Visiting the lakes of the Pyrenees is always a magnificent idea, the landscapes where they are located surrounded by imposing peaks and the beautiful hiking routes that lead to them attract quite a few people throughout the year. The start of one of these routes is not far from Formigal, specifically in the spot known as the Corral de las Mulas, and takes us to the Pyrenean lakes of Anayet, from where we can also climb two Pyrenean giants, the Vértice del Anayet and the Pico Anayet itself.
The total route is just over 16.2 km long and starts from the Corral de las Mulas car park, following the course of the GR 11 as it passes through this part of the Pyrenees. After saying goodbye to the ski resort we begin a long and entertaining ascent through a steep ravine. It is a physically demanding route with spectacular scenery at every step. A landscape that becomes even more spectacular when we reach the Pyrenean lakes of Anayet.
An idyllic setting surrounded by mountains such as the Vértice de Anayet, which is relatively easy to climb, but not without effort. Or the steep Anayet peak, whose summit is reserved for more experienced mountaineers, accustomed to aerial passages and almost vertical climbs. In any case, reaching the Pyrenean lakes of Anayet is an unforgettable adventure that will allow us to feel the atmosphere of the Pyrenees with the Midi d'Ossau on the horizon as the culmination of this entertaining route.
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Legend has it that many years ago in the Tena valley there lived a family formed by Anayet and Arafita, who were the parents of the sweet little girl Culivillas. The sweet and beautiful girl spent her days looking after the livestock, animals and plants of the valley and the surrounding mountains. At that time there were strange white ants in the area, unique in the world, called formiga in Aragonese. Culivillas cared for them and pampered them with passion. One day a powerful gentleman passed through the area and became infatuated with the beautiful young woman, to the point that he asked her parents for her hand. Culivillas refused to marry the knight and he was angry and wanted to take her away by force. It was then that the poor girl's screams were met by a mass of white ants, enveloping her completely and leaving the knight terrified, who fled the place like the devil takes the horseman. We don't know if it was because of her displeasure or to protect her from future knights, from that day onwards nothing more was heard of the young Culivillas and never again was a white ant seen in Formigal.
El aparcamiento del corral de la Mulas lo encontraremos al pie de la carretera que conecta Formigal con el puerto de Portalet, justo en el acceso al aparcamiento de Anayet de las pistas de esquí. Un aparcamiento, el de las pistas de esquí que cuando éstas no funcionan también está cerrado al público. El aparcamiento del Corral de las Mulas no es muy grande pero junto a la carretera encontraremos más zonas donde podremos aparcar si éste está ya completo.
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An interesting hiking route for our companion, in which it is important that he is used to physically and technically intense itineraries.
Although there are plenty of areas where your dog can drink, you should take some water with you, especially if the sun is strong, as there is no shade along the whole route.
Livestock and local fauna are a constant sight, especially in the area of the lakes.
The Corral de las Mulas car park (0h 00min), next to the road that connects Formigal with the top of the Portalet pass, is usually the starting point for this beautiful hiking route in the Pyrenees.
When the ski slopes are closed, access to the Anayet car park for vehicles is also usually closed.
That is why we have no choice but to walk up the two kilometres of road that separate us from the car parks of Anayet (0h 30min).
Once at the car parks we must follow the course of the road that takes us through this complex of ski slopes, in search of the start of the path that climbs up to the Pyrenean lakes of Anayet.
This first part of the route coincides for a short time with the route of the tracks. However, we quickly say goodbye to them and head towards the Culivillas ravine, following the indications of the GR 11 markings.
A long ascent to the lakes awaits us ahead, going up this beautiful ravine, without straying too far from the river that flows through it.
The route takes us over the different terraces formed by the river, alternating less demanding stretches with others with a greater gradient. There are several possible routes that we will come across as we ascend, especially when the terrain is steeper and more demanding.
In general, the path we are following does not present any major complications, although it does have some sections that are a little steeper and require us to find the best way to overcome them.
Little by little we approach the head of the ravine, taking advantage of every rest area along the route to enjoy the surrounding landscape.
Each ramp that we overcome makes us think that behind it lies our cherished goal, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are still several steep slopes to overcome before we reach the Pyrenean lakes of Anayet.
After a while and almost without noticing it, the unmistakable silhouette formed by the Anayet Peak and the Anayet Vertex appears before us. This silhouette now marks the proximity of the Pyrenean lakes of Anayet (2h 00min), which we quickly reach.
For many, the lakes are their objective, but there are more than a few who continue with the intention of reaching the summits in front of us.
If this is our case we have two possibilities, the first and most direct is to leave the Pyrenean lake of Anayet on our right and follow the GR 11 route. Another possibility is to skirt the entire lake to the right, as both join up on the ascent to the Anayet Neck, although this route is somewhat longer.
We follow the shortest route, a route that soon says goodbye to the GR 11 that continues along the banks of the lake.
Now with no more marks other than the well-trodden path we are following, we head towards the ascent that will leave us at the Anayet Neck, a beautiful pass that is well worth climbing. The final stretch of the ascent is somewhat steep and forces us to choose well the route to follow from among the many options that have been created by the passage of mountaineers.
Once at the top, at the Anayet Neck, we can enjoy magnificent views that compensate for the effort required to get there.
Here we will have to decide which peak we will climb or which of the two we will crown first. While the final stretch of the ascent to the Vertex of Anayet does not present any major complications, the ascent to Anayet Peak does have several more exposed and complicated passes.
