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Route to Bernatuara glacier and Bernatuara Peak

The Bujaruelo Valley, included in the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, offers visitors magnificent natural landscapes of great beauty. There are several hiking routes and ascents that can be done from here. Perhaps one of the most popular excursions or routes for visitors is the one that climbs up to the glacier lake of Bernatuara from the Bujaruelo refuge. This route, as well as allowing us to enjoy spectacular views, puts us in the shoes of the ancient and current inhabitants of the Bujaruelo valley as we follow one of the routes that connects it with its French neighbours.

How to get to Bujaruelo refuge

To get to San Nicolás de Bujaruelo we have to take the town of Torla as a reference point. Once there, we must follow the road we arrived on, which crosses the town, and continue on to Los Navarros Bridge. Once there, leave the road that climbs up to the Ordesa meadow to your right and follow the track that leads to Bujaruelo. This track has paved and unpaved sections, but in the summer season there are usually no problems. Once in San Nicolás de Bujaruelo there is a large parking area next to the refuge.

Itinerary of the route to the Bernatuara glacier lake from Bujaruelo

From Bujaruelo refuge to Bernatuara glacier lake 4.9 km

The car park next to the Bujaruelo refuge (0h 00min) is the starting point for this beautiful and demanding hiking route in the Pyrenees. The start could not be more interesting, as it takes us across the photographed Roman bridge of Bujaruelo. There are numerous informative signs and signs of the different routes that pass through here, including a route of the Way of St. James. We start to climb following the signs that take us to the Bernatuara lake and the Bujaruelo pass. This route is followed by mountaineers who climb towards the Sarradets refuge to crown the Taillón or the Gabietos, among other Pyrenean peaks. The path begins to follow the typical zigzags that partly reduce the difference in altitude that we are overcoming. After a while we reach the turning we should take, saying goodbye to the path that climbs up to the pass of Bujaruelo.

The route now takes us effortlessly to the riverbed, which we cross thanks to a metal footbridge.

After doing so, we enter the forest following the stone milestones that now mark the route. We quickly leave the forest behind us to start the ascent that separates us from the Bernatuara lake. The Sandaruelo refuge invites us to take a short break before tackling the tough stretch ahead of us. The trodden path and the stone milestones that occasionally mark the route guide us as we go up the ravine that gives its name to the refuge we have just visited. There are many shortcuts that we will find, shortcuts that, in exchange for shortening a small stretch, force us to make a greater effort if we follow them. We will also have to cross the stream several times, generally without major complications. After the tough ramps, our route turns to the right and begins a gentle, practically flat stretch that will take us to the pass behind which the lake hides. Once at the pass, at our feet we find the Bernatuara glacier lake (2h 40min) wedged between the surrounding mountains.

From Bernatuara glacier lake to Bernatuara Peak 1 Km

We descend to the very edge of the Bernatuara glacier lake to skirt it on the left, with our sights set on the steep path we are about to follow. Almost without noticing we reach the Bernatuara pass, marked by a large stone cairn. This point also serves as a natural border between France and Spain, and has been a crossing point for livestock farmers and inhabitants of the area since time immemorial. We turn left to tackle the last stretch of ascent to the summit of Bernatuara Peak (3h 25min). After enjoying the spectacular views that this peak offers, including the Otal valley, the Gabietos, the Taillón, Monte Perdido and even the Vignemale, we start the descent that will take us back to the lake. From there we only have to return to Bujaruelo following the same route we came up.

Tips for doing the Bernatuara glacier lake route

1-There is a considerable slope to overcome, so it is important to be in good physical shape and to take it easy.

2-On much of the route there will be no shade at all, so beware of the heat.

3-The Bujaruelo car park is quite large, but it tends to fill up easily, forcing us to park on the side of the road if we have arrived too late.

4-It is preferable to get up early, especially in summer, as we won't have so many parking problems and we will be able to tackle the most demanding sections without so much heat.

Waypoints of the route
1-Bujaruelo mountain hut 0:00h 1350m 0km 30T 737007 4730980
2-Bernatuara glacier lake 2:40h 2275m 4.8Km 30T 737440 4733791
3-Bernatuara Peak 3:25h 2517m 5.8Km 30T 736923 4733856

Coordinates UTM Datúm WGS84

Profile of the route to Bernatuara glacier lake from Bujaruelo

Profile of the route to Bernatuara glacier lake from Bujaruelo

ico-distancia-totalDistance: 11.8Km

ico-tiempo-totalTime: 5:10h

ico-dificultadDifficulty: Moderate

ico-desnivel-acumuladoSlope: 2390m

ico-desnivel-positivoSlope +: 1195m

ico-desnivel-negativoSlope -: 1195m

ico-altitud-maximaMaximum altitude: 2517m

ico-altitud-minimaMinimum altitude: 1350m


Topographical map of the route to Bernatuara glacier lake from Bujaruelo

ico IGN

This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 146-3 1:25.000".

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Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park
Aínsa-Sobrarbe, Huesca
Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park

¿Did you know that...

The Bujaruelo valley is 20 km long, starting at the bridge of Los Navarros and reaching the col of Los Mulos. Several valleys converge here: the Batanes, Sandaruelo, Ordiso and Otal valleys.

Don't miss out...

The transhumance that takes place every year in June and September. More than a thousand head of cattle go up to the French pastures in June from the Broto Valley, passing through Bujaruelo. They come back down in September, a tradition that has become a festival of transhumance.


Go to 8 Walks and excursions in Huesca

Go to Hiking equipment What to bring?

Go to 8 Hiking Routes in the Pyrenees that you have to do


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Route information updated on 14-09-2020. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.

All the times are approximate and take an orientative character, the stops have not been taken into account, no matter how small they are. All the information related to the route, texts, images, videos, maps, diagrams, tracks, towns, and places of tourist interest are published as a guide, and may not coincide with the current state of each place. Before undertaking any activity, assess your technical knowledge, your physical condition, find out about the weather and the variations that the route may undergo, equip yourself correctly, be prudent and responsible at all times, and do not exceed your capabilities. SENDITUR is not responsible for any misuse or inappropriate use of the comprehensive guides of its routes and/or publications as well as its electronic guides, nor for any variations in their descriptions for the aforementioned reasons, and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. We also encourage you to read books and specialised guides to complement the information described above.

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