It takes in the imposing Breche de Roland, stunning and desolate high mountain scenery and wonderful canyon scenery in the Orlu canyon in Spain.

Bird Watching
Scrambling or Climbing
Navigation Required

Getting there

The Col des Tentes car park is high up above Gavarnie. You can walk from Gavarnie if you want to extend your walking, otherwise park your car here. The walk finishes where it starts.


There are excellent French IGN maps for the French side of the mountains and an excellent map of Orlu gorge for the Spanish side

Route/Trail notes

You leave the Col des Tentes car park along the well trodden path, heading for the the breche de Roland, which is hard to miss. After a gentle start, the walk gets steeper and just before the breche it will probably be necessary to do some walking on ice, even in September, when I went. This is challenging for some. There is a refuge just before the Breche, if you are tired out already and want to stay here the night. In high season I imagine a reservation may be necessary. When you go through the Breche there are two options. go donw into the high plain and follow the signs for refuge de Goriz or stay high and go left following a very narrow trail which ends with a rope to hold on a near vertical section. This is a quicker, but more challenging route. Eventually you reach the refuge and stay the night. Bed and meal is about 30 euros from memory. The next day, continue following the trail that leads you down into the Orlu canyon. Part of this involves descending a near vertical section, using ropes to assist. At the bottom the walk becomes very easy, on agently sloping trail past cascades and waterfalls, in a mmore and more forested canyon. It is very beautiful. You reach the information centre and from here you can cheat and take the bus that goes to Torla and hop off at the roda junction to continue walking up the rio Ara in the valle de bujarello. You will reach camping Bujarello which I recommend as your overnight stop. Excellent bar, restaurant and sleeping. There is also an refuge further up the valley. The next day, continue up the valley following the signs for col des tentes. After crossing a beautiful old stone bridge you take trail up through Alpine pastures until you eventually reach your starting point. This is an excellent introduction to the Pyrenees. A must do.


Do you need any permits? What's the cost?

Other References

How can I find more info? Any guide books?

GPS Tracks

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