Marcadau Hut Trip

Winter sun and snow: day trips + mini-trek

Marcadau Valley

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Come to the Pyrenees for winter snow and sunshine. If you can walk, you can snowshoe, and it is a great way of exploring the mountains in winter and discovering its different facets. Your six days are split between the Luz and Cauterets valleys – five nights in the comfort of Hotel Les Templiers in Luz and two nights in Refuge Wallon in the heart of the Marcadau Valley above Cauterets - a refuge in winter is an experience not to be missed and is a great first step to doing a longer hut to hut trek like the Encantats. The first three days enable you to 'warm up' with walks in the valleys of Barèges and Gavarnie, before heading out on the fourth day on your mini-trek. Holiday runs with two or more people.

¤ Become comfortable with snowshoes, shovel, probe and avalanche transceivers
¤ Learn about snow and avalanche safety
¤ Two nights out in a mountain refuge
¤ Varied itineraries to suit conditions

** Departure guaranteed from two people **

Dates: Every week from the 2 Feb to the 13 April 2019. CONFIRMED 16-23 March.

Participants: Trip can be confirmed with two participants (two singles, a couple, two friends...)

Price: 1155€pp which includes five nights B&B accommodation in Hotel Les Templiers, your base camp for the week, two nights full board in Refuge Wallon, transfer from Lourdes to Luz and return transfer to Lourdes, all equipment needed for snowshoeing including avalanche transceivers.  Hotel in double/twin room. Single supplement at the hotel 25€/night.

Extras: Dinners in Luz, picnics, drinks and souvenirs.

Contact: Sian


Gavarnie snowshoeDay One: Arrive in Luz (bus from Lourdes airport or Lourdes train station), and welcome at Hotel Les Templiers in Luz St Sauveur. Take a wander around town to scout for restaurants and have a look about. We are happy to book restaurants for you if you'd like but you will quickly see there are plenty of choices within walking distance from the hotel. Come back for a A drink from our bar and a briefing on the week. Let us know if you'd like to buy your own bits and pieces for picnics (the bakery, butcher and supermarket are all close by and we have a fridge in the lounge to store your provisions), or if you'd like us to prepare picnics for you (7€pp).

Day Two: Meet your guide, check your equipment and enjoy your first day out snowshoeing in the Barèges valley. We may head up into the Aoube Valley, or into the forest above the Lienz Plateau, depending on conditions. Either way we'll test our legs, and the snow, find the feel of the snow and practice using snow shoes, and avalanche transceivers.

Day Three: Snowshoe from Gavarnie village to the Pailha Plateau, above the Cirque de Gavarnie, for a bird's eye view of this UNESCO world heritage site and the frozen waterfalls. The path we take is a balcony path and is particularly spectacular in Winter pathwinter. We look out for ice climbers on the 426m frozen waterfall, enjoy lunch perched up high and return to the village for a hot chocolate and afternoon tea.


Day Four: The Saugué Plateau above Gedre is already an exceptional snowshoeing site, and the views from the Col de Porteillou (2238m) above the plateau are even more wonderful. Gavarnie snowYou see all the frontier summits spread out in front of you, including the famous Breche de Roland.


Day Five: We set off on our mini-trek. A transfer into the neighbouring Cauterets Valley then up to the Pont d'Espagne. We head up into the Marcadau Valley, traditionally a meeting (and market) place  for traders between the French and Spanish valleys. DSCN0910The change of scenery is dramatic in this valley - gone are the high pastures and we encounter a diversity of pine forests. The Scots pines are particularly beautiful. We spend our first night in Refuge Wallon.

Day Six: From Refuge Wallon at 1865m we head high to the Col d'Aratille (2528m) on the Spanish border, with one foot in France and the other in Spain!  Return for another night in Refuge Wallon.

Snowy ridge webDay Seven: Head back to Cauterets via the higher lakes of Cardinquère and return to Hotel Les Templiers in Luz.

Packing list:

See the Winter snowshoeing packing list

Reserve your place

To book you can use the on-line booking system below - select your Saturday check-in date and Saturday check-out date and then proceed. The system will ask for a deposit which you pay using PayPal. Or, if you prefer, you can book by emailing us directly (, ringing directly on +33 5 62 92 81 52 or calling via Skype at sian.grigg.

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