Couret, 65270 Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre.
From Lourdes D937 7 km towards Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre, turn left on D151 Rieulhès. Follow single lane paved road across railroad, river, through Rieulhès, then follow uphill. After 950 m keep right, after 1,500 m keep right, after 2,360 m turn left, after 3,625 m part in the gravel road straight ahead in the U-turn left. Ignore cul-de-sac signs, follow brown sign with flower, not suitable for big vehicles.
|Classification:||Sentier Karstique Karst Karst cave|
|Dimension:||L=4440 m, VR=390, A=390-780 m asl.|
|Guided tours:||self guided, D=3 h.|
Sentier karstique de Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre, Couret, 65270 Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre.
Comité de Spéléologie Régional Occitanie, 7 rue André Citroën, 31130 Balma, Tel: +33-626-51-96-45. E-mail:
Office de Tourisme de Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre, 13 Pl. des Arcades, 65270 Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre, Tel: +33-562-41-88-10. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|23-SEP-2017||karst trail inaugurated.|
The Sentier karstique de Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre (Karst trail of Saint-Pé-de-Bigorre) was named after the forest where it is located. The karstified limestone hill has not enough soil and too many potholes and dolines to be suitable for farming. As a result only a few farms are spread across this region, using the few suitable spot. They are called ferme (farm) in the local French dialect. The single lane road actually connects such isolated farms, and ends soon after the karst trail. The tail leads to the west into an almost untouched forest. Due to the difficult terrain it is not a round course, there are actually three almost parallel trails leading to different parts of the forest.
The trail is located in the Réserve Naturelle Régionale du Pibeste-Aoulhet (Regional Nature Reserve of Pibeste-Aoulhet). It also belongs to the Natura 2000 network. The trails are marked with Sentiers karstiques signs and there are numerous educational signs along the trails. There is a booklet in A5 which is available for 2€ from the Occitanie Regional Speleology Committee or the Tourist Office of Saint-Pé de Bigorre.
The first trail leads to the entrance of the Grotte de la Pale, the second across Gouffre de Hayaü to the Crèque Noèle, and the third through the forest to clearing which is called Prairies de Saüquet. Along the trails there are numerous dolines, lapies, limestone pavements and strange limestone formations. There are the remains of charcoal piles, as the wood was once used to produce charcoal. It was not possible to transport wood out of the forest, so they made charcoal on site and carried the light charoal out on their back. During the walk there are a lot of possibilities to observe typical plants and animals.