Refugio Góriz Hike from Ordesa Valley

Refugio Góriz Hike from Ordesa Valley

Refugio Góriz - gorgeous wildflowers in Ordesa y Monte Perdido National ParkThe 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

Ordesa Valley to Refugio Góriz MapDistance: 13 km (one way) we came back via a different route
Cumulative Elevation Gain:
High Point:
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

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Cola de Caballo to Refugio Góriz

Now this is where the hike starts to get exciting. You have two choices to reach Refugio Góriz. You can either take the short, almost vertical climbing path, or the slower (slightly more sane) hiking path. The hiking path is longer, with plenty of switchbacks. As we did not bring any climbing gear or ropes, and we’re not loopy, we went with that!

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!?

Marmot time

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.

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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.

Refugio Góriz

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.

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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.

Refugio Góriz Hike - stunning scenery above the Ordesa Valley Refugio Góriz - gorgeous wildflowers in Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park Refugio Góriz Hike - for Epic places to stay in Spain

45 thoughts on “Refugio Góriz Hike from Ordesa Valley

  1. Spectacular hike and amazing views. Slightly unusual rocks too which makes it even more interesting. What a great day out but you must have been a bit exhausted by the end of it?

    1. We were a bit! But we slept in a little the next day (and then did an even bigger walk!)

      There must be something magic in Spanish food that revived us both!

  2. Now you have me dreaming about a Pyrenees holiday! This hike looks awesome and I agree it would be cool to stay up there for the night. It’s nice that you can buy chocolate at the top!

    1. If we had not brought up bread and cheese I would have been tempted by the hot meals up there too! The food looked really tasty!

  3. I have to be honest, the Spanish Pyrenees weren’t on my radar but this looks like quite the beautiful hike. I’d love to do it when the crocuses are in bloom too, what stunning flowers to add to the already beautiful landscape. Thanks for being honest about where the trail gets busy, it’s always good to know these things to set expectations. I’ll have to venture out there one day!

    1. Same here Natasha! I always here about hiking in the Alps, but there were soooo many walks in the Pyrenees. I think we will have to go back as the facilities were fantastic and the views spectacular!

      Almost everyone we met were Spanish speakers, so I think they have kept these areas secret from the English! We only found other English speakers on the Costa Brava by the beaches.

    1. Oooh if you go, but don’t fancy the hikes, you can also take 4x4s up to some amaaaazing viewpoints! The following day we struggled up a couple of mountains in the heat, only to find other people who had been driven up(!)

      I actually really enjoy the hikes up, but I realize not everyone is into that! 😉

    1. Don’t worry, even if you just do the shorter hike to the Ordesa Valley, it was still amaaaazing. My parents had great fun doing a mini version of this walk (there were plenty of shorter loops past fantastic waterfalls)

    1. Hehe, it’s funny, the marmots were the one thing that made it seem a bit like Canada! I would looove it if there were more refugio-type places with hot food at the end of Canadian hikes!!

    1. Heh, it wasn’t the poshest chocolate, but everything tastes better at the top of canyons!

      Those crocuses really surprised me. In the UK and Canada we seem them at the start of spring. I didn’t expect to see them in autumn!!

  4. This walk looks amazing! I bet the place is as beautiful as it looks in your pictures! Thanks for the tips, will remember about it when I’ll go to Spain!

  5. Woo! This is a long hike but it looks beautiful! I’ve been dying to see more of Spain since I’ve only seen Barcelona. The views from the Refugio Góriz look amazing! I love the little shop area as well.

    1. We flew into Barcelona, so it was pretty easy to reach these mountains from there! Spain’s hikes blew me away!

  6. How have I never heard of this hike?! Definitely adding this to my “someday” list of hikes 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. You will love it! The whole area is stunning! Have you ever been to Aigüestortes’s National Park? I didn’t write about it yet, but that area was also truly stunning!

    1. Yaaaaay! You are going to loooove it there!

      Come back over the next couple of weeks (or just ask me when you start to plan) I have loads more amazing places to share, and it can be hard to find good info for the Pyrenees hikes in English. (apart from the Camino De Santiago – there is loooads about that!!)

  7. gorgeous views! and it looks so nice to be on a trail with so few other people there. 25 km in one day is quite a lot, but seems like a great way to burn off some of those delicious tortillas and tapas :).

    1. I have a feeling it might be busier in the summertime, but yes it was super busy when we were there. I think we did burn off our giant cheese baguettes (and the mountains of Catalan food we ate that night…Om nom nom)

  8. Wow wow wow, I had no idea that there were hikes this stunning in Spain!! I definitely need to add the Spanish Pyrenees to my list. I don’t think I could drag my parents on THIS hike, but I’d definitely love to do it!

    1. I honestly think you would love it. Not just in Ordesa, but all the places we visited in the Pyrenees were stunning!

      p.s. I think your parents might manage the hike up to the Refugio, it wasn’t much harder than the hike to the teahouse in Banff, and they managed that!

  9. Oh wow what a view! I love hiking but never considered Spain to be a great destination for that.. Looks like I’ll have to check it out 🙂

    1. Yeah, we were mostly visiting to see where my mother in law was from, but once I started researching i found soooo many amazing walks in Spain!

  10. I’ve been wanting to visit the Spanish Pyrenees for awhile now and these gorgeous photos make me want to book a ticket now! Love that little photo carousal you did on the iPad graphic in the middle of the post, super cute and clever!

    1. Do you know which area you would like to explore? We loved Ordesa, and the area around the Vall de Boí. It’s such a good combination of tasty Catalan food, pretty medieval villages and fantastic mountain views.

      Andorra seemed pretty amazing for hiking too.

  11. Ooh, it was so worth carrying on! What gorgeous hiking country! I was thinking it looked like limestone, just before you mentioned it – it has some similarities with parts of the Rockies and the Yorkshire Dales. I like the look of that walk along the ledge (even though I don’t like heights…) so I should go read your next post 🙂

    1. We thought it looked a bit like the Rockies in some places too. I feel like now I need to visit the Yorkshire Dales!

      1. Definitely – check out Malham Cove and Gordale Scar for big limestone cliffs, Watch out for the sink holes… Ingleborough and Pen Y Ghent are unique mountains too!

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