Mountainous scenery of the Pyrenees on a riding holiday

Languedoc Roussillon - High Lakes in the Pyrenees

An expedition horseback ride for those with a spirit of adventure and love of nature and the wilderness. On horseback you will make your way towards the high peaks of the Pyrenees and see the crystal clear lakes high up in the mountains. For riders who love the outdoors, enjoy camping in remote locations and long hours in the saddle.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Pack Trip
8 days / 6 days riding
From £1,155

From the horse’s mouth

  • Languedoc Roussillon - High Lakes in the Pyrenees
    July 2021 Brooke aged 64
    I would say that that trip was the best of the pack trips I have taken anywhere before. Everything was top notch. Horses, tack, food , equipment, accommodations. Sylvain thought of everything and his attention to detail was incredible. I’m a stickler for horse management which sometimes falls short on these long... Read all
  • Languedoc Roussillon - High Lakes in the Pyrenees
    July 2021 Silke aged 50
    Very well organized trip, friendly and well trained horses, gear and horses in best condition, good food - wow was that good food!!!! Alegria, a Cheval Mérens. A typical mare (:D needed love and a good scratch now and then), very eager and respectful. Powerhorse.
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Itinerary

Highlights

- Ride through breathtaking scenery and view the area from some of the highest summits
- Ride the beautiful sure-footed Meren horses, an ancient native breed of the Ariege
- A real feeling of an equestrian expedition supported by pack mules on remote passes
- Ride up high into the mountains and see chamois and vultures circling
- A journey into a remote area with difficult terrain to negotiate and long days in the saddle
-The use of pack mules allows you to stay in remote locations without having to go back to civilisation each night.
  • Day 1 1: HOME - PUYMORENS - No riding

    Fly to Toulouse, where you will be met and transferred to the gite for your first night (transfer is not included, €75 return payable locally). Your flight must arrive before 14:00. After being shown to your room there will be time to meet the horses before dinner with your guide.

    Alternatively, you can take a train to Puymorens station from where you will be collected at 17:30.
  • Day 2 2: PUYMORENS - PORTA - LANOUX - 4 hours

    Ride from Porté Puymorens you will ride high into the mountains to the lake of Lanous which is at 2200 m. This is the largest lake in the Pyrenees and this where you will camp for the evening.
  • Day 3 3: LANOUX - CAMPORELS - 4 -5 hours

    You will continue your ride at high altitude, following a path at the same height as where you stayed the previous evening. Ride to the refuge of Camporels(2250m) which is right on the the side of the beautiful Camporel lake.
  • Day 4 4: CAMPORELS - VALLEE DU GALBE - 4 hours plus 1 hour on foot

    After two days high in the mountains you descend this morning to the beautiful valley of the Galbe. The valley is known for its biodiversity and it is not uncommon to encounter wild animals as you ride. Today you will walk for approximately one hour as the paths are very steep.This evening you will spend the night in a gite at the bottom of the valley.
  • Day 5 5: RIEUTORD - RABASSOLLES - 5 - 6 hours

    Today you will ride past the Lake of Quérigut before taking a path that will lead you high up into the mountains and to the lake of Rabassolles (2000 m). You will camp out this evening near the lake.
  • Day 6 6: RABASSOLLES - CAMURAC - 6-7 hours

    From the Lake of Rabassolles ride up to the blue lake with its distinctive colour, then onto the black lake towards the Coumeille de l'Ours. Ride along the bottom of the Tarbésou (2364 m) to the neck of Paillhère, continue your ride along the ridge and over the crests back to Camurac.
  • Day 7 7: CAMURAC - 4 - 5 hours

    One last ride around Camurac. Enjoy the green pastures and rolling hills of the Pyrenees and the company of your horse and fellow riders before a well-deserved farewell dinner!
  • Day 8 8: CAMURAC - HOME

    After breakfast you will be transfered to the train station at d'Ax les Thermes for your train or back to Toulouse airport for your flight back home. Your flight should depart after 15:00.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights or transportation to your destination are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.     

- Rates are per person, and single accommodation is not possible as pack horses carry all of the equipment and tents

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 4 riders and a maximum of 12 international riders, plus guides. 

- Transfers:
> If you choose to fly to Toulouse, a transfer is scheduled from the airport at 2:00 pm. Your flight home on the last day should depart after 3:00 pm to allow enough time for your transfer back to the airport. This is €85 return rate.
> If you choose to come by train, a free transfer is scheduled from the train station in Porte Puymorens at 5:30 pm. Please note departure train station on the way back is Ax-les-Thermes (please choose a train departing after 11:00 am).

- Young riders aged 14+ are welcome on this ride if they are accompanied by their parents (provided they are good enough riders).

- Riders over 80 kg / 12.5 st / 176 lbs, please contact us before booking.

- Special diet supplement: €35/£30/$45 per person for the duration of the trip.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English speaking horse guide

Logistics

1 vehicle and driver
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
Pack horses or pack mules

Inland transport

Transfers from Puymorens train station and to Ax-les-Thermes

Accommodation

Mountain Huts
2 person tents

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the final day

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extras
Supplementary charge to accommodate special diets - please contact us

Transport

Airport transfers from Toulouse
International flights that we can book for you upon request

Extras

Tips to the local team

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked in case of cancellation.
  • Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    22/07/2023 29/07/2023 £1,155 €1,360 $1,432 Guaranteed departure Book now
    19/08/2023 26/08/2023 £1,155 €1,360 $1,432 Full

Equestrian info

Horses

The horses are local Meren mountain horses, bred for their ability to navigate the tough mountain terrain. They will take you safely through the region. They live out high up in summer pastures as a herd before being brought into work, which gives them their sure footedness and hardiness. The horses are ridden in English saddles.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

This trail is suitable for fit and experienced riders, confident at all paces riding outdoors. Please note that it may be necessary to lead your horse on foot on some parts of the trail.

