Walking

Three hundred and fifty kilometres of waymarked trails (including the Mediterranean-to-Atlantic GR10) criss-cross the park. Within the park are about 20 refuges (mountain huts), primarily run by the Club Alpin Français (CAF). Most are staffed only from July to September but maintain a small crew year-round.

Each of the six park valleys (Vallée d’Aure, Vallée de Luz, Vallée de Cauterets, Val d’Azun, Vallée d’Ossau and Vallée d’Aspe) has a national park folder or booklet in French, Randonnées dans le Parc National des Pyrénées, describing 10 to 15 walks.

White-Water Sports

The Gave d’Aspe, Gave d’Oloron and Gave d’Ossau offer excellent white-water rafting. There are several companies based around Oloron-Ste-Marie, including Gaïa Aventure and Centre Nautique de Soeix, which both offer canoeing, kayaking and rafting trips. Prices start at between €25 and €35 for a two-hour session.

Mountain Biking

Once the last snows melt around mid-April to May, many of the Pyrenean ski stations open up their trails to VTTs (vélos tout-terrains; mountain bikes).

Val d’Azun, Bagnères du Bigorre, Barrousse, Barèges, Ax and several other places all have extensive areas of sentiers balisés (marked trails). The useful Pyrénées Passion (www.pyrenees-passion.info) website lists the main VTT areas.

There’s also a large mountain-bike park near Aude, offering over 900km of trails. Visit Espace VTT-FFC Aude en Pyrénées (www.vtt-pyrenees.com/espace-vtt) for directions, trail maps and other details.

Bikes are widely available, and specialist companies such as La Rébenne offer guided mountain-biking expeditions.

Skiing

While the Pyrenees’ best skiing is across the border at the Spanish resorts (around Baqueira-Beret and Andorra), the French-side resorts still offer good skiing, snowboarding, ski nordique (cross-country skiing) and raquette à neige (snowshoeing).