Route of the Three Refugees Practical information

Once you get to any of the beginnings of the Route of the Three Refugees, you will feel crazy to extend your trip, not having to be aware of the time, to enjoy these landscapes to the fullest. The first step you take takes you to contemplate green valleys, steep peaks, and an infinite sky both day and night.

route of the three refuges practical information

The Route of the Three Refugees runs through the Natural Park of Posets-Maladeta in the Aragonese Pyrenees and goes around the Massif of the Posets. This journey explores trails in the valleys at 1,300 m and overhangs rocky hills at 2,964 m, takes you to glacial lakes and fording rivers, resting your eyes on the peaks and birds in the air. Although it requires a good physical form and a minimum of experience in the high mountains, this itinerary is quite affordable. In addition, it is very comfortable, since it is perfectly marked and with shelters kept at a very bearable distance from each other.

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We made the Tres Refugios route in August, and both the direction of the march and the starting point were conditioned by the availability in the shelters. However, you can start at any other point, go in the opposite direction, link with the Trans-Pyrenees Route or stay longer in the area doing ascents or small excursions. In the next post, we will detail each stage of our route and offer several options to stay more days in the area.

In this post we give you the practical information, we share our impressions and, of course, we show pictures of the three-day journey through the Aragonese Pyrenees.

Route of the Three Refugees Practical information

Ruta de Los tres Refugios is a circular route through the Aragonese Pyrenees for a minimum of 3 days. The three refuges through which this passage passes are: the refuge of Estos, the refuge of Biadós and the refuge of Ángel Orus (or Forcau). In my opinion, it is one of the routes of the high mountain of the Pyrenees easier to organize and carry out.

Accesses of the route of the three Refuges

It has three entrances: from the Estos car park, the Espigantosa car park or from the Viados car park.

Parking of Viados

It has the capacity for approx. 20-30 cars, scattered on the track, some better parked and others, in rather precarious conditions. You arrive by car to the shelter (at 1,700m). You have to travel 10 km of dirt track, partially paved, from Gistain (there is a sign for Refugio de Viados, the detour marked on our map.The track does not appear in Google Maps, it can only be seen in the Earth version ). If there are no seats available at all, you should turn around and go down until you find a space. We leave the car in front of Camping de Forcallo (1,574m, 1 km below the shelter). It took approx. 20 min. In arriving at the refuge from the campsite.

Parking of the Espigantosa (La pleta d’Estallo)

It is 1,550m high at about 5 km along the forest track of the town of Eriste and 6.3 km from the shelter Argel Orus (or Forcau) , at 2,100m high. According to MIDE, the duration of the route between the parking and the shelter is about 2 hours, + 595m. It passes through the waterfall of the Espigantosa.

From July 1 to September 12, the track between Eriste and the parking lot is closed, but there is a shuttle from Eriste (there is a parking lot next to the municipal swimming pools where you can leave your car). You can also take this shuttle in Sahun. Look at the photo to know the prices and schedules.

Schedule and departures of the shuttle bus to the parking lot to reach the refuge of Angel Orus If you prefer, you can walk; Between Eriste and the Espigantosa parking, there is approx. 1.45 hr for PR-HU 36.

Parking Estos

The Estos car park is 1,300 m, and it would have to be + 605m to reach the Estos refuge, 1,890m high. The route is less than 9 km, and it takes approx. 2.5 hrs. The road is perfectly marked as GR11 (white and red).

Where to sleep during the route of the three shelters

The classic way is to make use of the three shelters: Estos, Viados, Angel Orus. The easiest way to make the reservation is to go to the Hostels and shelters of Aragón page and make the multiple reservations. On the web, on the left side, you will see the box with shelters, shelters and other establishments. In shelters, we choose where we would spend the first night, and the system will guide you. You will have to pay a bond that is lost if you do not show up. The rest is paid in each shelter. In Estos only cash, in Angel Orus they accept credit cards.

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To know how much each refuge costs (they have different prices), you have to choose the refuge and go to the ” prices ” section. In the reservation, you will not see the final price, only the deposit. This website has links to all the shelters, where you can see more detailed information: what services they offer, how to get there, etc.

To sleep in the shelter, the use of a sleeping bag or saco-sabana is mandatory.

The Children and Federated have discounts.


