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Étangs du Fourcat and the refuge

Sport, Pedestrian sports, Hiking itinerary in Auzat
17.5 km
7h 30min
Hard
  • This hike is part of the GR10 and presents no particular technical difficulties. After a few hours' walking, you'll be rewarded for your efforts with a fantastic view of the Fourcat ponds!

  • Access: from Vicdessos, on the D8, pass Auzat. Shortly after the Capunta bridge, turn left onto the road to Artiès, which you'll have to pass (there's a fountain and toilet on the right-hand side of the road...). You must park in the Pradières-d'en-haut parking lot on the right.
  • Guidebook with maps/step-by-step
    0h00 - Pradières d'en haut (1150m).
    From the parking lot, follow the route to the Fourcat ponds/refuge (white and red markings). The path climbs up through a birch wood, then after a few minutes, cross the stream by the footbridge to join the route up the right bank.
    Walk a few metres along the road, then the path starts off to the right and leads through ferns.
    The path continues through a wood of birch and hazel, crossing small streams in places. The wood gradually opens up, you're now walking in the open and the slope becomes steeper.

    0:45 - Orris de la Coume (1522m).
    Pass the orris de la Coume (take a little time to visit them!), then pass the lock thanks to a lace. The path now climbs steadily, through gispet and rhododendrons, and you'll soon see the Izourt dam.

    1h30 - Izourt dam (1647m).

    The section leading up to the refuge du Fourcat from the right bank of the étang d'Izourt will henceforth be reclassified as "Accès GR10". You won't see the GR10 signposting, but the path does exist.

    Pass in front of the buildings and go up immediately afterwards, slightly to the left (do not follow the path down to the lake on the right).
    You are now overlooking the pond, and the path initially runs flat, then soon descends towards the lake.
    At the end of the lake, cross the first stream coming down from the Petsiguer ponds, then climb up a little, the path then descends to reach the southern end of the étang d'Izourt.
    The path climbs due south through rhododendrons, then the slope steepens again.
    A number of hairpin bends help you get over this tough climb, before you reach a flat area.

    2h30 - Orri de la Caudière (1942m).
    A sign indicates the direction of the refuge, continue to the right to cross a footbridge a little further on. The path continues south-westwards into a rocky area where you may need to use your hands. A little higher up, you pass by a waterfall, then, after a final effort, you see a large cairn (known here as the "Stone Man") and arrive at the weir of the Petit étang Fourcat.

    3:45 - Petit étang Fourcat (2340m).
    At last you can see the refuge, perched on its eagle's nest. Skirt the pond to the right, and climb steadily towards the étang Fourcat weir. The path leads off to the left to reach the refuge, 200 m away.

    4h15 - Refuge des étangs Fourcat (2445m).

    Return via the Petsiguer ponds:
    Distance: 10km
    Elevation gain: +115m and -1390m
    Duration: 3h40

    From the refuge, head east (white and red markings) and descend towards the dike. The path overlooks the lake, with two short sections requiring you to put your hands down a little, before reaching a pass overlooking the Peyre Mique valley.

    0h20 - Col (2419m). Descend a slightly steep couloir for around 150m, then continue to the right (heading east) on the path that crosses scree. At a fork in the path, continue right up a valley towards the Etang de la Goueille.

    1h00 - Etang de la Goueille (2393m). Leave the GR which continues towards Port de l'Albeille, and immediately turn left across the weir (yellow markings). The path climbs steadily northwards, reaching a pass overlooking the Petsiguer ponds (2526m). Descend in a north-easterly direction towards the ponds.

    1h40 - Etangs de Petsiguer (2300m). Go around the first pond to the left, past the shepherd's hut (Orris de Petsiguer), then continue along the left bank of the ponds. Past the weir, a well-marked path descends to the left, down the mountainside, until it reaches the intersection with the GR10 A, at 1986m.

    2h30 - Intersection with GR10 A (1986m). Turn right for 300m, then, at the intersection, leave the GR10 A and turn left down the path to the étang d'Izourt (yellow markings). The path crosses the mountainside overlooking the lake, then rejoins the ascent route shortly before the dam.

    2h50 - Barrage d'Izourt (1647m). Follow the same route down to the Pradières d'en haut parking lot.

    3h40 - Pradières d'en haut parking lot (1150m).
  • Departure
    Auzat
  • Difference in height
    1388 m
  • Access: from Vicdessos, on the D8, pass Auzat. Shortly after the Capunta bridge, turn left onto the road to Artiès, which you'll have to pass (there's a fountain and toilet on the right-hand side of the road...). You must park in the Pradières-d'en-haut parking lot on the right.
  • Environment
    • Mountain location
    • Pond within 5 km
  • Spoken languages
    • French
  • Documentation
    GPX / KML files allow you to export the trail of your hike to your GPS (or other navigation tool)
1388 meters of difference in height
  • Maximum altitude : 2442 m
  • Minimum altitude : 1144 m
  • Total positive elevation : 1388 m
  • Total negative elevation : -1389 m
  • Max positive elevation : 780 m
  • Min positive elevation : -728 m
Services
  • Equipment
    • Car park
    • Free car park
  • Services
    • Pets welcome
      • Dogs must be kept on a leash due to the presence of herds.
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