The Pyrenees has a network of high mountain refuges, which we use for overnight stays while trekking. This means you don’t have to carry enormous rucksacks full of camping gear!
Refuges are a great resource when trekking and we use the catered ones (rather than the empty cabins), which offer basic facilities, with communal dormitories or sleeping platforms. Washing facilities are very basic, but there’s usually a beautiful mountain lake nearby for a refreshing dip! Refuges allow us to reach mountain wilderness and experience stunning Pyrenean dawns and sunsets. As well as using refuges for our trekking holidays, some of our walking holidays and ski-touring holidays involve a night or two's stay at catered refuges.
If you’re thinking of combining a MountainBug trekking holiday with another holiday in the region, we can hold onto large suitcases etc for you before or after you move on.
We’ve described below the refuges we use most often on our walks and treks but this list is in no way comprehensive. We’d also urge you to contact the huts directly to check when they are manned and to make a booking, if you’re thinking of independent hiking.
If your holiday involves a stay in a refuge, this will not be included in the cost of your holiday. Refuges cost up to 45€ per night, payable in cash.
Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube (2151m)
Sits on the outwash plain of the north face glacier of the Vignemale – the highest peak in the French Pyrenees. It’s an awe-inspiring place to spend the night. It was refurbished in 2008, with smaller and more intimate dormitories in an already comfortable refuge.
Refuge Bastan or Bastanet (2230m)
A little known, very remote, friendly refuge is right in the heart of the stunning Neouvielle nature reserve (the Pyrenean lake district), nestled between two lakes. It’s one of our favourites. It has limited facilities but an unbeatable location and great food. There’s a communal dormitory with sleeping platforms, or the exterior tent, which has bunk beds. There’s an outside spring for washing and a composting toilet. They also keep their own pigs and chickens for fresh food. You may also like to freshen up at the end of the day with a dip in the warm, shallow lake beside the refuge.
Refuge de l'Oule (1820m)
This refuge has 10-man dormitories with bunk beds. This refuge, owned by the commune of St Lary, is just beside the Lac de l'Oule, a dammed lake at the entrance to the Neouvielle Nature Reserve. It’s accessible by chair lift all year round from St Lary, so it acts as a winter refuge too in this sensitive environmental area, where the endangered capercaillie bird lives. Refuge de l’Oule also allows you to access the remoter eastern parts of the Neouvielle Nature Reserve.
Refugio Goriz (2200m)
This Spanish refuge is in a strange karst landscape of limestone pavement and dramatic rock formations, at the head of the Ordesa canyon and the foot Monte Perdido, the third highest massif in the Pyrenees. It’s a welcoming, professionally run refuge, with plenty of food and drink, which is a real feat considering how many people visit it all year round.
Refuge d’Ayous (1980m)
In the Ossau Valley, this refuge sits next to its own lakes. It’s manned from June to late September, and has 50 spaces.
Refuge de Pombie (2032m)
This refuge is manned from June to the end of September and is set at the foot of the Pic du Midi d'Ossau. To the East it offers amazing views of the Lurien-Palas-Balaitous region. It’s also a vital stop on the tour de Pic du Midi d’Ossau. You need to make a reservation and let them know about any cancellations. There’s also ground nearby to bivouac.
Refuge Arremoulit (2305m)
The refuge has 29 sleeping spaces and room for 16 in tents and a guardian from June to the end of September. It allows you to spend a night in the shadow of the towering Balaitous, in the heart of the granite wilderness of the high Val d’Azun, near the Lacs Arremoulit.
Refuge Wallon or Refuge du Marcadau (1865m)
At the end of the Valley de Marcadau, above Cauterets and the Pont d’Espagne, this 120 space refuge is reached through the pine forests of this beautiful valley. The refuge is large, with small dormitories and great views, giving access to memorable walks through the granite lake-lands and summits and the frontier passes of Mulets and La Fache.
Refuge Baysellance (2651m)
Lying below the mighty Vignemale, the highest mountain in the French Pyrenees, and the Hourquette d'Ossoue pass, the main route which goes from Cauterets to Gavarnie, Refuge Baysellance provides access to a range of stunning hikes and climbs. The highest serviced refuge in the Pyrenees, it was refurbished approximately 4 years ago, providing 58 places for hikers from the end of June to the beginning of September.
Refuge Maillet, Cirque du Troumouse (1837m)
This refuge is situated at the foot of the Cirque de Troumouse, at the heart of the Toy Country, this basic but beautifully situated vital hut is the only place to stay in the Cirque du Troumouse. It provides good, traditional food and a warm welcome. It’s open from the end of May to the beginning of October.
Refuge Barroude (2373m)
This small, 30 spaces, but cosy refuge is in a superb limestone cirque on the HRP, beside its own lake. It provides access to the Spanish border passes.
Refugio de Viados (1750m)
Just to the north of the Posets massif, the Pyrenees’ second highest, this is a privately run 70 space refuge in a great location. It’s opposite the Posets with great views. A warm welcome, good filling food and excellently situated between the Pico de Posets and the Bachi Mala.
Refuge Jean-Arlaud-Portillon (2568m)
Set just below the frontier in the high Luchonnais, next to the large Lac du Portillon and the high passes which lead to the Spanish valley of Benasque, this refuge has 80 places. It’s open from mid-June to mid-September.
Refuge de la Renclusa (2140m)
At the foot of the Pyrenees’ highest massif, the Maladeta, and its highest peak, Aneto (3404m), this busy, professionally run hut, provides access to the summit itself and a variety of other stunning walks. It has 110 spaces. Booking is essential.
Hospitau de Vielha (1626m)
This refuge is an important stage between Aneto and the Catalan massif of Aiguas Tortes. It has 42 places and is open all year round.
Restanca refuge (2010m)
On the northern edge of the Aiguas Tortes massif, looking out over its lake, the hut gives access to the popular Mon Doto peak and the northern lakelands of the massif. It has a guardian in the summer only and has 80 spaces.
Refuge Ventosa i Calvell, (2220m)
Beautifully situated above the Black Lake (Estany Negra), opposite the 3000m peak of Punta Alta, this superbly situated refuge is small with a steep rocky slope down to the black lake, surrounded by granite walls. It’s at a cross roads of paths coming in from different directions, providing a vital link between the north and south sides of the Aiguas massif.