Imagine a sunny summer day. You are hiking through a forest surrounded with majestic mountain peaks. You are following a little path, going up and up, in the shadow of century old trees. The air is pure and everything is quiet. And then finally here it is. You reach this beautiful crystal-clear-water mountain lake. You are left speechless by the breathtaking view of this lake lost in the middle of the mountains.
I have been going to the Gaube Lake many times with my family ever since I was a child and, no matter how many times I go, I always feel the same enchantment when I reach this beautiful mountain lake. After a rather hard hike, it is always the same satisfaction to reach this magical place located in the middle of the mountains. It is a place where I feel at peace and loaded with positive energy.
The Gaube Lake is located in the French Pyrénées at an altitude of 1725m. If you want to discover this amazing site, the easiest thing to do is to stay in the city of Cauterets.
Cauteret is also the starting point of many other hikes. We usually do the Gaube lake hike the first day as we are still full of energy and then on the next day we do the easier Marcadau valley hike. Before going, check that the lac is open to the public as it closes during the ski season when there is snow.
Here is what an “energy weekend” in the Pyrénées looks like.
Day #1: the Gaube lake hike
Before you start hiking, I would recommend that you buy some bread, ham and cheese to have a picnic by the lake. There is a restaurant by the lake but I personally prefer having a picnic. The local products that you will find in Cauterets are very good and they will taste even more delicious after hiking in the mountains for hours!
Once you have your “picnic basket” ready, you need to reach the “Pont d’Espagne”, the starting point of the hike leading you to the lake. It is very easy to reach from Cauterets. You can leave your car on the parking lot and start exploring.
There are two ways to go up to the lake.
The easiest and quickest way would be to take the cable car. Once you get out of the cable car, you will follow an easy little path and you will reach the lake in about twenty minutes.
But if you love hiking (or if you have fear of heights like we do…), you can choose to go on foot. You will reach the lake in about an hour. You will follow quite a steep mountain path and will enjoy an incredible view. Your legs might be sore when you reach the lake, but it is definitely worth it!
Reaching the lake
After an hour hiking, you will reach this incredible place. The water is so clear that you can see the rocks at the bottom of the lake, as well as the reflection of the mountains. The water will take different color notes depending on where you are standing.
A little path on your right will take you to the other side of the lake. The view is equally beautiful from the other side. Once we are on the other side, it is picnic time!
Then you can continue going up to see the lake from a higher perspective.
There are other hiking ways taking you higher in the mountains but we are just amateurs so this is where we usually stop. We then go back the way we went around the lake.
Going back down
To go back down, we usually take another path, close to the cable cars.
Day #2: the Marcadau valley hike
On day 2, we usually like to choose an easier hike (because our legs are sore from the previous day…) and the Marcadau valley is the perfect place. You will also reach this place from the “Pont d’Espagne”, but you will take right after the cable cars (instead of left for the Gaube Lake).
You will be strolling a beautiful mountain path in a valley, along a little river. You might come across a few cows on your way. Here again the water will be amazingly crystal clear. The picnic basket will be a must because there will be no restaurant on your way. Enjoy this beautiful view!
A good address if you are stopping by Cauteret: l’Hôtel du Lion d’Or – 12, Rue Richelieu 65110 Cauterets
I can recommend a very nice place to stay: the Hotel du Lion d’Or. You will be sure to receive a very warm and friendly welcome from the owners of this hotel. It has been in their family since the 19th century! They will be happy to tell you about the region and you will feel at home. What’s more, the rooms are decorated in a very cozy and authentic mountain style. You will love the homemade breakfast buffet with a large variety of dishes. Do not miss the delicious blueberry pie, a local specialty!
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