France | Pyrenees | Travel

Scenic spots to visit around the stunning Lac de Gaube

I never thought there are many scenic spots to visit around the stunning Lac de Gaube. Take advantage of your stay in the Pyrenees to hike around the lake of Gaube. If you want to discover the best routes, follow my guide! Located in the Hautes-Pyrénées, near Cauterets, the lake of Gaube is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Pyrenees! Indeed, it is nestled in the hollow of beautiful peaks, both steep and green. Its clear waters with turquoise reflections form a peaceful expanse in this mountainous setting. In the background, you can see the snow-covered tops of the neighboring high peaks. 

This small mid-mountain paradise also has the advantage of being very easy to access. Indeed, the most frequented hiking route is suitable for all walkers. But for the most trained or the lovers of wild nature!

Scenic spots to visit around the stunning Lac de Gaube

Furthermore, how to get to Lac de Gaube? In my case, it was a hike from Pont d’Espagne. The walking path is a little over 2 kilometers long and is a popular and straightforward hike. Furthermore, there are different hiking paths to Lac De Gaube from other sites, which differ in length and difficulty. So you need about an hour and 10 minutes to complete it. You can find the map below.

Cauterets

Cauterets is located in the department of Hautes-Pyrenees and the region of Occitanie. Below you can see some of the places I have visited and can recommend when visiting near Cauterets, from the region of Occitanie. Popular places to visit nearby include Luz-Saint-Sauveur at 9 km and Saint-Savin at 10 km.

Around Cauterets, cromlechs and dolmens have been found, indicating a prehistoric human presence. Some rare Gallo-Roman remains also attest to the use of its waters in thermal baths. But it was in the Middle Ages that this thermal dimension took its rise, even if thermalism was interrupted in the course of History. Today Cauterets is a thermal spa and a ski resort.

The sulfurous, sodic waters, rich in silica and trace elements of Cauterets, come from natural springs. They gush out at temperatures between 55 and 60°C. These waters allowed Cauterets to become a crucial thermal site. The golden age of thermalism in Cauterets was the 19th century. Victor Hugo, George Sand, and Chateaubriand came to relax in the Pyrenean village. Since then, the thermal baths of Cauterets have been famous for rheumatology cures and those for the respiratory and ENT tracts. Two large establishments exploit these hot springs: the César thermal baths and the Griffons thermal baths.

Scenic spots to visit around the stunning Lac de Gaube

Skiing in Cauterets

Skiing is an activity that has developed in Cauterets since 1907. Today, the ski resort of Cauterets consists of two distinct areas. The first is the one devoted to downhill skiing. It is the Cirque du Lys. You can reach its 36 km of slopes via the village gondolas and the road at the Courbet (chains required). Located a few kilometers from the town, the second domain, the Pont d’Espagne, is essentially dedicated to cross-country skiing. Here again, 36 km of trails await the skating enthusiasts. There is also 6 km of marked trails for pedestrians and snowshoe enthusiasts.

In summer, it’s time for hiking. Parc National des Pyrénées is waiting for you. Numerous trails take you to the Lac d Gaube, along the waterfalls path, and, for the more experienced, to Le Vignemale, the highest French Pyrenean peak with its 3,298 meters of altitude.

What to do in Cauterets

What to do in Cauterets? In French: que a faire à Cauterets? In Cauterets, you can dedicate your time to a wide variety of activities. My suggestions for spending time in the Pyrenees are below.

View on the waterfalls and the Pont d’Espagne

The Pont d’Espagne, beyond the construction, is a unique natural site where one waterfall follows another. It is the starting point of many hikes and walks that lead to the lake of Gaube and the glacier of Oulettes. Others take you the Marcadau valley or to the banks of the Ilheou lake, where you can spend the night in a refuge. From Cauterets, the site in the heart of the Pyrenees National Park, you can reach it by bus, chairlift, or on foot via the GR10.

Scenic spots to visit around the stunning Lac de Gaube

Lac de Gaube

The Lac de Gaube is accessible from the Pont d’Espagne in Cauterets. Thanks to its idyllic setting and its breathtaking panorama, it is a mythical lake of the Pyrenees. You can choose to go hiking alone, following the signs corresponding to the itinerary of Lac de Gaube. Still, you can also choose to take a certified guide to discover anecdotes and stories that took place in this incredible place.

Waterfalls

The GR10 after Cauterêts is a pure wonder. There is no need to go through four paths (pun intended, level 1) this. This Sentier des cascade is a real moment of happiness, even if the climb to the Pont d’Espagne requires a minimum of training, especially with a 20 kilos travel bag on the back. In the middle of the waterfalls and the humid forest on the mountainside, I know only a few places worth this one in terms of viewpoints and ambient calm.

Calmness is only disturbed by the sometimes powerful lapping of the water, but as it is one of the most relaxing sounds I know, it only adds to the magic of the site.

