The Pyrenees Mountain Trail is one of the most well-known trails in Spain that runs from east to west (from the Mediterranean to the Cantabrian Sea). It serves as a natural border between France and Spain. A small country called Andorra is placed in the heart of these mountains. If you are looking for a new challenge, or following the traces of the history, or if you like architecture or gastronomy… the nymph Pyrene’s mountains will be waiting for you.
What to Know
The trail starts in Roses, a small town located on the eastern side of Spain off of the Medterrian Sea, on the northern end of the Gulf of Roses. Other versions of the trail start more to the north, in Llança. Girona (36 miles) or Barcelona (97 miles). These big cities have international airports that are close to Roses.
In general, the trail is rough, dirty, dusty and rocky with very technical sections in several occasions. Hiking is a must, not all days, but frequently, so bring your HAB shoes. There are three different zones along the route:
The first one is called the Eastern Pyrenees. They are hotter, with short, hard, continuous climbs and descents.
The Central Pyrenees are higher and colder. The climbs are longer (up to 20 miles) and steep (from 8% to 20% grade). The maximum height is reached in this section.
The last zone, called the Atlantic or Western Pyrenees, is a mixture of the previous – but much more wet than the first due to the presence of the Cantabrian Sea.
There are no shortage of spots to put down for the night. Wether it be a nice campsite or mountain shelters. Here are a list of towns on route that provide camping; Roses, Figueres, Besalú, Olot, Ripoll, Puigcerda, Cap De Rec, Sant Juliá de Loría, Llavorsí, Pont de suert, Castejón de Sos, Fiscal, Sabiñánigo, Castiello de Jaca, Echo, Ochagavía and Les Aldudes.
Please note, free camping is generally not allowed in Spain but with discretion and common sense you will be able to spent the night on your own in every place.
Late summer or first autumn is the best time to ride the trail. The weather is dry and you will have still enough hours of light. Summer is hot and strong electric storms will hit your bones every evening. In spring you will have to deal with the thaw and muddy conditions. In winter you will find high mountain conditions: cold rain in the lower zones, snow, low temperatures, wind on the higher zones, as well as closed trails and danger of avalanches in several places.
To get clean water is not a problem along the most of the trail, and the longest time you have to carry food between towns is for two days or so. Towns are scattered about the trail, or just off the trail.