The hike to Refugio Góriz via Ordesa Valley was our first hike in the Spanish Pyrenees. It was a fantastic introduction to the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park with it’s waterfalls, Canyons and spectacular mountain views that have been carved out by glaciers. As I mentioned in my previous post about the Ordesa Valley Hike to Cola de Caballo, we didn’t actually intend to go the whole way to Refugio Góriz. It’s just once we saw some of the views in the Ordesa Valley we couldn’t resist adding an extra few kilometers to our day. This allowed us to see the valley from above, along with epic views of 3rd highest mountain in the Pyrenees, Monte Perdido.
This wasn’t a particularly easy as a day hike BUT if you do decide to follow our footsteps, the 1230m cumulative elevation gain is spread out over the 28km, so it is not actually as challenging as it sounds. The beautiful views will give you extra energy to manage to whole thing.
Refugio Góriz Hike – the basics
Distance: 13 km (one way) we came back via a different route
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 840m
High Point: 2160m
Time: 5-6 hours (one way)
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
The 10 essentials.
There is a toilet at the trailhead and at Refugio Góriz.
You can sleep at the refugio, and they also have plenty of food and drinks for sale.
It may be difficult for paws on the steepest sections, but we met happy doggos at the top.
How hard is it?
Challenging. It’ll be over 25km if you do this in a day. You can make it much easier by staying at Refugio Góriz.
Spain has fantastic maps that you can download or use the Mapas de España app. We also found the Maps Me app very useful, especially as you don’t need data to use it.
Refugio Góriz trail map
The map below shows our entire day-hike, rather than just the section to the refugio. You can read the first section of the hike to Ordesa Valley Hike to Cola de Caballo here. Then, you can read about our return via Faja de Pelay here.
Refugio Góriz Hike – getting started
Cola de Caballo to Refugio Góriz
The path is rocky, so you need to watch your steps. But it is easy to follow and very fun.
Every step takes you higher up the Ordesa Canyon, so you gradually get more and more epic views. This is looking back down the Ordesa Valley. *Swoons*
Refugio Góriz Hike – How busy is it?
Compared to hike up past the waterfalls, this final couple of kilometers to Refugio Góriz was pretty quiet. I think we only overtook three groups the whole way up. Having said that, the Refugio is the only accommodation within Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, so it was busy once we’d made it all the way there.
To be fair, even if this trail was busy, I think it would still be worth it, as the views were truly awe-inspiring. I loved the moment when we found ourselves above the main Ordesa Canyon, with new views into this glacier-carved wonderland.
Crocuses in September!?
I have to admit, I did not expect to see a large number of flowers in the alpine meadows in September. However the grasses were sprinkled with patches of crocuses. Aren’t they lovely!?
I didn’t get any photos, but once we made it up into this upper valley, we started to see marmots hanging around the trail. We could also start to see the refugio in the distance (if you have keen eyes, it’s above the cliffs in the photo below.)
The pathway alternates from easy walks through grassy meadows to steep scrambles up cliffs.
Don’t forget to keep turning around to see the fantastic views behind you.
The path isn’t always super easy to follow, but there are red and white markers painted onto rocks to keep you on the right track.
I loved being able to see the giant swirls of rocks that have been squished and ground down by glaciers. It is such unusual scenery.
We made it!
This is the view up to Refugio Góriz with Monte Perdido (one of the three sisters) looming in the background. These three peaks make up the largest limestone massif in Europe.
This was the busiest area of the entire day! There were plenty of people making use of the toilets and picnic benches. If you want to venture inside of the refugio, you need to take off your hiking boots and leave them in a locker. You then wear crocs or slippers to go inside.
We bought some well-deserved chocolate, then ate it while we watched marmots play on the slopes of Monte Perdido.
Heading back down
As we had not originally planned to come this far, we did not spend long before we thought we better get going again. We re-traced our steps back down to Cola de Caballo before finishing the final leg of our hike, back to our car.
I’ll leave you with a photo of the path along the top of the Ordesa Canyon. This walk really is gorgeous, but I thought I should mention you may not enjoy it if you hate heights. There were some pretty impressive drops from the pathways!
We finished our hike by returning via the Faja de Pelay pathway, half way up the canyon walls. However if you have less energy, it would be easier to return past all the waterfalls on the valley floor.
I hope you like the look of the walk up to Refugio Góriz. I think it would be even better to stay the night up high, then explore more alpine trails in Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. I’d love to return and do just that! Anyway, please click on the images below if you fancy it, to save this post for later.