The hike to Mont Né is a great first peak for your kids. Hiking on a well-maintained path takes you up the steep slopes of Mont Né to enjoy some mighty views over the rest of the massif. You will love this hike!
From Luchon (also called Bagnères de Luchon), take the D618 which leads to the Col de Peyresourde. After 4km, turn right direction Le Bourg d’Oueil. Follow the D51 along the Vallée d’Oueil until you reach the tiny village of Le Bourg d’Oueil. Turn right up the steep road to reach the Port de Balès at 1,755m where there is parking.
|Type of Hike||Loop|
|Toilets||Bourg d’Oueil (6km), Luchon (20km)|
|When to Do||May to October|
Hiking up to Mont Né is a great first peak for new hikers or for older children.
Park at the Port de Balès (1,755m) where you will already be enjoying the views! Cross to the north-west side of the road to pick the path which starts between the two signposts.
The path climbs gently along a grassy slope to contour a minor top. After about 600m, you will reach a kind of flat ridge. Drop down a few metres, aiming at a good track to your right. Follow this track which soon starts winding, rising more steeply, until you reach 1880m (last hairpin on this track). Leave the track (it continues north to contour the east shoulder of the Mont Né). You veer west along a small path which rises straight up the shoulder. As you gain height, the views get more spectacular.
Follow this path up the steep slopes. It eases before getting even steeper as the ground turns from grassy to rocky. This is the last pull to the top of the ridge, which you will reach just above 2120m. Once on the ridge, turn left to reach the top of the Mont Né at 2,147m.
The summit of Mont Né has a substantial cairn and offers a breathtaking vista over the main Pyrenees to the south, with most of the main +3000m peaks visible. You will also particularly enjoy the views to the south-west, over the beautiful Lac de Bareilles. The Pic du Midi de Bigorre and its observatory can be seen to the west, while to the north the beautiful, grassy ridge stretches for kilometres, looking very inviting. To the east, you can spot the car park at the Port de Balès, where you just came from. Watch for griffon vultures, which are very common in the area.
From the summit cairn, continue along the ridge on the obvious trail, climbing up and down a stile. The descent is steep but rather easy-going. The trail will take you down to the Port (col) de Pierrefitte (1,855m), where you will admire a standing stone surrounded with a stone circle, which may date originally from the Bronze Age!
From the Port de Pierrefite there are routes in all directions. To the right (SW) is the path to the Lac de Bareilles and behind the stone circle (SE) is the path which leads down to Le Bourg d’Oueil. You want to take the main track to the left (goes north-east). This was previously a paved road which has deteriorated over the years, and it makes a perfect return route with panoramic views over the beautiful Vallée d’Oueil, which is arguably one of the most beautiful valleys of the French Pyrenees.
On the way back, you will certainly encounter some sheep and may spot a kestrel or two and more vultures. You will also pass by the Refuge du Mont Né, one of the local huts where a bivvy is possible.
Follow the track until you approach the main road rising from Le Bourg d’Oueil. At the last bend before the junction, pick a path to the left which makes a kind of shortcut and will enable you to avoid walking on tarmac. This path leads you straight to the signposts at the starting point.