The 3 best snowshoe hikes around Ax-les-Thermes

randonnées en raquettes Ax-les-Thermes

Are you planning to visit Ax-les-Thermes for your winter vacations? Then take advantage of the opportunity to start snowshoeing!

Renowned for its healing thermal waters, the resort of Ax-les-Thermes attracts many visitors every winter season. The pretty town in the Ariege Pyrenees is a meeting place for spa visitors and winter sports enthusiasts alike.

But there’s much more to this resort than its thermal waters and ski slopes. Far from it! Located in the heart of nature, Ax-les-Thermes is the ideal starting point for dozens of outdoor activities. Among these, snowshoe trekking is becoming increasingly popular. This corner of France has no shortage of ideal routes for discovering this outdoor activity. Want to get started? Follow our guide! We’ve selected 3 snowshoeing tours not to be missed.

The Rocher de Scaramus from the Col de Marmare

randonnée raquette ariège

Photo credit : Shutterstock

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • 🏔️ Ascent: +502m
  • 🥾 Level of difficulty: moderate
  • 💙 We like: the beautiful view of the mountains from Scaramus rock
  • 🧭 Se e the circuit

We’re off to a gentle start with this little loop, which takes around 3 hours to complete and is therefore ideal for a real break from the hustle and bustle of nature. Departing from the Col de Marmare parking lot, this route is easily accessible from Ax-les-Thermes. It’s about a 20-minute drive through the mountains, but we assure you that even this part of the trip is worth it! Once you’re equipped with your snowshoes (several stores offer rental services in the Ax-les-Thermes resort), simply follow the signposted trail and the directions provided by the Alltrails.com website.

After passing the Col de Fajou, your walk takes you up to the Rocher de Scaramus, at an altitude of over 1,800 metres. All along the way, the view is unobstructed, allowing you to appreciate the majesty of the mountain! But the icing on the cake is at the top of the famous rock, with its panoramic view of the Pyrenees. You’ll even forget the few minutes of pain it takes to climb it – be warned, the last few metres are a steep climb to reach this viewpoint… Don’t give up, it’s worth it!

The Pénédis and Doulent peaks

randonnées Les Pics de Pénédis et de Doulent ariège

Photo credit : Shutterstock

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • 🏔️ Ascent: +454m
  • 🥾 Level of difficulty: moderate
  • 💙 We love: breathtaking panoramas from both peaks
  • 🧭 Se e the circuit

Have you been won over by the previous itinerary? Here’s a new one, almost the same length, to satisfy your nature cravings! Just under 10 km long, this hiking loop is accessible all year round, whatever the season. But snowshoeing it in the middle of winter certainly adds a little magic to the experience…

Explore this little corner of the mountains, and take on the Pénédis and Doulent peaks. With an altitude of over 1,800 metres, these two peaks offer breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and ski slopes. Take time to admire the Pyrenees in their great white mantle, and above all to appreciate the calm that reigns here. If you’ve planned to pack a snack or a hot drink in your rucksack, now’s the time to get them out: you won’t find a better place to recharge your batteries, both physically and mentally.

Pic de Lauzate and Mont Fourcat

Le Pic de Lauzate et le Mont Fourcat randonnée raquettes

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: 4h45
  • 🏔️ Ascent: +839m
  • 🥾 Level of difficulty: moderate
  • 💙 We love: the breathtaking 360° view of the Ariege Pyrenees
  • 🧭 Se e the circuit

Fancy a longer walk to get away from it all for half a day? Head for Mercus-Garrabet, just half an hour’s drive from Ax-les-Thermes, to tackle this 10-kilometer hike. Very popular with hikers (with or without snowshoes), this route is sometimes taken by storm when weather conditions are particularly favorable. So don’t be surprised if you come across crowds. But we promise that the experience is well worth the trip!

Park at the Maquis de Croquié parking lot to start this 4-5 hour walk. Initially, the trail climbs gently towards the Pic de Lauzate, which offers a sublime view of the mountains. Continue on to Mont Fourcat to appreciate the full beauty of the area! At the summit of this 2,000-meter-high mountain, the 360° panorama of the Pyrenees is simply breathtaking. The climb to the summit is long and steep, but the reward is well worth the effort!

Good to know: temperatures are particularly low at this altitude. « Normal, you might ask? Yes, but add to that a strong, icy wind, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for getting sick. So bundle up warmly for the duration of this walk (and resist the urge to take off your hat at the slightest physical effort)!

So, which of these 3 best snowshoe hikes around Ax-les-Thermes appealed to you? Whatever your choice, remember to always check weather conditions and avalanche risks before embarking on any mountain activity.

Our advice for a successful stay in Ax-les-thermes

Tempted by more outdoor activities in the Pyrénées Orientales?

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