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Bauzeille ponds, Ascou-Pailhères resort

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From the Ascou-Pailhères ski resort, a short path climbs above the ski area to access a small upper valley below the Pic du Tarbésou and discover 2 splendid high-altitude ponds. The hike is accessible to all, although there are a few fairly steep sections to negotiate. The route is an out-and-back, but there is an option to climb to the Pic du Tarbésou via the Bauzeille ponds, extending the path that joins the classic GR higher up. The views and panoramas of the Pyrenees are superb, even more so in autumn colors like today's.

Arrivée devant le premier étang de Bauzeille

Technical summary

Departure point: Ascou-Pailhères resort, Ascou, Ariège (09)
Type of route: out-and-back mid-mountain hike
Distance: 6 km
Cumulative elevation gain: +350 m
Cumulative negative altitude gain: -350 m
Estimated total duration: 2h30 to 3h30
■ Min and max altitude: 1690 m / 1980 m
Marking: no, but a wide track and a well-marked trail
Equipment in place: none
Equipment required: none

Difficulty: none except for a few steeper sections.

Access to the place

From Ax-les-Thermes, climb up to the Col du Chioula, then turn off towards the Col d'Ascou-Pailhères on the D-25. Pass the village of Ascou, then Goulours and Lavail and continue towards the ski resort. Drive past the resort, up the first 4 hairpin bends and park on the right at the 5th bend in the large parking lot at the foot of the Mounégou ski lift.

Itinerary description

Course

Part 1: Getting to the top of the resort

From the parking lot, pass behind the hut at the bottom of the Mounégou ski lift and take the stony track that rises to the right, first to the south, then to the west. Pass the Andorra ski lift arrival point. The track descends to skirt a water retention basin at the jasse de l'Orri and climb steeply to reach the top of the Orri chairlift, the top of the resort. There's a small hut and a large antenna.
Part 2: the Bauzeille ponds

Just before the finish line, climb left up the embankment on a fairly steep path towards the antenna. Continue on a small path winding through clumps of red rhododendrons and climb back up, gradually slanting to the south-east. The path passes through a grove of fir trees at the top of the station valley. Cross a shoulder and descend into a lovely, long upper valley where the Scanels stream flows down from the ponds. The Pic du Tarbésou is at the end, dominating the valley, and to the right are the north walls of the Sarrat de la Bauzeille.

Follow the path through the grass, not always clearly visible, and turn right to reach the 1st pond under the Sarrat de la Bauzeille (photo on front page). From here, head northeast, slightly uphill, crossing a peat bog, to descend slightly to the banks of the second Bauzeille pond.
Part 3: from the étangs de Bauzeille to the Mounégou parking lot

Retrace your steps and cut across a small, barely visible path that returns to the valley. Repeat the whole route in the opposite direction to the antenna, then take the track to the Mounégou parking lot.

Map & topo

Voir en plein écran

Photos

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