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Ponds of Rabassoles, Ascou-Pailhères

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A beautiful loop from the Ascou-Pailhères pass to the Rabassoles ponds before climbing the ridges to the summit of Tarbésou. This varied, accessible route offers superb panoramic views of the Ariege peaks and, if you time it right, can also take in a beautiful sunset.

Sous le sommet du Tarbésou, vue au Sud sur les crêtes

Technical summary

Type ✦ Hiking
Location ✦ Ascou-Pailhères
Region ✦ Ariège
Country ✦ France
Max altitude ✦ 2364m
Distance ✦ 10,5 kms
Dénivelé ✦ 670m
Difficulty ✦ AD
Duration ✦ 3h30 to 4h
Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

From Ax-les-thermes, climb towards Ascou. Pass under the village and then along the Lac de Goulours before climbing to the Col d'Ascou-Pailhères at 2000m. Park there at pass level.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 20' à 30'

Head due south and cross the plateau until you reach the intersection with the path that climbs the ridge (right) or heads straight for Coumeille de l'Ours.

Course 2h30 à 3h

A fairly straightforward loop, signposted as a GR until you reach the crest. The crest path is marked in yellow to the summit of Tarbésou. Beware of the wind, which can be very strong on the ridges and at the summit, a frequent occurrence in this area. No particular difficulty, but there are some steep sections to be negotiated and a fair number of ascents and descents that can be a bit of a foot-teaser.

Part 1: Coumeille de l'Ours (45' to 1h)

The marked GR trail passes to the east and below Tarbésou. It descends and rises several times before reaching the Col de la Coumeille de l'Ours. This is the first view of the ponds: Étang de Rabassoles on the left, Etang Noir then Etang Bleu further to the right below the ridges.
Part 2: the ponds (45' to 1h)

The trail then descends gently, then steeply, to pass alongside the Etangs Noir and Bleu, leaving the Etang de Rabassoles on the left. The GR then climbs up into a combe at the very end. At the top, you'll come to a sort of small pass to discover a final small pond and the Col de l'Égue in the background. Before passing this small pond, climb to the right to reach the ridge on a steep path. You reach the Roc de Bragues.
Part 3: the ridge (1h to 1h15)

The route heads north towards Tarbésous, which can be seen in the distance. To the west, we overlook the Dent d'Orlu. The view to the south is equally superb. A long, undulating walk then climbs in stages over the Sarrat des Gavensa and then the Sarrat des Escalaes, ending with a steep climb to the summit of Tarbésou at 2364m.


From the summit of Tarbésou, descend on the north side along the wide path that follows the Manegou ridge to reach the starting intersection below. Cross the plateau in the opposite direction back to the parking lot.

Map & topo

Voir en plein écran



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