- Name GR10 - Traversée des Pyrénées (GR10)
- Distance de sentier 866 km, 538 milles
- Durée en jours 58 jours
- Début de sentier Hendaye
- Fin de sentier Banyuls-sur-Mer
- Classement Traildino SW, Marche fatigante, sentier de montagne
- Classement Traversée de montagne T2, randonnée en montagne
GR10, Hendaye (Atlantique) - Banyuls-sur-Mer (Mediterranean) through the Pyrenees, 866 km, 7 weeks
Few trails have the magic sound the GR10 has. Crossing the Pyrenees from west to east is a major accomplishment and a life-time experience. The GR20 in Corsica may be the most difficult of the Grand Randonnées; some passages are tricky indeed. The GR10 however, is hard to complete in one go. In the Pyrenees all the valleys are perpendicular to the main ridge, which means you have to go up and down, from one valley to the other. Therefore, thru-hiking the GR10 is hard.
There are those who believe in the Alps and others who believe in the Pyrenees. They rarely agree. The Pyrenees are greener, softer, lonesome, the proponents would advocate. Okay, but you get soaked all summer, the opponents would argue.
The Pyrenees are build from solid granite and some limestone in the west. You will find out yourself when scrambling these large boulders, hurting your knees with too large steps to take. Ice has had a prominent influence - although nowadays barely a glacier is left: many beautifully situated lakes, large and small, ornament the high altitudes.
Another feature are the dense forests the hiker crosses. In them, dead villages are quit common. Once, large populations lived here. But they left. With them sheep flocks and brown bears. Bears have been reintroduced, but with mixed success and support.
Hiking the path is facilitated by the many Gîtes d'Étappe in the small villages. Often, small shops still cater for the necessary provisions. Many cabanes, or bothies, still survive. Do not expect any luxury however, though company from mice is common. Tourism boomed in many parts, especially the Nature Parks, but is completely absent elsewhere.
Note the Pyrenees have many smaller, often circular trails, or variants to the GR10, often no less attractive. Note also that an even harder trail exists: the Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne, following the main ridge. This HRP requires some mountaineering skills and can be undertaken from july onwards. The GR10 is by and large safe. On the Spanish side the GR11 explores some of the better parts of these mountains. The Spanish side gets much less rain. On the other side, the trail here is probably harder than the French side.