View of Cirque from Bar adjacent to X country ski centre

Link to detailed route page and map click on route title 


  • Distance 8 km
  • Time 2 h 5 min
  • Speed 4 km/h
  • Min altitude 1396 m
  • Peak 1711 m
  • Climb 616 m
  • Descent 507 m
February 25, 2017
A must for this holiday was a hike round the Cirque Gavarine area. Initially we had thought of going up to the Refuge Espuguettes (unmanned). However I have a slightly inflamed knee from our walk last week on the Tour Val d’Azun which can be aggravated by steep downhill sections. So on reflection we decided for a gentle pottery day just around the approach to the Cirque where the XC trails are. We did this last year on a bitterly cold day when we could not see anything and needed to buy extra thermals!

Today could not have been more different, there was no wind, a beautiful blue sky and much less snow! We started from opposite the tourist office carrying our snowshoes and shortly (after a km) decided we probably wouldn’t need them so Mike ‘ran’ back to the car whilst I window shopped for souvenirs (found a mug) and looked for a cafe (none open).

Walk started proper and we soon decided that we were up for a decent walk rather than a ‘stroll’. A signpost to Bellevue Plateau miraculously appeared and we decided to take it up the side of the valley. Lovely trail zig zag up through the woods crossing streams with beautiful views of the Cirque. Reached the Plateau and found a rock for our lunch spot. No one else around which was perfect, as were the views.

Continued on the trail along the Bellevue Plateau (very aptly named), from which we could see the Refuge on the other side of the Valley, past the Cabane de Pouey Aspe before descending back down to Gavarnie. Glad we did not come up this way as I think it would have been much hotter and was a less interesting route up via lots of small switchbacks.

Decided to head straight back to the Chalet we had booked into in Barages for the week as tea and cake were on offer. Looking forward to a week of great cooking. The other good news for the day was that my knee coped really well.

Screenshow of our photos from our hike