For some of the best views of Tena Valley, climb these peaks: Pico Arriel (2824m) & Petit Arriel (2684m)

How we ended up climbing these two peaks is a simple story. Jorge pulled out the map of Valle de Tena and said, “this one.”

We looked it up on the internet and were instantly allured. Then I read a blog post (in Spanish) about someone else’s experience and this hiker so appropriately described Pico Arriel as majestic and svelte (esbelto).

pico arriel valle de tena
I couldn’t agree more. Pico Arriel is majestic and svelte.

So, we planned. And we conquered:

Pico Arriel, 2824 meters.
Petit Arriel, 2684 meters.

16 kilometers round trip.
1500 meters total ascent.
8.5 hour journey.

Wikiloc GPX Track: Pico Arriel & Petit Arriel

The trail starts out of “La Sarra” a reservoir just beyond Sallent de Gallego. Follow the GR (red and white marked trial) through a autumnal beech forest. After a few kilometers in, the GR will continue on to “Respomuso” and “Lagos de Arriel” but you want to take the detour to your left which is marked by a yellow sign that says “Pico Arriel, no lagos” and “Collado de Soba”

The morning was beautiful. The valley flaunted its golden hues, so desperate for a cold and wet winter:


And before we knew it (a banana and a handful of gummy snacks later) our two objectives popped up into sight:

pico arriel valle de tena
Petit Arriel (left), Pico Arriel (right)

The views from the pass between the two peaks are epic; instantly Pico Palas and Pico Balaitous will catch your eye:

pico arriel valle de tena
Jorge poses in front of  Lacs d’Arrémoulit and Pico Palas
pico arriel valle de tena
Balaitous and its “Gran Diagonal” (far left), Ibones de Arriel (at the feet of Balaitous), Respomuso reservoir (far right behind Balaitous massif)

And the every looming Midi d’Ossau behind you:


Time to conquer “the climb.” We didn’t fully understand how vertical this rocky wall was until we were channeling our inner mountain goats (errr “sarrios” —> Pyrenean goat/deer) and heading up.

So we helmeted-up and climbed. And were surprisingly protected from the cold Northern winds all the way up there!


We descended, and quickly scurried up to Petit Arriel for the most spectacular views of “Grand” Arriel. This will take 10-15 minutes, absolutely freaking worth it.


Climb on, mountain goats.

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