Best 5 walks in the Valle de Tena, Pyrenees
People often ask me which are my favourite walks in the Valle de Tena and with so many to choose from it’s not an easy question to answer. However I’ve put my thinking cap on and come with my 5 personal favourite hikes in the Valle de Tena. They are not necessarily the longest or hardest hikes in the valley but for me are the most varied and scenic walks. We hike all of these walks regularly on our guided and self guided walking holidays so if you like the look of them come along and join us in the Pyrenees.
1 : Punta del Pacino (1965m)
Not by any means the highest peak in the area but one that’s accessible to everybody and it’s location in the centre of the valley gives wonderful panoramic vistas over the entire valley from the cliffs of the Sierra de Partacua in the south to Pic du Midi d’Ossau in France.
Rather than heading straight up we know a great route that circles around the mountain giving new views around every corner and the vegetation really changes as you pass from the north facing slopes onto east and southern facing.
The wild flowers on route are superb with hundreds of orchids and gentians out during June and July. On the summit you are not only greeted by superb views but also by a group of swallowtail butterflies who are always fluttering about there.
2 : Pico Anayet (2545m)
The rocky pointy peak of Anayet is everybody’s idea of a classic mountain. The final section is a great scramble with the highlight being an airy section of chain that you use to traverse the cliff face.
The summit is initially hidden, a few hours into the walk it comes into view usually accompanied by comments such as ‘no Phil really which one are we going up’!
At the foot of the summit lie the Ibones de Anayet a wonderful set of mountain lakes surrounded by red peaks. Pico Anayet is actually an extinct volcano – the summit is the volcanic plug with the softer cone completely eroded away.
A wonderful hike that is guaranteed to get the heart pumping!
3 : Ibon de Piedrafita
A bubbling stream leads you towards the 700 metre high cliffs of the Sierra de Partacua. Here you find the lake of Ibon de Piedrafita nestled in a bowl with the cliffs towering above. It’s a wonderful spot and while we have lunch and take in the views we often see Egyptian vultures, griffon vultures, red kites and the occasional lammergeier or golden eagle – it’s nice of them to put on a display for us!
From the lake the route passes through beautiful meadows with great views across the valley. A gentle route but a lovely one and always a hit with our guests.
4 : Ibones de Arriel
A wonderful set of lakes surrounded by a rocky cirque containing the peaks of Arriel, Palas and Balaitous. At 2200 metres this is real high mountain terrain and is rocky and rugged. It’s a wonderful contrast to the start of the route in meadows and woods following the Rio Aguas Limpias (the ‘river of clean water’). There are 5 lakes dotted around and early in the season they still have icebergs floating around them (or are still completely iced over).
The highest lake makes a great lunch spot and the brave can take a quick dip – trust me it will be quick as the water is freezing even on the hottest days. It’s wonderfully refreshing though.
From the lakes a path contours around to Refugio Respomuso (where you can stop for a cheeky half) before following the famous GR11 back down the valley.
A steep long day but a great one with so views of dozens of peaks and great scenery throughout.
5 : Pico Tebarrai (2916m)
Time for your crampons! The highest summit on this list Tebberai can only be reached from Refugio Respomuso which we stay at on the Refugio Week. The Refugio is a great place to stay and has good dorms with en-suite bathrooms that even have hot water until 8pm!
There’s a couple of steep sections on the way to the summit and the snow can hang around until late July some years so you need to take crampons and ice-axes.
Not surprisingly the views from the summit are fantastic – you can see over to Ordesa and Monte Perdido, Vignemale and the marble summits of the Picos los Infiernos are directly in front of you.
From the peak you continue through the scarily named Cuello del Infierno (Col of Hell) and then a long descent past Ibones de Azules (blue lakes) to the Baños de Panticosa where you can enjoy a well earned beer!