Andorra Hikes – Estanys de Tristaina loop

Andorra Hikes – Estanys de Tristaina loop

Estanys de Tristaina hike in Andorra - Rainy day hikes can be stunningWhat is the first thing you want to do in a new country? We always like to pop out for a hike. So when we visited Andorra on our Catalan Road trip, we wanted to squish at least one hike into our time there. The Estanys de Tristaina trail (or Tristaina Lakes trail) is an easy walk into a mountain bowl that holds three lakes, right on the Andorran border with France. If you fancy a more difficult walk, you could extend this hike up along the top ridge of the surrounding mountains. The weather was too misty for us to attempt that, but I am sure it would be stunning.

Hiking in Andorra

If you like walking, then summertime in Andorra sounds like heaven! We visited the tourist office and they gave us a booklet filled with possible hikes as well as a map of the country including the national parks.

I was very tempted to learn about the new circular Coronallacs Trail, which links Andorra’s four manned refuges in a long distance (58 mile) loop. But there are hundreds of trails both for day hikes and long distance hikes that span multiple countries. Whatever your level of ability, you’ll find something to suit you. We chose the Estanys de Tristaina loop as we love climbing up high, and as we didn’t have long, we wanted a good effort-to-view ratio!

Estanys de Tristaina hiking map

Estanys de Tristaina loop – the basics

Distance: 4.15 km as a loop
Elevation Gain:
180m
High Point: 
2330m
Time: 2.5 hours
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
Sensible shoes. This is an easy walk *if* you are dressed appropriately. It’s not a spot for flip-flops or high heels.
The 10 essentials.
Dogs:
Must stay on a leash.
How hard is it?
Easy to Moderate. This was one of the easiest hikes we did in the Pyrenees. It was short, without much elevation gain. There were a couple of moments near the start where you need to climb up rocks, but after that, the path is very easy to follow.

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Estanys de Tristaina loop – Getting started

We drove all the way up to Ordino Arcalís ski resort and parked beside La Coma restaurant. There was plenty of parking near the top, but it was raining when we arrived, so there were only a few hard-core dog walkers and not many tourists.

The hike starts with a quick climb up to a trail along the mountainside. The views were pretty rubbish when we stared in the rain. Luckily mountain weather changes quickly so I can show you the view from our return journey. Not bad eh!? The other side of those mountains is Spain.

Andorra Views

Once you’ve climbed over some rocks, you should be rewarded with fab views South into the valleys of Andorra. You can sort of see the Pyrenees through the mist.

Estanys de Tristaina

Next we turned to walk around the Tristaina lakes. The first lake was Estany Primer. This is looking North, so the border with France is at the top of those mountains.

I love these autumnal views when the grass is golden (or soggy brown in the rain!) It reminds me of Ireland, although the scale of the mountains is much larger.

Hike in the rain

If you arrive in Andorra on a wet day, it is still worth exploring. You can see from these photos my camera lens was wet but it was fun to explore! On soggy days you might also get the whole area to yourselves like we did. Having said that, it was a bit chilly! We had considered climbing up higher, but in the end we turned back at the Estany De Mes Amunt lake.

Sometimes grey skies just mean gorgeous moody views.

Once we hiked around the third lake, Estany del Mig, the sun came out and lit it up slightly. Looking at that colour, I have a feeling in the sun, these lakes will shine like bright blue jewels.

It’s gorgeous. This is the view back to the first lake, Estany Primer and into Andorra. I bet this is all covered in snow (and skiers) by now!

There are three possible paths around the Tristaina Lakes. One close to the lakes (our walk), one in the middle of the bowl (photo below) and then one at the top of the ridge. Those higher paths are calling me back to Andorra to explore more.

So, we hiked in the clouds, and it was fab!

I should probably mention that as soon as we drove down from the mountains, the rest of Andorra was bathed in sunlight! It just goes to show, even in a teeny country, you can never trust weather up high in the mountains! If you like the idea of hiking in Andorra, please do click on the pins below to pin them.

Estanys de Tristaina hike in Andorra - gorgeous views Estanys de Tristaina hike in Andorra - Rainy day hikes can be stunning Estanys de Tristaina hike in Andorra - Blue lakes on an easy trail

15 thoughts on “Andorra Hikes – Estanys de Tristaina loop

  1. Fabulous photos as always, the dodgy weather makes it all look very Scottish. You’re right that low cloud and mist can somehow enhance a walk though, much more dramatic and moody isn’t it? Another amazingly beautiful hike.

    1. You’re right, it does look a little Scottish! At least in the photos. I have a feeling if we go back in summer it will seem like a different area entirely…

    1. I think that is why I liked it so much. Once you get up close the ground wasn’t boggy like Ireland, but the mist and clouds did make it look a bit like Tully.

  2. I always admire your talent for navigating the map! It’s great to hear people like you still existed. A true wanderers at heart! The grey clouds is still another form of art. Thank you for sharing this when I’m ready to hike I’ll surely use some of your tips. 😁

    1. Thanks April! I have to admit, maps are even easier to follow now we all have phones, but I always like planning hikes using a proper printed map…

    1. Yeah, we were a bit chilly by the end of the walk, but it wasn’t crazily cold, considering we were high in the Alpine.

      You’re right though, going out and walking is a good way to get a better an idea of the lay of the land.

  3. This looks like such a great hike and the scenery is so beautiful! Under 3 hours is also the perfect hiking time so you can still have the rest of the day to relax. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’m definitely adding this to my hiking bucket list. Love that it’s an easy walk but can be extended to a more difficult challenge. It’s so beautiful even with all those clouds. Can’t imagine what it’d look like on a sunnier day!

    1. Yes, September/October was great for weather, apart from this day (and it was reeeeally cheap for accommodation)

      It would also be fantastic in the summer, but you’d have more bugs and prices would be higher.

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