Past mountain farms and alpine pastures, along scenic slopes and to an impressive mountain cirque. A varied circular walk, dedicated to Andorra's highest mountain, in the upper part of the Arinsal valley.
Approximate walking time: 4 h 45 min without rests.
From Arinsal, a partly steep and winding ascent through dense mixed forest leads to the mountain farm Bordes de Percanela and the associated grazing enclosures lying on the hillside. There, a scenery opens up, characterized by views of the opposite side of the valley and to the northwest onto the Pic Alt de Coma Pedrosa, Andorra's highest mountain, and its neighboring peaks. The route continues quite steeply uphill through sparse bush land and along forest and meadow slopes and reaches another pasture area at the Bordes dels Prats Nous high above Arinsal.
After the mountain homestead, the tour, remaining at approximately the same altitude, continues as a high route walk, which stands in the sign of changing landscapes and perspectives. After a short stretch of way across meadows and grasslands with views of the hillsides and mountains, the path leads past a small cirque to the right with the waterfall of the Ribal stream. After crossing the stream, the path turns into a mountainside way that leads through pine forest in a series of smooth, short ascents and descents and flat parts. Lighter spots offer far-reaching and contrasting views, first into the Arinsal Valley, to the valleys of Perafita and Claror and the summit ranges on the southern horizon, then to the Coma Pedrosa valley, with its lower part deeply carved into mountain slopes.
After crossing the Collet de Font Podrida, the highest point of the hike, the forest clears, and the trail goes downhill, strongly for a short while, then moderately, through open bush land and reaches the flat valley basin of Pla de l'Estany, closed off by a low moraine hill, and the hiking hut of the same name located slightly elevated at the upper end. The cirque, head of the Arinsal valley, is formed by some of the highest peaks in Andorra and dominated by the Pic de Coma Pedrosa and its towering eastern flank. From the hut, the hike goes back a short distance and almost reaches the base of the mountain, before continuing downhill.
A stretch of walk with two steep sections over coarse scree and gravel terrain brings the hike to the mountain farm Borda de la Coruvilla nicely located on a small plateau. From there, there are again beautiful valley views down to Arinsal and far to the south. The route continues downhill through dense forest land, which gradually turns from conifers into mixed forest, and reaches the fork Barrer d'Areny near the Pollos River. From there, the route, with looks back at the summit of the Pic de Coma Pedrosa, goes downhill in a quite steady manner above the now densely wooded valley bottom. Passing by a water reservoir, it then temporarily leaves the watercourse and reaches the valley bottom at the settlement of Prat Sobirans, separated from Arinsal by an avalanche protection wall. The hike goes through a tunnel to the other side of the wall and ends with a short walk on the road to the starting point.
The hike has no technical difficulties or dangerous spots. A certain level of surefootedness and prudence is required especially in wet weather.
For hikes in early spring, there is a comparatively low avalanche risk nevertheless needing to be considered.
Refugi del Pla de l'Estany is a self-catering hut without management.
Depending on the prevailing general weather situation and the trail conditions to be expected, the hike can also be undertaken outside the recommended months, but not during winter. In the early autumn, from the end of September / beginning of October, first snowfalls can occur in the higher altitudes.