Gorges de la Frau (8)Gorges de la Frau (8)
©Gorges de la Frau (8)|Office de Tourisme des Pyrénées cathares

The Gorges de La Frau

Canyon, smugglers and Cathares

A beautiful stroll in the freshness of a natural canyon, that’s what the gorges de la Frau offer you! A place of history and passage…

A path throught the canyon

It’s between conifers and beech trees, up along the course of the Hers vif which marks the boundary between the departments of Ariège and Aude, that this walk will take you; between two veritable stone walls, which in some places tower over you at more than 400 meters.

The Gorges invite you to take a stroll in a setting where limestone rocks and greenery seem to be one and the same. With a cascading rhythm, your steps lead you along a well-marked itinerary beneath the 1925-meter-high Frau mountain.

From the hamlet of Pélail to Comus in the Aude, almost 7.5 kilometers of walking await hikers. A perfect walk for the brave lovers of shade and coolness! Count on a 5-hour walk if you want to do the 15-kilometer round trip, with a peak altitude of 1,166 meters and a vertical drop of almost 600 meters.

Note: no torrents or fountains. Please remember to take water!

Smugglers' den

For a long time, they linked Aude and Ariège. This old Cathar path enabled the bonshommes to reach Comus from Montségur and from there, nearby Montaillou.

Deeply incised, they were also an ideal hideout for all kinds of trafficking and smuggling with Spain… Today, they are an ideal hike to hide from the heat.

The gorges are located on the Chemin des Bonshommes, a 107 km Cathar trail that runs through the Ariège and its castles.


Road access: from Lavelanet follow l’Aiguillon, Bélesta then Fougax and Barrinef towards “les Gorges de la Frau”.

Start: Pélail picnic area (parking lot)

From Pélail, take the tarmac road for 1km and pass the “Fontaine de L’Esqueille” continue on the road to the entrance to the Gorges défilé.
Take the narrower, steeper path: walk 2km700 through the Gorges to the forest road.
Turn left towards Comus to arrive at the foot of the village (2km900): on the forest road, you’ll pass a boulder surmounted by crosses, and a little further on the “L’Ourza”


A feast for the eyes

Great joys and small pleasures

Try it out