Riders over 80 kg / 12.5 st / 176 lbs, please contact us before booking.

Pace

The pace is varied and there are opportunities for trots and canters when the terrain allows for it. You may have to lead your horse on foot on some parts of the trail.

Tacking ability and participation

You are responsible for your own horse, you will groom, tack and untack your horse as well as water and feed it as shown by the guide.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

This trail takes place mainly in the mountains so you need to be riding and physically fit and able to walk on foot when the terrain dictates. You must be able to get on and off unassisted several times a day. The terrain can be tricky to navigate and you must be comfortable in and out of the saddle. You should also be ready for unpredictable weather changes. Previous trail riding experience over several days and in a mountainous environment is requested. This ride is better suited to adventurous riders.

The back-up vehicle will not be able to reach certain sections of the trail and you will rely on pack mules to carry your belongings.

Equestrian equipment

Water bottle holders are provided along with saddle bags.
Comfortable English tack.

We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit

Travel info

Comfort

Overnight will either be camping or staying in a gite or shepherds refuge. Picnics are cold and carried in bags. The evening meal is either cooked by your host or by attendants.

Meals

Picnic lunches are cold and carried in saddle bags.
Evening meals are cooked by your hosts and guides.

There will be supplement to pay if you have any specific diet (vegetarian, gluten free, etc). Please see dates and prices.

Climate

The region can experience different weather patterns.

In the foothills of the Arieg valley towards Tarascon and Pays de Sault the weather is mediterranean, with hot and sunny weather likely.
In the Pyrenean valleys the weather is more volatile with the possibility of storms and high temperature differences between day and night.

Rain can be possible all year round, particularly on the northwest facing slopes and snow is common above 1,000m.

Guide and local team

The owner of the horses and trail riding company - Sylvain - is local to the area and is a certified guide for both climbing and horse riding. He is a geographer and specialist in ecotourism and will share his passion of mountains, horses and outdoor sports with you.

Whilst Sylvain normally guides this ride it may be possible that another member of his team guides and he works with the logistic team.

Tips

In France it is customary to tip - usually this is by rounding up the price when you are satisfied with the service in a restaurant. You may wish to leave a tip with the guide who can split it amongst all members of the team.

Packing list

Please keep in mind this is an altitude trail and the weather can be unpredictable - anything from hot sunshine to hail and even snow. Please be prepared and bring appropriate clothing and gear.

Head
-Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit.
-Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun and dust

Upper body
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun, which can be fierce at altitude
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared. In the mountains the weather can change quickly

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- Thermals (can also be used as nightwear)

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short hiking boots (with a heel) with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Nightwear
- Sleeping bag with a minimum comfort rating of minus 5 celsius - you may find minus 8 - minus 10 more comfortable.
- Sleeping bag liner adds an extra layer - either cotton, fleece or silk
- Self inflating mattress such as Thermarest for comfort
- Pyjamas or tracksuits or thermals for sleeping in

Other useful items
- Towels (camping towels pack lighter and dry quicker)
- Swimsuit - for swimming/bathing in rivers
- Small backpack for accessing items required during the day (carried by support crew)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Wet Wipes or equivalent (for when washing facilities aren't available)
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.
- Swiss army knife or equivalent

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Our Recommendations
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided with a capacity of 60-80 litres. We recommend taking a backpack or similar. The luggage limit on the ride is 15kg per person.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- You should carry a copy of your passport and insurance policy with you

Visa & Health

Formalities

UK citizens - other nationalities please contact us:

Visas
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter France. The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021:
- you will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to France and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel would count towards the 90-day limit
- the 90-day limit for visa-free travel will begin on 1 January 2021. Any days you stay in France or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

At border control for France, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

Passport validity
The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Passport validity from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

For up-to-date information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements

Health

UK Citizens: A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).

https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Ludovic Gaurier (1875 – 1931), was a specialist in the glaciology and limnology (study of lakes), who dedicated a big portion of his time studying the French Pyrenees. In fact, he was the first known individual to make the first geographic and topographic inventory of the lakes located in the Pyrenees. This was no easy task as many lakes are so small, or even forgotten and had no place in ordinary maps, however by 1930, Ludovic had documented around 520 altitude lakes. Even though there is no exact number, experts say that there are over 2500 mountain lakes on both sides of the Pyrenees. What we know for sure is that these lakes provide breathtaking views with crystal-clear waters and green valleys, making this the ideal setting for a horseback holiday!

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • Brooke aged 64 HILLSBORO 8 trips
    July 2021
    I would say that that trip was the best of the pack trips I have taken anywhere before. Everything was top notch. Horses, tack, food , equipment, accommodations. Sylvain thought of everything and his attention to detail was incredible. I’m a stickler for horse management which sometimes falls short on these long... Read all
    • Horses
    • Programme
  • Silke aged 50 HANNOVER 2 trips
    July 2021
    Very well organized trip, friendly and well trained horses, gear and horses in best condition, good food - wow was that good food!!!! Alegria, a Cheval Mérens. A typical mare (:D needed love and a good scratch now and then), very eager and respectful. Powerhorse.
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide