Snow Hiking in the Pyrenees

By Bryan | Published: 4th Nov, 2017

A career in the corporate world for years can be offset against our aging body. With less and less physical activities, I easily fall out of shape.

To physically measure myself once in a while, I go look for a good hike. I had hiked a few times before, but never hardcore… So who's up for snow hiking in the mighty peaks of the Pyrenees?


Situated on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, I joined a group of hikers to scale the summit of Tossa d’Alp at an elevation of 2,535 meters (8,316 feet) above sea level. It’s said to be one of the highest mountain routes in Spain.


On a scale of 5, the hike is set to 3 as the level of difficulty. But with a hike duration of 6 hours, I was skeptical.

Pere, our local mountain guide, made it sure we're properly geared up. Take it from the locals, there is no such thing as cold weather, just bad clothing. Snow boots and poles and a good pair of polarized sunglasses — a must.


Our starting point is at the high mountain pass called Coll de Pal at an altitude of 2,070 meters (6,791 feet) above sea level. The trail goes across the snow mountain until La Tossa d’Alp. That’s a distance of approximately 9 kilometers!


It’s quite intense. During the first few hours, I was already breathing so heavily (uphill, mind you). And the terrain, it feels like I’m hiking with a difficulty level of 5 or even more. The trail is pretty steep. Heavy snow and slopes steep enough for small avalanches. I was so close to giving up. But, I guess the first few hours of physical conditioning paid off in spades. I got stronger.


At the summit, we reached the mountain retreat called Refugi Niu d'Àliga at about 2,537 meters high. It is considered to be the highest mountain shelter in the Pyrenees. And the view — it’s breathtaking. The incredible scenery along this hike was worth every step. Feeling on top of the world... literally!


After a relaxing siesta at the mountain shelter, we continued the route back with an unprecedented view of the valley of Cerdanya, Ripollès and Berguedà.

Hiking down the slope is much easier! I remember sitting on my butt and scooting down the slope like a kid. It was fun.


  • Biplob Haque
    amazing job. We fell proud for you
  • Bryan
    it's an ordeal but hey — I made it! haha thanks Biplob
  • Bushra Shaikh
    Amazing Pictures...
  • Bryan
    Likewise. Thanks for dropping by, Bushra.
  • Stuart Ruffus
    Those pictures of the valley are epic Bryan, what a nice view. I must say I envy you. I have been following your blog for a while now, and really I had no idea you worked full time. It is really amazing to see how you make out time for to give yourself some fun, you are a pinoy traveler. I am sure to follow your steps. Keep up the good work man!
  • Bryan
    Hey, Stuart. Pinoy Traveler here appreciates the support big time! Thanks man! Keeps me wanna write more and travel again...
  • Ben Bruce
    Great content man, I am pretty sure the journey up the Pyrenees must have given your body some good bodily training. Hiking is so much fun, I have had some adventures myself and maybe I might show case my journeys to the world to, in imitation of you. In the meantime thanks for sharing your backpacking travels.
  • Bryan
    Salamat, Ben. I wish I could do this more often 'coz I'm starting to feel I'm kind of losing the edge here. lol
  • Drake
    I haven't had the proper training to start hiking. I love the sports and I'll start my journey to snow hiking and share my adventure
  • Bryan
    Same here, Alfie. Can't say I had "proper" training to hike but it's fun, especially if you do it in a group. It's quite fulfilling..
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    Thanks Ricky. Good suggestion. Will add the map bit for sure! cheers
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