Lakes of Tristaina, an essential of Andorra

tristaina andorra lakes

Today I am going to tell you about an excursion suitable for everyone and close to our country, specifically the lakes of Tristaina, in the extreme north of Andorra. Surely one of the most interesting routes in the country of the Pyrenees.

The lakes or circus of Tristaina is a set of lakes located in the Andorran town of Ordino and at an altitude of 2300 meters, where the Pyrenees separate 3 countries: Andorra, Spain and France.

The main lakes of the circus are: the lake first (the smallest, at about 2250 meters of altitude and of a more vivid blue color), the middle pond (the medium, at about 2300 meters of altitude and surrounded by scree) and the lake above (the largest of the 3, of a darker blue color, at about 2350 meters of altitude and surrounded by peaks of almost 2900 meters).

tristaina lakes andorra

My route proposal can be done in half a day if we start early. If you want to make ascents to high peaks of the circus.

The excursion takes place at all times at altitudes above 2000 meters, for this reason it is advisable to do it in summer. More than half of the year it is completely covered with snow, so we will need snowshoes or special footwear to travel the roads if there is snow. On the other hand, it is a good option to see it in summer and winter when the lakes are frozen and the entire environment is snowy, in both cases the charm of the landscape is unique.

How to get to the Tristaina lakes?

To get to the Tristaina lakes We will go along the CS-380 national road that leads to the Ordino Arcalís ski slopes. We will cross the entire Arcalís area until we reach almost the highest point, specifically at La Coma restaurant, where we will park and start the route on foot. Some guides recommend parking a little lower where there are the indications for the beginning of the road, I recommend you go a little further with the car to the restaurant and start the route from there. It is just as beautiful and there is almost no difference except that in the first case the initial part has a rather steep slope.

tristaine andorra

The Tristaina Circus can only be reached on foot.

Then, just behind the restaurant begins the path that goes around the mountain and little by little it climbs until it reaches the small neck that opens the access to the three lakes. This first climb requires about half an hour.

Once here is where we can decide which route we are going to follow and what things we want to see.

What to see and what to do in the Tristaina lakes?

The excursion that I recommend in order is:

  • middle pond
  • lake superior
  • trekking or hiking in the lake superior area
  • lower lake

tristaina lakes

Once we have crossed the neck and descended towards the area of ​​the lakes, the first one that we are going to meet from the front is the middle pond, we will take about 45 minutes from the restaurant and about 15 from the neck. You can tour the lake both on the right and on the left.

A few minutes later we will arrive to the upper lake, the largest. The 3 ponds are very close to each other. It is advisable to go along it on the right side, the path on the left reaches a point where the slope of the mountain is too high.

In summer it is allowed to bathe in this lake. Surely only the bravest will do it, as it is a glacial lake. Half a year is frozen and half a year not but with a very low water temperature.

circus tristaina andorra

Once observed and enjoyed Lake Superior I I recommend you take a path to your right that goes up the mountain following the course of a small stream. It is a steep climb but in less than half an hour we will reach another neck (already located at about 2500 meters of altitude) where we can decide whether to continue climbing to one of the Tristaina peaks or finish the climb and enjoy the spectacular views of the entire valley and part of Andorra that this point offers us.

I decided not to continue climbing and contemplate all of Tristaina from here, I do not know if it is worth climbing one of the peaks that are right next to this junction.

Once we have finished this part of the excursion we will be able to descend the same way up but instead of diverting towards the upper pond I would go straight to the lower pond. After half an hour of descent we will reach the top of the pond where we can see it from a considerable height. From there you can also see the entire Ordino valley that goes down to El Serrat and other Andorran towns.

pyrenees tristaina andorra

As I have told you, this is the smallest of the 3, in a few minutes you can go around.

Finally, we return to the small initial neck (about 15 minutes from the lower pond) and from there we descend again to the La Coma restaurant.

The Tristaina lakes are also known to fans of fishing. It is allowed throughout the circus and at any time of the year you will see people enjoying the pleasure of fishing.

It is a fairly easy route in general, well indicated and easily accessible, allows multiple variations according to the tastes of each mountaineer. Very suitable for nature lovers and for those who want to enjoy Andorra from a different point of view than the country of the Pyrenees may have us used to.

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