Time  2 hours 32 minutes

Coordinates 857

Uploaded September 21, 2019

Recorded July 2019

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-
2,924 f
592 f
0
0.8
1.6
3.3 mi

Viewed 41 times, downloaded 4 times

near Altzate, Navarra (España)

The easy way: ascent with la Petit Train de la Rhune, and descent on foot. The visit to the summit of La Rhune (905 m) with excellent views across the western Pyrenees, the Basque coastline and foothills is really worth it. The descent is about 1h45m. The ascent by train takes about 35 minutes, including a short wait for the descending train at the intermediate station. In summer it is highly recommended to make a reservation for the train, see the website https://www.rhune.com/en/. Leaflets with the hiking route for ascent/descent are available for free in the station (and on the website). There is a restaurant at the summit, on the Spanish side, which has a great view, including passing griffon vultures. Other restaurants can be found around the station Saint Ignace (~180 m) at the start of the train. There are no facilities on the way. There is parking at Saint Ignace, but this can fill up on a busy summer day: start early.
After arriving at the summit station you first take a look around the summit with the communication tower, the Larruna restaurant at the Spanish side, the excellent views, an Obelisque, and circling vultures. You then descend back to the station, cross the railroad and start the descent. The path first more or less follows the railroad, and you then steeply descend on open terrain with grass, rocks and ferns and the typical horses of the area: Pottoks. The path serpentines its way down, but I regularly cut the turns short. After about half a kilometer you enter the forest and leave it near a kind of saddle point with open wetland. You cross a stream and then take a path around and below the Altsanga ridge. At the end of the ridge you get to the ruins of Koralhandia fort (large enclosure in Basque). After having taken a look you descend further along the valley of a small stream opposite the railway tracks. The path descends steeply via steps and a straight path along a conifer forest. When you leave the forest, views open up of the foothills. The path takes you through an area with ferns to another more natural forest along the stream. You pass the stream and continue down until you pass the railroad to the garages for the railcars. A little further you end up at Saint Ignace station.
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Around Altsanga

This path takes you slightly up and then parallel to the Altsanga ridge
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Descent along railway

You cross the railway here and then descend parallel to the railway
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Forest

Here you enter the forest coming from the bald summit of La Rhune
Train stop

Intermediate Station

Location of the intermediate station where the trains coming from opposite directions have to wait for each other, so they can pass. The station is below Altsanga ridge. You cannot exit or mount the train here.
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Koralhandia

Ruins of a fort, called Koralhandia (large enclosure in Basque)
Summit

La Rhune viewpoint

Summit of La Rhune with great views all around
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Larruna restaurant

Larruna restaurant is just below the summit on the Spanish side of the border. Griffon vultures were flying past the terrace during our visit.
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Les Trois Fontaines

Here you cross a stream at a wetland lying in a saddle point
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Lower forest

This lower deciduous forest is more natural than the coniferous forest a bit further up. You also cross a stream.
Train stop

Mountain station

Mountain station of the railway
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Obelisque

Obelisque
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Path between ferns

Path between ferns with nice views of the lower foothills
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Rail crossing

You cross the railway just outside the station
Train stop

Saint Ignace Station of Petit Train de la Rhune

Valley station. You can buy your tickets here, but in summer an internet reservation is recommended.
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Steep and straight descent

Steep and straight descent along a coniferous forest
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Steep descent on treeless mountain top

Steep descent on treeless mountain top. You descent via a path with serpentines. I frequently cut the serpentines short.
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Steep descent with steps

Steep descent with steps
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Train car garage rail crossing

You cross the railroad just below the train car garage

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