The second stage of Pass'Aran, from the shelter of Estagnous to Maison du Valier, is the most atypical of all. It is practically all downhill unless you undertake the ascent in the first hour to Mont Valier, 2,838m high. For those who suffer in the descents is not good news, but those who enjoy the landscape you will discover the low mountain, with forests of beech and hazelnut trees covered with moss and a beautiful old glacier at the beginning of the stage.
Pass'Aran Stage 2
The second stage of the Pass'Aran is a of the simplest to be mostly down. Luckily the road is in good condition, which makes the legs do not suffer too much. In addition, the road has abrupt landscape changes which makes it not only beautiful but also very entertaining.
The route begins when they prepare breakfast at the Estagnous Refuge, between 7 and 8 in the morning, perfect for both the rush Mont Valier or begin the descent towards Maison du Valier. If you decide to do the classic route it starts behind the shelter by a trail with yellow marks, a path that climbs a slope to the pass of the Col de Pecouch, at 2,462m high.
Stage 2 Pass'Aran - Estagnous Shelter
The beginning of the stage is a slightly steep climb, but then easily forgotten when you see the long descent that is shortly after. From the passage of Col de Pecouch to the Etang de Milouga there's a rocky ground that could have been an ancient glacier and that shouldn't take more than an hour. In this section there are points where you can find artificial props, especially near the lake, since there the descent is much more vertical.
Stage 2 Pass'Aran - Etang de Milouga
Once in the Etang de Milouga you can see in the background the Etang de Araueeh, one of the best views of the entire route. A lake in front of another and glued to them tops of more than 2,500m. Here sometimes the fog comes in creating an atmosphere worthy of Tolkien's unanovela.
Pass'Aran Stage 2
Once the lakes are left behind, a slight ascent begins and a practically flat path over green meadows. On the left you can see a strong torrent created by the drain of the lakes and several waterfalls. Shortly after you reach the Cabane du Taus, a small shelter in case the thing got ugly.
Stage 2 Pass'Aran - Cabane du Taus
At this point the French Pyrenees begins to show all its beauty. A dazzling green, a sea of clouds and several ridges defying the sky. At the bottom, the noise of several waterfalls and the air hitting the ferns and the plants that inhabit this little paradise.
After the cabin you reach a detour where you have to take the path on the left, going down a long zigzag and that goes down to the shelter. Here you leave the yellow indication of the road to return to take the red and white signaling of the GR 10 of the Pass'Aran crossing.
Stage 2 Pass'Aran
In the descent you can see the spectacular left at the bottom Muscadet waterfall. It is perhaps at this point of the crossing where you can see the drastic changes in the landscape that pass from areas covered by hazelnuts, pines and ferns to enter a beech forest deigned a scene of elves of the Lord of the Rings. In this part of the crossing the rocks are covered with moss and the vegetation seems to be taken from a jungle in Costa Rica, it is simply like living a dream, it is really spectacular.
Stage 2 Pass'Aran
Once down you reach an imposing waterfall and the route begins to go parallel to the river to the refuge. This entire section is under the protection of the forest, usually in shadow, but with the thought of being inside a fairytale landscape.
You can stop and enjoy the waterfalls or waterfalls. This part of the Pyrenees is so wet, that you feel wet all the time. If it has rained this section is usually full of mud and it is easy to slip, so you have to be very careful not to fall.
Stage 2 - Waterfall in Pass'Aran
This section is straight to theMaison du Valier, at 950m high, and there are several panoramas to take good pictures. Sometimes the forest opens and it is possible to see the occasional waterfall of several stories high.
Shortly after you reach the refuge, which you will find next to the river, on the left bank. To access it they have enabled several small bridges from the left bank. This refuge is not only excellent, but modern. I would say that it is rather a hotel and a restaurant, since it can be accessed by car.
Distance: 12.3 km
Approximate duration (i / v) : 3 hours
Maximum altitude: 2,838m
With a long descent a small climb comes nothing wrong. The Mont Valier is the highest point of all Pass'Aran, so it is very common to undertake an ascent to its top and see all the lakes that surround it unless the sea of clouds prevents it.
With how beautiful the crossing is down the road marked by the yellow beacon, the logical thing is to ignore this option unless you have climbed Mont Valier and exhausted fences. The official map marks this route with a red and white dotted line. Few people usually do this section, except that you only come to this refuge to climb Mont Valier.
These are our recommendations of the second stage of the Pass'Aran circular crossing:
Maison du Valier (950m)
It is the most modern refuge of the 5. You sleep in beds with your own pillow, sheet and blanket. The service is not the best, but the site is worth it.
- Rate outside Pass'Aran passport. Night at € 52 and half board at € 62
- Dinner well presented but scarce
- Breakfast is from 7:30
- On the top floor, above the restaurant there is an ideal space to have some Gin Tonics
- There is electric current so it is possible to charge batteries or mobiles
- There is no internet but coverage
- Their beds each have their pillow and their sheets
- It can be accessed by car
- Eye with the price of drinks and the food aside
Stage 2 Pass'Aran - Maison du Valier
On the route
- On the 2014/2015 map of the Alpine publishing house The stage is marked in yellow. In previous editions in red
- It can be done in less time than the official map marks
- Although initially the slope seems high, the descent is by an excellent road, narrow in several sections, but without excessive difficulty
Photos of the route
Click here to see all the photographs of the route or if you prefer, you can also see them on Flickr.
Click here to see the third stage
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