Hike to Punta del Pacino

5 miles 2000 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Gabi Robledo

Of all the hundreds of hiking routes in the Pyrenees mountain range, this hike is one of the absolute best. This is also perhaps one of the most rewarding five-mile hikes in all of Europe.

If you've ever been on an adventure in Europe you'd know that there is an overwhelming amount of trails and routes for hiking, mountain biking, cycling, climbing, and via Ferrata-ing. If you've never been, now you know.  While I would personally recommend a backpacking trip between the refuges among the Pyrenees mountains, this great half-day hike is one of the most rewarding short hikes I've ever done and will give you time to explore other areas of the Pyrenees. 

Getting there from the Spanish side: From Huesca, take the E-7 following signs for Java. When you get to Sabiñánigo, exit onto the N-260 toward Biescas. Stay straight as the road turns into the A-136 following signs for Sallent de Gallego. From the highway, you'll see signs to turn right into the town center of Sallent, don't turn here. Keep going straight for a few seconds and you will immediately see a short dirt road up on your left ending in a small parking lot. Park here for the hike.

Getting there from the French side: From Pau, head south on the D-934 and stay on that highway until your reach the Spanish border where the road becomes the A-136. After about 8 kilometers pay attention. At 8.5 km, as you begin to see signs for the town center of Sallent to the left, there will be a tight right turn up a short dirt road to a small parking lot. There will be trail signs on your left directly across from the dirt road on the right. 

From the parking lot, follow the winding farm road with cows roaming the surrounding fields until you see an obvious trail sign (about 15 minutes in) where you'll split left and begin the trek to Punta de Pacino (following the sign toward the Collado de Pacino). This beautiful walk begins in a forest, especially beautiful in fall. The trail then opens up to give your first glimpse of the two towns below, Formigal further north and Sallent de Gallego further south.  The two towns are extremely picturesque throughout the entire hike. Across the Valle de Tena you'll see the long Embulse de Lanuza (reservoir) below huge mountains as well as the striking, dramatic peak of Peña Foratata to the north and the Sierra de Tendenera just to the right of it. As you head up the zig zagging switchbacks the views only get better. When you reach the col, don't stop there, stay left and make the last push up to Punta del Pacino at 6,500 feet and take in the incredible panoramic views of the Pyrenees in all directions with an astonishing quantity of mountain peaks. Look west and see another pretty reservoir, Embalse de Escarra, framed by the Sierra de Partacua range. And for that special European flair, see the two towns of Sallent and Formigal dotting the mount sides with their colorful buildings. Retrace your steps to get back to the parking lot and soak up the views that are seemingly better on the way down.  

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Overall rating: 

Tough, but definitely worth it

While the sometimes straight elevation gain can be difficult to deal, the panoramic view is one of the most incredible views of the Pyrenees you can get

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