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Hiking Mont Ne & Lac de Bareilles
With far reaching panoramic views across the Pyrenees and a beautiful lakeside spot for lunch, this adrenalin pumping Mont Né and Lac de Bareilles hike is a firm favourite.
At a Glance
When to Go
May to October is the best time for hiking in the Pyrenees mountains of France. For a less crowded hike, head for Gavarnie in May, June or September.
Cars and motorhomes can park at Port de Bales at 1755m at the foot of Mont Ne. In summer, there is a small van serving hot drinks, crepes and waffle. You may be able to wild camp in a tent or motorhome overnight at Port de Bales, a really beautiful spot with zero light pollution, perfect for star-gazing!
The descent to the lake from Mont Ne is quite steep but a linear hike up and down Mont Ne would be a great first hike for smaller children. For a 2.5km shorter hike and 100m less altitude gain, head back to the car park from the standing stone at Port de Pierrefitte
There are no toilets at the car park. For facilities you need to drive to the nearest village of Bourg d’ Oueil, about 6km away.
Port de Bales can be busy as it’s accessible by car. The hike itself is usually relatively quiet in comparison to some of its more famous neighbours. In summer the lake may be busy.
Other Things to Know
The road from Bourg d’Oueil is well maintained and passable by large vehicles. There may well be lots of cyclists as this is a popular route.
Mont Ne Map
This has all the ingredients to make it one of the best hikes in the Pyrenees National Park – spectacular views, great trails, interesting flora and fauna and a lake to swim in!
From the car park, cross the road heading north west and pickup the path between the two signposts. You’ll climb a grassy slope and after 600m or so, you will reach a flat ridge. There are a number of tracks from here, pick the best one on your right. Stay on this track which will start to ascend around a number of hairpins and bends. At 1180m, after the last hairpin, leave the track to head west along a small path which rises straight up the mountain.
Follow this well-trodden path up the steep slope. The grass gives way to a rocky surface and the path steepens as you ascend to a ridge at 2120m. From here, turn left for the final push to the top of the Mont Ne at 2147m.
The summit will reward you with breathtaking panoramic views of the Pyrenees in every direction, with may of the famous 3000m+ peaks on show. The large cairn makes a great place to stop for a few moments and enjoy the peace of this beautiful spot. To the south-west, Lac de Bareilles glistens in the distance and to the west, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre and its observatory are visible. You may also see Griffon vultures, which are very common in the area.
From the summit, continue along the trail which follows the ridge, climbing up and over a stile. The descent is steep but manageable unless there has been recent rain, when the grass will be wet and slippery, The trail will take you down to the Port de Pierrefitte at 1855m, where you will find a standing stone surrounded with a stone circle.
Take the signed path to right and south-west to the Lac de Bareilles. The path is clear but uneven underfoot as you descend. The lake is good for swimming in summer and makes a grand lunch spot.
When you’re ready to return, follow the path back to the standing stone and then take the main track to the left, heading north-east. This was a paved road some time ago which has deteriorated and makes a perfect return route with fantastic views across the Vallée d’Oueil. You will pass the Refuge du Mont Ne before returning to the car park at Port de Bales, where you started the hike.