In the last week of the summer holidays, we had a family hiking trip up to Refugio Goriz in the Ordesa National Park where we camped for the night.
Isabel and Christopher are only 9 and 6 so we cheated slightly and took the Ordesa 4×4 taxi up to Punta Acuta. From there, you can take a spectacular hike along the southern rim of the canyon round to Refugio Goriz. It’s a similar hike to the one we do on our Discover Ordesa holiday and it’s always one of the highlights of the itinerary.
Although it’s fairly flat it’s still a 12-kilometre hike around to the hut which is quite a way for little legs!
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The walk starts along an easy path with several ‘miradors’ (viewpoints) which give dizzying views to the valley floor nearly a kilometre below. There are great views of the Brecha de Roland, a dozen three thousand metre peaks and later on the famous Tres Serols of Cilindro, Monte Perdido and Pico Añisclo.
After the final viewpoint, the path gets quite narrow and airy as it skirts under the peak of Mondacieto. Here we had the kids tied on to us, as although it’s very easy, it’s a big drop to one side! You can see the refugio from quite a way away and as soon as it came into view there were incredulous moans from the kids – what, we’ve got to walk all the way over there!
Due to the covid restrictions this year, capacity at all the refugios has been drastically cut. As Goriz is normally fully booked when it has full capacity, they’ve set up a great scheme where you can rent a tent and two sleeping mats for 20€ and sleep outside. You can still book to have your evening meals and breakfast in the hut.
For Anna and I, who were carrying all the kid’s stuff, sleeping bags, etc, not having to carry tents, food and cooking equipment was a massive bonus and made the trip manageable.
We found a beautiful spot to camp a couple of hundred metres from the hut and it was a lovely sunny afternoon. As usual, the kids had arrived at the hut totally shattered but after 5 minutes sunbathing and resting they were full of energy again and started exploring and climbing on the limestone rocks around.
Refugio Goriz’s renovations are finally finished and you wouldn’t recognise it from the dark, cramped place it was previously. It’s now nice and spacious with proper loos and even hot showers! One thing that has stayed the same is the friendliness of the staff and the excellent food. You always eat well at Goriz and we had a starter of pasta with bacon, followed by chicken and vegetables with chocolate mousse for dessert. Anna is coeliac and as long as you let them know in advance they’ve no problem providing gluten-free meals.
Next morning we we’re up early and breakfasted in the refugio before packing up our tents and setting off. Our route today dropped us down into the Ordesa Valley and along the valley floor back to the Pradera where you catch the bus back to Torla.
There’s some narrow sections to get down into the valley, and the kids were tied on again despite Christopher insisting it wasn’t dangerous enough and wanting to down the chains!
We were down to the Cola de Caballo waterfall nice and early, before any of the day hikers had arrived. It was lovely to have this usually quite busy spot to ourselves.
Now it was just the easy but long hike down the main valley floor path. At around 13km from the hut back to the car park it was quite a long day for some tired legs. You pass by several beautiful waterfalls on the valley floor and the beech woods are simply lovely.
Although Isabel and Christopher described the path as never-ending we eventually reached the Pradera cafe and car park. Chocolate milkshakes and a pizza soon got the energy levels back up! Then it was the bus to Torla and with two very tired people in the back of the car we made the short drive back home.
Well done Isabel and Christopher – a great effort! A brilliant couple of days and a lovely adventure for the kids to spend the night camping up in the mountains. We do a few overnight trips into the mountains but this was the best yet – can’t wait for the next one.