This superb hike will allow you to cross beautiful forests before reaching the Bassiès ponds. They extend over 2.5km, from the Etang d'Escalès to the Etang du Pla de la Font, passing through the long pond and the majestic Etang Majeur.
Each of these ponds is suitable for a peaceful cool break. The bravest of hikers will reach the last pond!


Start access:
In Tarascon-sur-Ariège, take the road towards Vicdessos. Arrived in Vicdessos, continue on Auzat and the valley of Montcalm. 2,5 kmafter Auzat, stop the car in a large hairpin bend turning to the left which allows parking, a place called "Massada". There is also a large car park with picnic area a few meters below. The path, indicated by a sign to the right of the road (when you go up), begins just in the curve of the hairpin. It is also possible to join this route by the Pont de Gers a little higher.

Location

Ariège Pyrenees

South of Ariège, on the border with Andorra, are the Ariège Pyrenees. Between mountainous landscapes and activities, there are many [...]

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Your itinerary

Map List

1 - Massada car park

The start is at "Massada", the path immediately crosses the Vicdessos stream on a footbridge and then rises slightly in the forest towards the southwest. The ascent is accentuated, the path turns imperceptibly towards the West. Get to the junction with the path coming from Pont de Gers.

2 - Gers bridge junction

Continue north-west uphill. By multiple laces, cross the track of the power station.

3 - Power station track

Cross it and continue on the steep path just opposite, still heading north-west. Then attack the most inclined part of this outward route. The path joins the GR®0 (which comes from Marc via an old pipeline). There are many tight laces. Pass imperceptibly on the southern flank of the valley of the Bassiès stream.
The very severe climb ends, the path passes under sumptuous beech trees and descends very gently before arriving at a welcome source! The forest clears up and the path opens onto a landscape preceding a glacial lock, zigzagging between rocks. Reach the penstock, very clearly marked on the map.

4 - Forced driving

Continue with a more pronounced climb and attack the lock above which is the first lake (Escales). Arrive before the Etang d'Escales dam at a small stone bridge that spans the stream.

5 - Escales dam

From here, it's a walk in the lake cirque of Bassiès. Get to the end of the Etang d'Escalès.

6 - Etang d'Escales

Before reaching the Etang d'Escales, head towards the small Etang Long, and a little higher up the superb Etang Majeur.

7 - Escales dam

Do not go back over the stone bridge. Continue on the left bank of the Bassiès stream. Very easily, heading south-east, find the stony mule track which first rises very quickly over the rocks. Descend by laces in ledges, initially by the rocks then in a forest of birches which thickens gradually during the descent. Even if this path is very well maintained and well laid out, it is nonetheless very tiring, the descent is long and straining on the knees. You will be rewarded with a permanent view of the Vicdessos valley and the peaks that dominate it to the east. Join the top of the power station trail.

8 - Power plant

Go down the track from the power station for a few minutes heading south, the descent is very gentle, to find the crossroads of the outward route.

9 - Power station track

Find the outward route to return to the departure car park.