The 10 most beautiful walks in Ariège

Boucle des Étangs de Fontargente

Fancy some beautiful walks and rich, varied landscapes? Why not take a hike in Ariège! Follow the guide!

A land of contrasts at the foot of the Pyrenees, Ariège is located in the southwest of the Occitan region. With a strong cultural identity and a wide variety of landscapes, Ariège nestles on the borders ofAndorra andSpain, in the heart of the Midi-Pyrénées region. What better way to visit this spectacular département than by hiking in Ariège?

As you explore the Ariège on foot, you’ll find a sumptuous panorama of landscapes such as the Haut-Couserans Valley, the Haute Ariège Valley and the Pyrenean foothills. So what are you waiting for? Put on your crampons!

1. Blue Pond

Randonnée Ariège : l'Étang Bleu

Photo credit: Flickr – Stéphan Peccini

Duration: 5 hours

Ascent: 769 metres

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance: 9.5 km

See the route

Are you looking for a dream destination that will take your breath away? This hike in Ariège offers a magnificent panorama of the Ariège high mountains and their high perched ponds.

Leaving Tarascon, you then follow narrow passages along small streams. Catching up with the forest road, you gradually enter a splendid fir forest, which leads you to the magnificent, tranquil Étang Bleu! Before you lies a breathtaking landscape: the Cirque d’Embans! This is an ancient glacier nestling at the foot of the Pic des Trois Seigneurs.

If you’d like to continue your hike in Ariège and discover even more magical scenery, continue on to the Col de la Couillate. From there, you’ll be dazzled by the panorama: you’re overlooking the border peaks.

2. Château de Roquefixade and Grotte de Coulzonne

Randonnée Ariège : Château de Roquefixade

Photo credit: Shutterstock – tiny windmill

Duration: 2h35

Vertical drop: 259 metres

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 6.1 km

See hike itinerary

This hike in Ariège is undoubtedly one of the most charming in the department. It takes you past the ruins of the Château de Roquefixade to the Grotte de Coulzonne. This escapade in the heart of the Ariège countryside will reveal a magnificent Cathar castle perched atop a cliff.

After taking a few photos (the panorama is quite simply splendid!), continue on your way to the Grotte de Coulzonne. To enter alone, you’ll need at least a safety rope and a headlamp.

3. Soum de Bazillac from Prat d’Albis

Col du Picou

Photo credit: Facebook – Trail du Picou

Duration: 6h20

Difference in altitude: 614 metres

Difficulty: Medium

Distance: 16.7 km

See the route

This pleasant hike in Ariège is located just above Foix. Alternating between marked trails, forest paths and challenging climbs, you’ll be overwhelmed by the panorama. On the one hand, the green, shimmering plains of the Ariège and, on the other, the majestic Pyrenees range.

Please note: the end of the hike takes you through fields, between ferns and grassland, so remember to equip yourself accordingly.

4. Les Cascades de Roquefort

Randonnée Ariège : Les Cascades de Roquefort

Photo credit: Flickr – Been Around

Duration: 30 min

Difference in altitude 86 metres

Difficulty Easy

Distance: 0.6 km

See thetrail

Although very quick and short, this hike in Ariège is well worth the detour! You’ll explore the woods in search of the splendid Cascades de Roquefort. With mountains, greenery and crystal-clear waters, it’s a complete change of scenery!

Please note: the path back down is quite slippery… beware of falling!

5. Le Chemin de la Mine

Chemin de la Mine, Vicdessos

Photo credit: Shutterstock – MowLow

Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes

Difference in altitude: 356 metres

Difficulty: Medium

Distance: 6 km

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Departing from Vicdessos, this is one of the most immersive hikes in the Ariège. Without ever leaving the woods, you’ll walk through the Vallée de Sem in the footsteps of the former Rancié miners.

At first, the path is quite steep, but believe us, the effort will be amply rewarded. The Palet de Sanson and its magnificent view will leave you breathless. Take a break for a few minutes before continuing on your way.

6. Decauville tunnels in the Orle valley

Les Tunnels de Decauville en vallée d'Orle

Photo credit: Instagram – gicquel_p

Duration: 4h40

Difference in altitude: 540 metres

Difficulty: Medium

Distance: 10.5 km

See the route

Unusual is the adjective that best describes this hike in Ariège! You’ll be following an old mining railway with numerous railway tunnel crossings. Along the way, you’ll also discover retaining embankments, galleries and even the remains of waggons!

In addition to its heritage interest, this few-hour hike will also allow you to discover beautiful panoramic views of the border peaks. Don’t forget to take a souvenir photo!

7. La Dent d’Orlu

La Dent d'Orlu

Photo credit: Flickr – Nicolas GARNIER

Duration: 5 hours

Ascent: 1037 metres

Difficulty: Medium (caution for the summit section: Difficult)

Distance: 15.4 km

See hike itinerary

This is undoubtedly one of the best-known hikes in Ariège. Indeed, the Pic de Brasseil, also known as the Dent d’Orlu, is famous among climbers for its steep southern face.

But for us, no climbing, just walking, so don’t panic! If you take the north face, the difference in altitude is less, and you’ll have a magnificent view over all the Ariège mountains. Don’t hesitate to take breaks to really enjoy the view!

Please note: there are no water points on this route, so be sure to take something to refresh yourself.

8. Pic d’Estibat from Col de Port

Pic d'Estibat depuis le Col de Port

Photo credit: Facebook – Véro Mathiot

Duration: 4h30

Difference in altitude: 629 metres

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance: 9.5 km

See the route

In an enchanting setting, this hike in Ariège is a real pleasure to do. Combining both marked trails and off-piste routes, this hike offers walkers a wide variety of paths and crossings.

From the Col de Port, hike up to the Pic d’Estibat (1663m), taking in the magnificent panorama from the summit. Once at the top, you’ll be able to admire the majestic Pyrenean mountain range, as well as the many surrounding forests and plains.

After a break at the picnic area provided, the descent begins, and here you’ll need to use your sense of direction! The rest of the circuit is off-piste, and the markers/tracks are often hidden by vegetation, slowing your progress. Bring your maps, compasses and GPS!

9. Pic des Trois Seigneurs loop

Randonnée Ariège : Pic des Trois Seigneurs

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marc31

Duration: 5h15

Difference in altitude: 882 metres

Difficulty: Difficult (in winter, with snow and ice, this hike can become very dangerous)

Distance: 10.5 km

See hike itinerary

This magnificent hike in Ariège lets you see all the beauty of the Occitanie region. Here, nature lovers can reconnect with nature, admiring splendid landscapes in a soothing, relaxing atmosphere. However, don’t be fooled by its appearance, as the first few kilometers include some fairly technical sections which, in the presence of snow, can be daunting for many.

Once you’ve successfully braved the difficulties, all you have to do is hike up to the Pic des Trois Seigneurs, which promises a magnificent 360° panorama. So, what are you waiting for, strap on your crampons and set off to conquer this mountain?

10. Boucle des Étangs de Fontargente

Boucle des Étangs de Fontargente

Photo credit: Shutterstock – bjul

Duration: 3h35

Vertical drop: 471 metres

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance: 8.5 km

See the route

This is the last hike in the Ariège region, but not the least! This half-day tour lets you observe nature in all its splendor! The crystal-clear, emerald-green waters of the Étangs de Fontargente contrast with the shimmering greenery all around. This palette of colors will leave you speechless, no doubt overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape.

On this hike, we recommend that you take breaks at refuges or lookouts to memorize this enchanting landscape forever.

Which of these trails is your favorite?