Canigou

  • Evening light, from Pilo de Belmaig area - © William Mackesy
  • In cloud - © William Mackesy
  • From Pilo de Belmaig area - © William Mackesy

Key information: Canigou

  • The 2,785m Canigou massif more than merely dominates its surroundings: it has a special place in the Catalan imagination. 
  • The Canigou makes for fine and varied walking, its lower slopes forested but its peaks all rock, scree and cliff. Unsurprisingly, you get huge views (Andorra to the Med) from its peaks on a good day.
  • Sitting between the Tech and Tet valleys, Canigou can be climbed from many directions, but all require a night in a refuge. The routes are many and varied, so plan carefully.There are many day walks you can do on the massif.
  • This can be tough walking in high, remote mountains. Come prepared.
  • Anyone got any good photos? We would love to have them!

     

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating87
  • Beauty34
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest4
  • Charisma33
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating87

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 2785m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
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In cloud - © William Mackesy

WALK SUMMARY

The last great eastern bastion of the Pyrenean range, the Canigou massif more than merely dominates its surroundings: it has a special place in the Catalan imagination. As a key high point (at 2,785m) of the region (although there are higher peaks to the west), it is visible from a long way off (from both Spain and the French lowlands to the north), frequently cloud-girt although its peaks often rise magisterially above such mortal concerns.

The Canigou makes for fine and varied walking, its lower slopes forested but its peaks all rock, scree and cliff. Unsurprisingly, you get huge views (Andorra to the Med) from its peaks on a good day.

Sitting between the Tech and Tet valleys, Canigou can be climbed from many directions, but all require a night in a refuge unless you are superhuman.  From the north, routes converge on the Chalet Cortalets: from the south, on the Refuge Mariailles to the south-west (these are longer walks than the approaches from the north). The routes are many and varied (including how arduous and dramatic you want your approach to be), so plan carefully, and book chalet/refuge space well ahead in high season. The peak is 1.5 hrs or so from Cortalets, a lot longer from Mariailles.

There are many day walks you can do on the massif, including:

-       The Balcon de Canigou, a high trail amid cliffs, with huge views to the north-east.

Both the HRP and the GR10 circle round Canigou's northern flanks, and a diversion can be made to its heights if the walker of said routes doesn't already have enough on his/her plate.

A fantastic book for Canigou walks is Le Guide Rando's Canigou, Vallespir - Conflent. In French. The Rough Guide to the Pyrenees - Rough Guides: a good guide to the area, it also has a good section on Canigou.

See our Eastern Pyrenees and Pyrenees pages for further general information.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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