To reach the summit we only have to continue ascending along the path on the left. On more than one occasion we will have to decide which route is more comfortable to reach the summit of the Anayet Vertex (2h 50min). The views from the summit are spectacular and more than compensate for the effort made.
After enjoying the summit we calmly descend to the Neck of Anayet. Once there, we either continue descending or take the path that takes us to the summit of Anayet Peak, the route of which we will surely have already memorised as we descended. This path, after a typical zigzagging through a cobbled area, takes us to the famous stretch of the Anayet chains.
This area is quite exposed and you have to cross it calmly and with all your attention. After passing it, the final ascent to the summit of Anayet Peak (3h 55min) awaits us, another stretch with a certain degree of complication in which we will probably have to use our hands to help us on occasion.
After enjoying the achievement we start the long descent that will take us back to Corral de las Mulas (5h 40min). A descent that we will have to do with caution, especially on the exposed passes that we have already passed.
Of course, we can take the opportunity to border the Pyrenean lake of Anayet on the other side, before taking the path that runs along the ravine that separates us from the end of the route.
Total distance. 16,2 Km
It includes the two ascents and the variant along the lake of Anayet.
Total time. 5h 40min.
This figure does not take into account the time we may be waiting to cross the area of the chains and the Anayet chimney for the area to clear of people.
Time of year. Good weather essential
Usually at the end of the summer the lakes will not have much water, but they are still worth a visit. The landscape that surrounds us at all times is spectacular and on clear days we can enjoy it in all its splendour. In winter, or rather when the ski slopes are open, we can drive up to the Anayet car park, saving a few kilometres, but the route will probably be much more complicated and demanding.
Required equipment. Depending on where you go up
Undoubtedly, depending on our final destination, we will have to include or not certain equipment. While if our objective is the Pyrenean lakes of Anayet we will not need anything out of the ordinary, walking poles, water and food, warm clothing, etc... if we venture to crown the peaks that mark it, certain material is advisable. In particular, if we climb the Anayet Peak, it is not a bad idea to wear a helmet and take some straps that allow us to secure ourselves to the chain. The summit of Vértice del Anayet is not so complicated, but trekking boots to protect your ankle from the rocks and give you a bit more stability are not a bad idea either. Consult our list of material and equipment for hiking. Read more
Slope acumulate. 2250 m Slope positive. 1125 m Slope negative. 1125 m
Maximum altitude. 2574 m Minimum altitude. 1625 m
As for the difficulty of the route in general, we take as a reference the complete route, with the ascent to the two summits. Obviously, if you do not do any of these sections, the difficulty will be lower. Reaching the Pyrenean lakes of Anayet requires a good physical condition as the difference in altitude to be overcome is considerable. The advantage is that if we are only going to visit the lakes the distance is reduced and we can take the ramps with the necessary calm. However, if we climb one or both of the two summits, the effort is considerably greater.
Severity of the environment
The path to the lakes, with the exception of some rather steep areas, is not very complicated as long as the stones are not wet. It is true that as we are walking through a ravine we will pass through areas that are somewhat exposed to falling stones. The greatest risks are to be found in the section of the ascent to Anayet, where we will pass through aerial areas and a somewhat vertical chimney, which added to the generally large number of people, increases the risk that this part of the route has in itself. These are not complicated steps for people accustomed to this type of terrain, as long as they are not wet, icy or snowy, but they can give more than one person a hard time, and even with experience they require caution in their execution.
Up to the lakes we have the GR 11 or Pyrenean Path markings, and the path is clearly trodden, so we should have no problems whatsoever. The ascent to the two summits is no longer marked, but the path is clear and unless the fog is the protagonist we should not have any complications. However, the many different paths that we will come across along the route are the ones that can cause us the most problems, as some of them complicate the ascent instead of making it easier.
|1-Corral de Las Mulas||0h 00min||1625 m||0 Km||30T 713282 4740346|
|2-Parking Anayet||0h 30min||1735 m||2 Km||30T 711735 4739654|
|3-Pyrenean lakes of Anayet||2h 00min||2235 m||5,3 Km||30T 709193 4739177|
|4-Vertice del Anayet||2h 50min||2559 m||7,3 Km||30T 707727 4738953|
|5-Pico de Anayet||3h 35min||2574 m||8,4 Km||30T 708229 4739705|
|6-Pyrenean lakes of Anayet||4h 10min||2235 m||10,9 Km||30T 709193 4739177|
|7-Parking Anayet||5h 20min||1735 m||14,2 Km||30T 711735 4739654|
|8-Corral de Las Mulas||5h 40min||1625 m||16,2 Km||30T 713282 4740346|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
This sketch of the route is not made to scale nor does it contain all the information relating to the area, it is merely indicative.
This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 145-1 1:25.000".
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems with the reception of the GPS signal. In any case the tracks are always approximate. SENDITUR encourages you to use the new technologies within your reach, using them as support and consultation in your activity, not basing the realization and orientation of the same only and exclusively on them, since they may see their functioning altered by very diverse causes, not functioning correctly and their indications may not be precise.
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¿Did you know that...
The Pyrenean lakes of Anayet can also be reached from the Portalet pass, specifically from the Espelunciecha car park, and you can also visit the Pyrenean lakes of Espelunciecha.
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The view of the village of Sallent de Gállego, one of the most charming villages in the Pyrenees and of course in Huesca.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 24-08-2021. 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.
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