The 8 most beautiful walks around Pau

Notre-Dame de Piétat et le bois du Sanctuaire

At the foot of the Pyrenees, in the heart of the Béarn countryside, the hiking itineraries around Pau are an opportunity to discover the superb region surrounding the city: don’t leave without your hiking boots!

You don’t have to travel far to find the first interesting hiking trails around Pau: directly on the banks of the Gave river that runs through the town, through the vineyards of the nearby Jurançon or the Béarn hills leading to the mountains, with the Pyrenees as a backdrop, the natural setting lends itself magnificently to walking.

On the whole, Pau’s most beautiful hikes are neither too long nor too physically demanding, which means that all levels of hiker can tackle these trails. Good shoes are generally all you need in terms of equipment, with poles for the more experienced. In summer, remember to bring plenty of water to keep you warm.

It’s spring when conditions are at their best for hiking around Pau, in a verdant, flower-filled Béarn, where the Pyrenean peaks are still whitened by snow… it’s time to get moving!

1. Around Lake Gabas

Le tour du lac de Gabas

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2h30
  • Distance: 11.4 km
  • Difference in altitude: 260 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

On the road to Tarbes, a 35-minute drive away, here’s a lovely, peaceful hike around Pau, taking in the banks of Lac de Gabas. This beautiful stretch of calm water may be man-made, but its natural setting is no less superb. There’s a whole walking itinerary around the lake, with explanatory signs along the way.

The scenery is varied from start to finish, and the size of Lac de Gabas makes for a leisurely walk of almost 2h30. An easy walk for all the family, regardless of age.

2. Bastard state forest

La forêt domaniale de Bastard

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2 hours
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Difference in altitude: 278 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

Just outside the city, it takes just 15 minutes by car and little more by bike to reach the Bastard national forest for a pleasant hike around Pau: a popular destination for the people of Pau, both for walking and for a variety of outdoor activities.

In all, the Bastard state forest is criss-crossed by some ten kilometers of trails: the route presented here takes us around the estate, but it’s entirely possible to cut through the forest to improvise other routes. Note that the Voie d’Arles, part of the GR653 pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, passes through the Bastard state-owned forest: take advantage of the opportunity to make a pilgrimage!

3. The banks of the Gave de Pau

Les berges du Gave de Pau

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: approx. 2h15
  • Distance: 8.9 km
  • Height difference: 192 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

You don’t have to go far to find a nice hike around Pau: meet up at the Stade d’Eaux Vives, a 20-minute walk from the city center and a 5-minute drive away, to quickly get out of the urban setting and follow the banks of the Gave de Pau.

This river, which runs through the town, enjoys a green and refreshing environment, with its active waters and small islands of stones clumped together by the current. This is an easy round-trip itinerary, which can easily be extended for hardy walkers.

4. Notre-Dame de Piétat and Sanctuary Wood

Notre-Dame de Piétat et le bois du Sanctuaire

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 10.1 km
  • Height difference: 419 m
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • See the route

This hike around Pau invites you to immerse yourself in the natural landscapes of the Béarn region, with a bit of elevation gain to exercise your legs. Departure is from Baliros, a 20-minute drive from Pau.

The trail, signposted from end to end, climbs steeply to reach the Notre-Dame de Piétat chapel and its sanctuary on the higher ground: the architecture of the building is interesting, almost as much as the superb view of the surrounding area and the peaks of the Pyrenees!

The rest of the route winds through the Sanctuary woods, before returning to the starting point. A beautiful outing.

5. Oloron-Sainte-Marie karst trail

Le sentier karstique d'Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 1 hour
  • Distance: 2.6 km
  • Height difference: 97 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

It takes around 45 minutes to drive to the start of this interesting hike around Pau, near Oloron-Sainte-Marie. The aim is to follow a path designed around the theme of karst and its spectacular underground formations, not in theory, but in practice.

The karst trail winds its way through woods and ferns, discovering caves and chasms, with footbridges and information panels to help you understand the formations created by erosion beneath the vegetation and your own feet! A fun, educational outing, especially for younger visitors.

6. The Crêtes de Morlaàs trail

randonnées Pau : Le chemin des Crêtes de Morlaàs

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Duration: about 3 hours
  • Distance: 10.3 km
  • Height difference: 319 m
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • See the route

Just a 20-minute drive away, this hike around Pau is an ideal way to get away from it all, without having to travel far. The route starts in Morlaàs, in the center of the town. The path gradually leaves the dwellings, leads through fields and then up to the wooded ridges overlooking Morlaàs.

A quiet route with a little distance and elevation gain, signposted and little frequented, with the added bonus of a breathtaking view over the town of Pau, the Béarn countryside and the Pyrenees mountain range.

7. The Jurançon hillsides

Les coteaux de Jurançon

Photo credit: Visorando

  • Duration: approx. 2h30
  • Distance: 6.56 km
  • Height difference: 262 m
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • See the route

Jurançon, the neighboring town of Pau, is known throughout France and beyond for the quality of its sweet white wines. Just outside the town, a 10-minute drive away, the well-exposed wine-growing hillsides are just the right terrain for a lovely hike around Pau.

The atmosphere soon becomes rural, as you pass through numerous wooded areas and small streams. Along the way, don’t miss out on some great views of the surrounding area: First Pau and its castle, then the Pyrenees and their peaks, with the Pic du Midi de Bigorre andOssau on the horizon.

8. Tour of Lac de l’Ayguelongue

randonnées Pau : Le tour du lac de l'Ayguelongue

Photo credit : Alltrails

  • Running time: approx. 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Distance: 4.5 km
  • Height difference: 100 m
  • Difficulty: easy
  • See the route

Let’s finish off with a lovely stroll around Pau, around the Lac de l’Ayguelongue. The path is as easy as it is flat, with a simple loop along the banks. A great outing for even the youngest children.

The peaceful atmosphere lends itself ideally to birdwatching, as the calm waters of Lac de l’Ayguelongue provide a perfect backdrop. At the end of the day, with the fading light reflecting off the water, the panorama of the Pyrenees is superb. Lac de l’Ayguelongue can be reached in 20 minutes from the center of Pau.