The Fifth Lake route – EL CINQUÈ LLAC

A five-day hike through a truly singular part of the Pyrenees

Responsible and sustainable tourism run by local people.

A challenging walk 
A total of 100 km in five stages, walking from one rural hostelry to the next with no weight on your shoulders – we take care of your luggage and take it on to your next stop – is the perfect way of discovering an evocative and unconventional side to the Pyrenees.
This is a self-guided route through the highest Pyrenean foothills of the counties of Pallars Jussà, Pallars Sobirà and Alta Ribagorça that, although designed with true walkers in mind, demands no great technical skills.

The main attraction of this circuit is the simple pleasure of just walking and enjoying your natural surroundings without the need to reach the summit or crown a peak.
This walk will enamour even the most dedicated collectors of tasks that have no real purpose: for example, those who know how to appreciate the colours of the fallen leaves and the red of the clayey soils these paths traverse; those who love to imagine the lives people once lived in the abandoned farms; those who can grasp that the work of the shepherds is part of their culture too; and even those who yearn to taste a plate of girella or a tasty coca de recapte.
All this concentrated in a series of landscapes unknown to most mortals, where you can walk in the sure knowledge that you are the only soul on the path with just a sturdy hazel stick to keep you company. That is still possible in Catalonia today.

A proposal for a route with a soul
El Cinquè Llac is a route set up and run by small-scale local hostelries that believe in honest work and reflect the human side to tourism.
They open their doors to visitors as a way of teaching people about the need to respect and enjoy the land, nature and the human heritage that our ancestors have left behind.
Local people are the true creators of El Cinquè Llac. They helped find the ancient trails and salvage the old names, legends and witnesses to the past that were being lost. Writers, biologists, botanists, historians and even the local shepherds all contributed to the wisdom contained in the guide to El Cinquè Llac.

A responsible and sustainable product that is committed to the local area
El Cinquè Llac takes its inspiration from the principles of sustainable tourism: in other words, tourism should aim to improve the places people live in and, at the same time, make them better places to be visited. For example, 10% of the income from the circuit is devoted to the restoration and maintenance of the network of historical paths and trials. The whole product is designed to cause as little environmental impact as possible. The initial trip on the train, El Tren dels Llacs, encourages people to use public transport, while the cloth bundle your picnics are wrapped up in and the pannikin, for example, all help reduce waste. All the hostelries are directly involved in the conservation of the environment.

A rather different souvenir: a shepherd’s crook
The shepherds that once roved these hills would carry a hazel stick, straight, light and very useful for walking as they worked. On top of the crook they would place a metal hook that enabled them to catch a sheep by its back leg.
On the first day, you will be given a hazel stick that will be marked each day when you arrive at your destination with each individual house’s shepherd’s mark. If you obtain all five, you will be awarded the shepherd’s crook as proof that you completed the circuit.

The stages
The Fifth Lake route is divided into five stages. It is a “mid-mountain” hiking trail characterised by low technical difficulty. However, the route has significant elevation gains and a minimum level of fitness is required to complete the route in five stages. It must be borne in mind that the stages are completed within an estimated timeframe of 4 to 8 hours per day on average.

Fact sheet
Total distance: 102,3 km
Ascent / Descent: +5.283 m / -5.283 m
Total estimated time: 30 h
Highest and lowest point: 1.557 m / 529 m

Q How to book?

Either by sending us an e-mail at or by making a phone call at (+34) 973 681 518. We will give you a quick answer regarding the availability of the accommodation and transport services for the dates you want to travel, and the exact price according to the number of people who make up your group of walkers.

Q Why the fifth lake route?

This route takes you to sites of great beauty in one of the least known parts of the Pyrenees, where you can discover both abandoned villages and villages still full of life, and enjoy the stories and the legends that talk of how people survive in the heart of these
The walk will allow you to meet local craftspeople and discover a cuisine that evokes traditions that go back many generations. You will also enjoy a well-deserved rest in the charming local hostelries whose owners profess as two of their guiding principles good hospitality and a respect for the local way of life.

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Additional Details

  • Difficulty:Moderate
  • Cancellation Policy & Insurance:Yes
  • Sustainability practices & social action focus:Yes
  • Quality assurance procedures:Yes
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  • Seasons:Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn