We propose a variation of this route, which starts at the Guils-Fontanera
cross-country ski resort, from which a long trail connects to the track that leaves Meranges
and ends in front of the Malniu shelter.
It is a wide, comfortable trail which partly coincides with the GR 11 path climbing up from the town of Guils de Cerdanya
From Puigcerdà, take the N-260 road towards Seu d’Urgell. Some 2 km down this road you will find a turnoff to the right that takes you to the town of Guils de Cerdanya. From there, a road climbs up through the forest to the Nordic ski resort, where you will find a car park.
In front of the car park there’s a shed that doubles as a small bar in the summer, and a well-kept municipal recreation area, with wooden playground equipment and a stream. The path which you took to get there continues to your right, where there is a signpost indicating Meranges and Malniu via the GR 11. This is the path you have to take to get to the shelter.
Following the Route:
The path is wide (cars use it) and easy, though a bit rocky. It passes pine forests as it follows the course of the stream. You will reach the Pla de la Feixa, a wide meadow with a shelter, some 4 km after starting out. There’s a signpost indicating that you can turn right there to cross the meadow towards the Malniu lakes. The route, however, continues straight ahead, offering splendid views of the valley below, with a backdrop formed by soaring mountain peaks. Spotting vultures here is not an uncommon occurrence. The trail begins to descend until it crosses the path that goes up from Meranges, some 9 km into the trek. You now start climbing up towards the Malniu shelter, coming across a toll booth (it costs €2 to take your car up to the shelter in the summer). The Malniu shelter is approximately 2 km past this point. The site is a large recreational area, with a car park in front of the shelter, stone tables and barbecues. From here you can go on to the Malniu lakes (Mal, Malniu and Guils lakes), which you reach in half an hour (Malniu) and 45 minutes (Guils) by following the yellow and white local path markings. You can return by retracing your steps or by seeking the Feixa shelter from the lakes, shortening the return and making the route nearly circular.
From the Malniu shelter you have several options. The GR 11 trail continues towards Andorra, crossing the Cerdanya region and passing a number of shelters along the way. You can also opt to make any of a number of short climbs to the summits near Malniu. Another, more common option is to head down to Meranges (1’30 h).
Malniu lake is one of the Girona Pyrenees’ most emblematic sites. It was a fabled meeting point for witches in the 16th and 17th century.
The Malniu shelter is a traditional site for high-mountain hikes, and is surrounded by high peaks: Pics d’Engorgs (2,818 and 2,827 metres), Puigpedrós (2,914 metres), Tosseta de l’Esquella (2,871 metres), Puig Farinós (2,594 metres), Pedró de la Tossa (2,695 metres), etc. To reach any of these peaks, you should add approximately 3 hours.
Observations and Recommendations:
View of the valley with the Pyrenees in the background.
You’re in a high-mountain area, and you should take appropriate precautions. Be prudent and do not go beyond marked areas if you’re not accompanied by specialist guides. You should take into account that the weather can change very quickly, so prepare accordingly. You should always take some warm clothes with you, even in the summer. A local curiosity is the “merangines”, a weather phenomenon characterised by the build-up of clouds over Meranges, which often indicate wind and snow. Taking water with you is a must.
You’ll be following a steep linear itinerary that offers lots of options. You should decide what sort of outing you prefer before setting out, and plan how to get to the starting point and return there on the way back from the trek.Guils de Cerdanya
: Romanesque complex and square bell tower in Saneja
Romanesque Saga church
: Romanesque church
with an interesting portal. Clog museum