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Trekking in Andorra from Arinsal  

The GRP and GR11 that pass by Arinsal, Andorra
Map of the Arinsal regionwith the GR and the GRP as well as the nearby mountain huts
Trekking in Andorra
Although Andorra is a paradise for walking and trekking, it is difficult to find any written information on the subject.  The Andorran Government publishes almost nothing and there aren't many good books on the subject.

Arinsal is located in the heart of Andorra's trekking paradise:  at the foot of the Coma Pedrosa (2'942m) and the Pic de Médécourbe (2'914m), surrounded by mountain huts (one which is guarded during the summer) and 6 mountain lakes.

There are numerous treks to do in Andorra.  Here are just a few examples of treks that you can start from your holiday chalet or apartment without having to take the car.  There are also a few where taking the car for a short drive is necessary. These mountain walks are not difficult and the trails are very well marked. 

Parc Natrual Coma Pedrosa
The park starts at the edge of the village of Arinsal.

The Coma Pedrosa Natural Park
When it comes to flora and fauna, the valleys in the Coma Pedrosa park are considered to be in the most natural part of Andorra. It is a park which boasts exceptional nature and is well preserved. One can make many treks in the valleys and one also finds the only kept mountain hut in Andorra (2h20 from Arinsal, climb: 692 m). The two other huts are not kept but are open all the year and are free. The objective of the park which is entirely in the parish of la Massana, is to preserve the ecological wealth of the flora and typical fauna all whilst upkeeping the traditional activities of the area. The park is located in the Western part of the Principality and surrounds the peak of Coma Pedrosa, the highest mountain of the country (2' 942m, 4h30 from Arinsal, climb: 1'370m!). The principal interest of the park is the diversity of the mountain ecosystems. One can find a great quantity of animals and endemic flowers of the area. In spite of his reduced size, one can find 77% of the species of Andorran fauna and 48% of the flora even though the park only covers 4% of the country. Human acitivity, such as the farming, hunting, fishing, the gathering of mushrooms or plants in the park is strictly controlled.

Information on all of the mountain huts in Andorra can be found here
The following hikes have been classified as follows:

Walk:       For those that are adventuring themselves into the mountains for the first time.  Virtually no uphill involved.
Easy:        Family hike.  Some steepish bits but nothing nasty.
Medium:  Proper mountain hike.
Difficult:   Mountain hike with some exposed sections but where special equipment (ropes etc) is not necessary.

The indicated times serve as an indication only.  They do NOT include the time it takes to walk back down which usually is about half the time it takes to wlk up.
Note:  the level of difficulty does NOT include the length of the hike nor the altitude!  In other words, you can find a medium hike that only takes an hour or so do do. All hikes are on marked trails.

Treks from Arinsal (1'500m)
Pic de Sanfons (2'888m, 4h45, climb 1'310m, medium until the hut, difficult on the ridge)
View on the Coma Pedrosa, the valley of Tor, the lakes of Baiau in Spain as well as on the Pallars mountains. Mountain hut and lake on the way.
Pic de Médécourbe (2''914m, 4h30, climb 1'335m, medium until the hut increasing to difficult on the ridge)
A classic!  Mountain hut half-way up, lakes and a breathtaking view over the valley of Arinsal, Boet and Vicdessos (France).
Pic de Coma Pedrosa (2'942m, 4h30, climb 1'370m, medium until the lake, difficult on the ridge).
The highest mountain in Andorra.  Mountain hut half way up, lakes.  Beautiful view of the surrounding summits, the valley of Arinsal and to the West, the Maladeta and Ecantats massifs.
Montmantell lakes and the Pic del Pla de l'Estany (2'859m, 4h20, climb 1'280m, medium)
Mountain hut half-way up, lakes, magnificient view over the Ariège mountains in France and over Andorra
Arinsal - Percanela - les Fonts - Pla de l'Estany - Arinsal circuit (2'055m, 4h30, climb 670m, medium)
2 mountain huts.  Very pleasant circuit which one can do either way.  Lovely views of the Coma Pedrosa via the imposing natural amphitheatre of Les Fonts.  A few bordas (farm houses) on the way, some renovated, some in ruins.
Camí del coll de les Cases (1'950m, 1h40, climb 490m, medium)
Panoramic view over the Ordino mountains and la Massana.  Ideal picnic and meditation site.  One can continue along the GR11 to Arans but transport back to Arinsal must be provided.

The Pla de l'Estany hut in Andorra
Pla de l'Estany hut, Arinsal
(J. Canut hut) 2'080m

Other treks in the surrounding area but for which you need to take your car
Erts - Roc de la Cauba (1'850m, 1h40, climb 500m, medium, 5 min. by car from Arinsal)
Huge limestone rock without vegetation which offers a wonderful view over la Massana and its surrounding villages.  Take care when near the summit, especially if you decide to go with children.
The Casamanya  (2'740m, 2h30, climb 760m, medium, 20 min buy car from Arinsal)
What can one say about this monster which is planted right in the middle of Andorra except... what a superb hike!  Vultures can be seen on most days, drawing circles around the summit.
The Tristaina lakes (2'500m, 30 min to the first lake, climb: 110m, easy, tour of the lakes: 2h40, climb 280m: medium, 30 min by car from Arinsal)
Beautiful surroundings but a bit crowded as the lakes are quite close to the road.
The Bony de les Neres (2'221m, 0h45, climb 231m, easy, 20 min by car from Arinsal)
Pretty hike offering a great view over Encamp. Take a picnic, install yourself in the large field near the top and enjoy your holiday. 
Rialb mountain hut, Port de Siguer - Estany Blau (2'395m, climb 615m, easy until the hut, medium thereafter, 20 min by car from Arinsal)
Magnificent unknown valley with an impressive flora in spring.  This is a wonderful family walk until the mountain hut.  What's more, permanent BBQ's have been installed along the way!
Bordes de les Pardines to the Engolasters lake (family walk, climb 179m, 20 min by car from Arinsal)
An easy stroll along the mountain side ending at the lake of Engolasters and.. a restaurant.  You can then walk along the "Camí de les Fonts" to a nice picnic area via a mirador.
Ansalonga to el Serrat (walk)... coming soon
Incles valley and the Juclar lakes (family 1 hour walk up to the campsite then medium up to the lake and the mountain hut 2'310 m).  The Incles valley is one of the most beautiful in Andorra with an incredible flora in Spring. 

The information on these pages was taken from a brilliant little book called Pyrenées Andorranes, guide des promenades et excursions dans les montagnes d'Andorre, éditions Kill, 1989 and 30 interesting itineraries on the paths of the parishes of Ordino and La Massana, edited by the comunes of La Massana and of Ordino and which you can by for 3,00 E at the tourist office.  The purpose of these page is not to plagiarise but rather to make you buy the booklet!

Note: DO NOT USE THE MAPS ON THESE PAGES FOR YOUR HIKES! They are only meant to complement the descriptions for each excursion.

GR: Grande Randonnée (Long Trek)  Trails that cross the Pyrenees mountains from the Med to the Atlantic.
GRP: Grande Randonnée Pays (Long National Trek).  Trail that allows you to walk around Andorra
CWM:  "cirque" (circus, corrie, amphitheatre)  large natural amphitheatre marking the end of a valley.

Notice that often the altitude and direction are mentioned.  We strongly recommend taking an altimeter and a compass along.  They are not expensive items and can be a godsend on foggy days!

For more information on the mountain huts, what's in them and what's not as well as a few tips, click here.

Maps, books and info on trekking in Andorra....

The only bookstore that sells info on trekking in Andorra is in Escaldes:

Libreria Antiquària Caballé
Cultura Excursionista
Ave Fiter i Rossell nº 31
Principality of Andorra
Tel/Fax: +376 829 454

From Arinsal, drive towards Andorra la Vella, pass La Massana and the tunnels.  The little bookstore is on the left hand side at the round-about in Escaldes, just after the turn-off to the hospital.  If you drive to Caldea, you'll drive past the bookstore.  A visit is well worth it, there are quite a few limited editions as well as trekking info in Europe and Asia.


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