It's been several days that a great desire for hiking in the mountains made my legs tingle... Here, in Ariège, the hardest part is above all to choose as there are so many possibilities, each more tempting than the other. 😁

That weekend; our state of form being really not guaranteed, we choose to go to theAppy pond starting from the resort of Monts d'Olmes. The advantage: take the chairlift to arrive 10 minutes later at an altitude of 1 meters ! But what also makes the area so interesting is the network of existing paths: the circuits intertwine, which allows you to do the hike that best suits your feelings at the time.

View of the Appy lake ©Julie Guichard – Ariège Pyrénées

Take full eyes at the Col de Cadène

After buying our tickets and getting the map of the local hikes, we embark on the sources chairlift. For us who ski very regularly here in winter, it's a real discovery of a completely different landscape without its snowpack: calluna, juniper or blueberry moorland, beech and fir forest and herds of cows that spend the summer here in the mountain pastures, etc. 🐄

The hike begins at the arrival of the chairlift with a climb of approximately 35 minutes on a rocky path. Our efforts are amply rewarded once we arrive at the Col de Cadène (1955 m.) and its grandiose panorama over the Ariège mountains. The perfect spot to take the time to appreciate the present moment, feel the warmth of the sun on your neck ☀️, open your eyes wide to scan the horizon or listen to hear a raptor yelp. 🦅

The essentials of a hike in the high mountains

During this hike, we quickly flirt with the 2 meters above sea level : no doubt, we are in the high mountains. Some precautions needed, here are a few.

👉 Before leaving : check the weather which can change very quickly, choose a route that corresponds to your state of form, inform a loved one of your outing...

👉 Equip yourself well : take high shoes that hold the ankles well, protect yourself from the sun, rain or cold, take something to hydrate and eat, use a means of orientation (map, application for hiking, etc.), also think about a small first aid kit…

👉 During the hike : keep your dog on a leash (even if he obeys your finger and eye 😊), respect the fauna and flora, leave with your waste, close the gates behind you...

Picnic at the Appy pond

Since Cadene pass, the path continues quietly before a steeper descent on Appy pond (count approximately 1 hour from Cadène). There, the decor is idyllic. The lake water sparkles and in the background the mountain ridge line stands out. 🏞️

Around the lake, the vegetation oscillates between shades of green and beige. Some horses graze quietly nearby. We sit down to taste our picnic. Yes, yes I say “tasting”… Have you noticed how much a tin of sardines in oil or a ham and butter seems to be the best snack of our life after walking in the mountains?!

To note, there is no tree near the lake, if the sun is shining, you have to equip yourself accordingly (cap, sunglasses, sunscreen…) 🧢. It is recommended not to bathe. Indeed, both humans and dogs potentially bring diseases to aquatic fauna and pollutants in these fragile environments (cream, anti-tick products for example).

Practical information

If you encounter animals in the summer pastures, think about going around the herd. As a reminder, le emergency number is 112 ☎️: be careful the network does not go everywhere!

On this territory, the community of municipalities, in partnership with the Regional Natural Reserve of St Barthélemy and mountain professionals has been programming for 3 years raiding operations. The goal : guides come to meet hikers to discuss safety, environmental or heritage issues. Will you have the chance to meet them? 🤔

Hiking circuits that adapt to our desires !

If we had initially planned to make a round trip, we realize that we finally have enough energy to climb to the Col d'Appy. The ascent is a bit steep but the scenery before us is extraordinary. Each break gives us the opportunity to admire the view of the lake in its setting of rocks and moors.

Once at the pass, you can reach the station. But this desire to continue enjoying the mountains leads us to push on to the Girabal pass, located on a summit ridge of the Tabe massif ⛰️. The atmosphere is rocky and some passages are a bit dizzying: vigilance is required.

Again, we could extend the hike by climbing to the peak St Barthelemy. However, this time, fatigue begins to be felt and we decide to take the path that leads back to the station.

In total we walked 4 hours not including the lunch break. A very beautiful hike from which we come back invigorated, serene and happy!


Here in the Monts d'Olmes, even in summer, thefamily atmosphere meets sportsmanship ! This charming resort – which saw the birth Perrine Laffont, the famous Olympic champion in mogul skiing, – offers all a range of activities for both contemplatives and adrenaline junkies !




100% Ariègeoise, I know the destination (almost) like the back of my hand! Walks, guided tours, castles, picturesque villages, festivals ... I have traveled the roads of Ariège for years, looking for new things! I love living intense moments with my friends and my little family, which will leave me lasting memories!

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