TOPO Hiking

Serrembarre & Cassoula, Goulours

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High above the Ax valley in Haute-Ariège, on the border with Aude, the ridge route from Pic de Serrembarre to Pic de Cassoula offers spectacular panoramic views of Tarbésou, the Dent d'Orlu - Ariège's Matterhorn (!) - and the snow-capped peaks of the Ariège Pyrenees as far as Andorra. A fairly demanding loop, with a long distance and a vertical drop of almost 1000m.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Hiking
Location ✦ Goulours, Ascou
Region ✦ Ariège
Country ✦ France
Max altitude ✦ 1850m
Distance ✦ 17 kms
Dénivelé ✦ 950m
Duration ✦ 5h to 6h
Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

Up the Ax-les-Thermes valley. Climb above Ax to Ascou and the Col de Pailhères. Pass under the village of Ascou and reach the village of Goulours and its lake. Park here or at La Forge or Lavail a little further on.

Map & topo

Voir en plein écran

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 5'

If you have parked in Goulours, walk across the riu Caud to the easternmost shores of Lac de Goulours at the entrance to Lavail. Here begins a track that climbs the slopes to the north-east. Starting point of the loop.

Course 3h à 4h

The route is almost a loop. The climb is mainly in the 1st section to reach Sarrat des Fargues and Coumail. This section can be done off-piste without too much difficulty, but in summer, the height of the ferns could make progress more difficult. The final descent from Pic de Cassoula is also off-piste. The rest of the route is fairly straightforward, as it follows the ridges over the 2 peaks that can be seen in the distance.

Part 1: Sarrat des Fargues and Coumail (1640m, 1h30 to 1h45)

Climb up the track, which twists and turns to gradually dominate Lac de Goulours. Then, before the end of the track (which will descend again), climb steeper on an old path which will join some sort of ledge with clumps of trees. Make 1 or 2 bends and this time go straight up the slope through ferns and broom to finally reach the rounded ridge of Sarrat des Fargues. You're now on a flat spot at around 1640m, with a lovely view to the south-east. Walk eastwards, then climb slightly further north to reach the summit of Coumail. Here, by searching a little in the forest, you'll easily come across the forest track that leads to the Col de Pradel via the Serrat du Bancal.
Part 2: Col de Pradel and Pic de Serembarre (1850m, 1h15 to 1h30)

Descend the track to find the Sarrat du Bancal below, a long, open saddle. The summit of Serrembarre (?) can be seen to the northeast. The grassy track climbs back up on the opposite side, skirting a hill to emerge just before the Col de Pradel on the road from Goulours.

At the pass, pick up the GR and head north. After the first ridge, leave the GR and climb off-trail to reach the ridge that eventually leads to the small summit of Serrembarre. The view opens up to the west. You can almost see the whole route.
Section 3: Pic de Cassoula (1800m, 30')

From Serrembarre you can see the Cassoula, a small peak in the shape of a pointed hat. Simply join the lower GR and cross the wide plateau/peak to climb fairly quickly to the small cairn marking the summit of Cassoula. The panorama is even more impressive.

Back

From the summit of Pic de Cassoula, head south-west, then turn north before dropping down through the woods off the path to rejoin the forest track below. Descend following the track, with a possible shortcut at the end. You rejoin the track, which you follow southwards to skirt the Riu Caud below. Once out of the valley, you find yourself above Goulours and the lake. Leave the track and cut across the fields to take the road back to the village of Goulours.

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