A long day out which, despite the crowds, showcases the best of the region.

Statistics

6 - 7

hrs

1,559

m

2,120

m

15

max┬░

Difficulty

FATMAP difficulty grade

Difficult

Description

For background info on the route, refer to the guidebook description at: https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/102935/carros-de-foc-the-best-hike-in-the-spanish-pyrenees DAY 3: Today you will start early as the day is long and you'll cover over 30km with 1600m+ of climbing - but you'll also remember the splendid scenery you see en route. Start the day by going along the lake shore and over a small pass to enter another hidden lake and valley.

From there, the path leads through a boulder field (but not through the boulders directly, but instead on a comfortable single track) to the first pass of the day, from where you descend quickly to the picturesque valley ahead.

Full of small lakes with the morning sun shining - this is one of the most pleasant areas of the whole route.

After some time you'll get to a junction indicating the Josep Maria Blanc hut and - in another direction - Monestero pass.

The old route would go down to the hut and then backtrack to this same location to ascend the pass.

However, for the two past years, you can go circular and hence not be tempted to abandon the trip at the Josep Maria Blanc.

Once you commence the route to the hut, you'll soon see how splendid the location is on the small peninsula surrounded by lakes and forest.

This surely must be the most scenic of all the huts on the route.

Once you finish the steep descent to the hut and stamp your booklet, you then need to find the correct way of following the new variant - which was only marked with cairns in 2022. Leave the hut heading east along the main forest road, but only after 100m turn left to cross the lake using the crown of the dam.

From there the path is relatively straightforward, ascending gently - but constantly - to circle back to the final part of the Monestero pass.

Once on the pass you will meet a lot of people replenishing their energy.

Why they do so will become obvious once you start the descent.

Going the other way round, this is one of the largest climbs on the route so everyone going the other direction will have just climbed 850m of vert! The descent is long and can be split into two parts.

First, the steep part takes you down to the valley floor and then the gentle second half follows the river across beautiful alpine meadows and forests down into the Ernest Mallafre hut.

You will notice the crowds as you near the hut as the area is known for the St Maurici lake and is easily accessible by taxis.

It's also the traditional starting point for the Carros de Foc for most parties. Once down at the lake, don't follow the "official" route, (which is a boring slog up crowded forest road) but rather take more scenic - but still crowded - path that bypasses a famous waterfall and then rejoins the main route after 1-2km.

Then you need to continue up this unattractive road up until the Amitges hut - which is the penultimate stop on the route! All that remains now is to climb over the next pass and descend to Saboredo where you started two days ago.

The going is really good, aided by the knowledge of this being the last stage.

The ascent is broken into two parts - one false pass which then leads to the second part leading into the proper pass which is also a junction of trails. Taking the right hand trail takes you quickly down the beautiful glacial cirque of Saboredo towards the hut, where you need to collect your final stamp in the booklet.

With that done and celebratory beer downed - continue the final 5-6km down to the trailhead where you finally end your journey.