Another option is to carry a tent. According to the rules of the park, you can camp at dusk and lift the tent at dawn. It is recommended to ask the guards for the most suitable places to camp.


One way to save night shelters (which leave approx € 16 / person), is to stay the first night in one of the campsites. We spend the night in El Forcallo (in Viados access). € 13 / both and shop. We left the car parked outside at night, and so we did not have to worry about doing it as early as possible, as the cars begin to arrive and look for parking from 7:00. This camping has hot water, bathrooms, a small restaurant where you can order lunch/dinner/ breakfast. The environment is very beautiful and quiet, as long as you get as far as possible from the generator that produces noise and nauseating smells from 9.00 until 23.00.

On the side of Estos, there are a couple of campsites where you can also stay the night of arrival and leave the car. We do not know them, but some Senderistas told us that we met along the way. In this case, it is not necessary to reach the Estos refuge if the route is made in the Angel Orus refuge direction. You can link with the GR 11.2 in the Ibonet de Bastisielles or past the Grande ibis de Bastisielles, passing through the Ibon de la Escarpinosa.

Where to eat during the route of the three shelters

In shelters or carrying food. The truth, we were surprised that 99% of the people who spend the night in the refuge order all the meals. We only went four people – us and a couple of French people – who used the kitchen.

Reflection: If they do not carry food, or bags, only sack-savannahs, nor climbing or mountaineering equipment, what will they bring in their 70 L backpacks? We, with our 30L and 35L, with food, cooking equipment, emergency kit, sacks!  and even thinking that we could have lightened the weight because there were things that we did not put (the ones in the case in ca

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Trekking in South America: One of the good ways to tour the Torres del Paine National Park is to get into its heart through its trails, for this, there are two alternatives of different difficulty, the circuit W 60 km and the circuit 0 120 km, 5 and 10 days respectively.

Trekking in South America

Trekking in South America

The most popular is the W circuit , people travel from all corners of the world to live a unique experience with nature; with thousand-year-old glaciers, beautiful mountains that change color according to the time of day, lakes of all shades of blue that you can imagine a varied flora and fauna and a blue sky like no other.

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No matter how experienced you are in outdoor activities or trekking, it is not impossible to do this circuit, what if you must come prepared depending on how you plan to do it and have the will to achieve it. In addition to being in contact with such a beautiful landscape, somehow you fill with energy and strength.

Technically the circuit W is half of the circuit O , then we explain the first circuit, if you are interested in doing the circuit O at the end of this article you can continue on this link and if you need information on transport, schedules and park prices, visit the article in Torres del Paine Park .

Day 1 – Section Hotel Las Torres – Viewpoint Base of the Towers (Ascencio Valley)

In this stage, you will make the trekking to the Base Torres viewpoint, that walk that will take you to the place of the famous photos with the Torres del Paine in the background. This trek takes 3.5 hours from the Las Torres hotel,o the viewpoint. You go up the mountain, on a path of stones which makes the route somewhat strenuous.

At this point you can make your base in the following shelters:

Hotel Las Torres

An excellent 4-star hotel is offering beautiful views of the mountains and the pampas. As it is at the beginning of the trekking, it will take you 3.5 hours to reach the Torres Base, it is not ideal if you want to see the sunrise, but it is good if you do not want to trek with the weight of your things.

Refugios Torre Norte, Central and camping Las Torres

Located about 1.5 km before the start of the circuit, the shelters have bedrooms and offer meals. The campsite has hot showers and bathrooms and you can also hire food at the shelter. It has equipment rental.

Refugio Y camping El Chileno

It is an hour ‘s walk from the Hotel Las Torres, near the Torres Base viewpoint. You have the option of staying in the shelter or camping. It is a good alternative if you want to leave your things and do the trekking in two rounds.

Camp Torres

It is a free camp, without great facilities but it is the one that is closer to the Mirador Base Torres. You’ll have to carry your stuff to the end, but it’s ideal if you want to see the sunrise.

Day 2 – Las Torres Hotel – Los Cuernos Refuge

This trek is the longest stretch of the W circuit, 12 km that will take 5 hours since it is sometimes hard when you come up and down, but the beautiful landscape will encourage you to move forward. At this point you will reach the foot of Cuernos del Paine, where you can make your base in the sector in the following points:

Refugio, camping, and domes Los Cuernos

You have the option of the comforts of refuge, the adventure of the camping and the amplitude of the domes or cabins. Whatever your choice, this place at the foot of the Cuernos del Paine will give you beautiful views of the mountains and Lake Nordenskjold, for a well-deserved rest. It has food service, and the campsite has a bathroom and showers with hot water, as well as a barbecue for cooking and a small shop where it is possible to rent equipment.