A true kingdom of green! For the brave ones who come from Gavarnie, the path goes up to the Pont d’Espagne, then to the Lake of Gaube, then to the refuge of Oulette’s de Gaube, then to the shelter of Baysselance. Then, the GR10 switches to Gavarnie or goes up towards the Vignemale. Notice to the amateurs!

This pleasant walk follows the river “gave,” which descends from the Pont d’Espagne, glouglou, to clapotis.
At the edge of the relief, you will discover the waterfalls, some with soft and limpid waters, others with bubbling and tumultuous waters like the waterfall of Cerise. Let yourself be guided by the sound of the water. The path allows you to get closer to witness these continuous spray fireworks.

Mauhourat waterfall, Escape Gat waterfall, Cerise waterfall, Pouey Bacou waterfall, Pas de l’Ours waterfall, Boussès waterfall, Pont d’Espagne waterfall. Let yourself be guided by them for a hike along the water in the Pyrenean National Park direction.

Scenic spots to visit around the stunning Lac de Gaube

Cauterets to Pont d’Espagne

Take advantage of your stay in the Pyrenees to hike around the lake of Gaube. If you want to discover the best routes, follow my guide!

Significantly, located in the Hautes-Pyrénées, near Cauterets, the lake of Gaube is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Pyrenees! Indeed, nestled in the hollow of beautiful peaks, both steep and green. Its clear waters with turquoise reflections form a peaceful expanse in this mountainous setting. In the background, you can see the snow-covered tops of the neighboring high peaks. 

Importantly, this small mid-mountain paradise also has the advantage of being very easy to access. Indeed, the most frequented hiking route is suitable for all walkers. But for the most trained or the lovers of wild nature!

So, how to get to Lac de Gaube? In my case, it was a hike from Pont d’Espagne. The walking path is a little over 2 kilometers long and is a popular and straightforward hike. Furthermore, there are different hiking paths to Lac De Gaube from other sites, which differ in length and difficulty. You need about an hour and 10 minutes to complete it. You can find the map below.

What equipment should I choose to go hiking?

What equipment should I choose to go hiking? Significantly, whatever your motivations and objectives, your equipment should accompany you and not burden you. In this paragraph, I give you all the advice you need to adapt your gear to the type of hike you will undertake. Take only the essentials with you. Smile, you’ll be walking light!

To know what equipment to take with you, you must already know what you will do. So, I suggest that you define your type of hike according to the characteristics of the itinerary (duration, distance, altitude difference, technicality) and the conditions in which you will have to walk (climate, season, weather).
The duration of a hike

If the essential equipment doesn’t change much for a few hours or a day hike (except for the quantity of water and food to bring), the choices become more complex as soon as you plan to walk several days.

Should you bring a tent, a sleeping bag, and a stove? Should you bring freeze-dried food? Extra clothes? So much equipment that you will have to choose to take or not and that you will have to fit in your hiking bag!

Distance and elevation change

The physical effort to be made is conditioned by more than the duration, distance, and difference in altitude of your itinerary. The longer a route is planned or the greater the altitude difference, the more you’ll have to try to lighten up. Finally, at the end of the route, every gram you gain will save you energy and make your legs more comfortable.


Technicalities

Here we touch on the limits between hiking and mountaineering. This paragrapg only deals with hiking, which excludes using a climbing rope, crampons, other ice axes, skis, ice screws, etc.

Ski touring or glacier trekking are disciplines that require specific equipment and knowledge for winter or high mountains. So prepare your itinerary well to avoid venturing into too technical terrain. For example, thanks to Geoportail, you can consult all the topographic maps of France for free on the Internet. The maps published by the national institute of geographic and forestry information (IGN) are very detailed and particularly appreciated by hikers.

Climate, season and weather

The conditions in which you are going to hike will particularly influence your choice of clothing:

  • The climate: it is very different between the seaside and the mountains. Your priorities will be to protect you from the cold or the heat, from the rain or the sun.
  • The season: Choose the best season for your hike or adapt depending on the climate. The conditions can be very different on the same route (snow, cold or heat, etc.).

So, always take the weather forecast for the day or your trek period. Moreover, you will have to take extra clothes (waterproof or windproof jacket, over pants, spare clothes).

What is the essential equipment for hiking?
  • Good hiking shoes
  • A hiking backpack
  • Clothes adapted to the weather
  • Sun protection: sunglasses, cap, sunscreen
  • A hydration system and food supplies
  • Orientation equipment according to your habits: smartphone with cartography, IGN map, compass, altimeter, hiking GPS or GPS watch
  • First aid kit: first aid kit, survival blanket, multipurpose knife, headlamp, cell phone
I recommend this lovely walk up to the lake of Gaube. Moreover, Lac de Gaube is an ideal place for picnics. The views are truly beautiful, well worth experiencing.

Did you like the blog post ‘Scenic spots to visit around the stunning Lac de Gaube’? Share your impressions in the comments below. Also read my other post about the Pyrenees. You will also find other blog posts from different places in France. You can find all the information you need about holiday destinations and activities on the Office de Tourisme Cauterets website.



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