Domes and French Camping

An hour’s walk from the campsite Los Cuernos, this new site allows you for camping or stay in a dome, where you are provided with a bed with a sleeping bag, as well as breakfast and packed meals.

Day 3 – Refugio Los Cuernos – Italian Camp

Surrounding the massif Paine next trek 4.5 km will not present major difficulties and will take about two hours to reach the Italian camp, start trekking towards the French Valley. Some energetic adventurers do not even stop in the Los Cuernos sector, passing directly from the Torres Base to the Valle del Francés. Everything will depend on your time and desire to continue the march.

The alternatives to rest in this sector are:

Camp Italian

Camp free, only has bathrooms, a sector to cook and the sectors to put your tent. It is a good place to base and climb towards the viewpoints of the French Valley without your backpack, an attractive alternative considering that the next section of the French Valley is uphill.

You have another alternative, you can continue on your way and make a base in British Camp, although we do not recommend this and you will see why in the next point.

Day 4 – Italian Camp – British Camp (French Valley)

From the Italian camp begins trekking of 5.5 km of great difficulty because you will have to climb approximately 400 meters on a mountainous slope, with mostly rocks, which will take you 2.5 hours. You will go up a mountain, bordering the French river of great energy and in front of the French glacier on the top of the mountain. The landscape is simply moving, and even more so when you reach the top of the viewpoint. It is the minute when everything stops, and there is only space to admire nature.

You can make a base in the British camping: Its location is privileged, it is a prize for those who are encouraged to get up with their backpacks in tow. However, it is not the option that we recommend because the walk to get to this point is not easy and if you also add the weight of the backpacks, it makes it even more difficult. It is free camping, and there are no facilities, but the good thing is that it allows you to rise in a privileged environment.

Day 5 – Italian Camp – Refuge Paine Grande

You will undertake your trekking approaching the Gray glacier, and this stretch of 7.6 km will take you 2.5 hours to the sector of Paine Grande bordering the Paine massif, walking literally on their skirts and skirting the pristine waters of Lake Pehoe. It is a walk without major difficulties, ideal to enjoy the landscape. When you get to the sector of Paine Grande you will find Lake Pehoé and a strip of flat land at the foot of the Paine that will allow you to lie down for several minutes face up, just to watch as the sun changes the tonalities of the Towers.

In this sector you can make your base in Paine Grande Shelter and Camping: The views of Lake Pehoe and Paine are wonderful, regardless of whether you stay in the comfort of the shelter or closer to nature at the campsite. The campsite has bathrooms, showers with hot water and a comfortable area to prepare your food. Equipment rental is offered.

If you are doing the W you can do your base in Paine Grande or you have the alternative to continue advancing and make a base in Refugio Gray. If you are doing the O, you will have to make your base in the next Refuge.

Day 6 – Refuge Paine Grande – Glacier Gray Viewpoint (Gray Glacier Valley)

From the Paine Grande base, continue towards the Gray Glacier. After about 1 hour, you arrive at the first viewpoint of Gray Lake, and if you have energy, and we recommend it, you should continue for about 3 hours, to complete the 14 km until you reach the second viewpoint of the Gray Lake and Glacier.

The scenery is spectacular. The proximity to the glacier will allow you to hear it creak constantly and if you are lucky, see some detachment; listening to the glacier crunch is something magical.

The Refugio y Camping Gray has located just 3 km from the viewpoint of the Gray Glacier. If you are doing the O, you will pass through this sector, and it will be the place to do your base. If you are doing the W, if you have the energy to get to this point with your things, we recommend that you spend the night in this sector, so you can live the experience of waking up next to a glacier.

The Gray shelter offers the comforts of shelter, with beds, sleeping bags and meals; the campsite has a barbecue area, bathrooms and showers with hot water at certain times. It has a small warehouse and offers the alternative of leasing equipment.

If you are doing the W, this is the last point of the circuit. What remains is to go down to Paine Grande to take the ferry back. On the contrary, if you plan to make the circuit OR  continue reading here.