Illa lake: the most distant

Illa lake

It’s located deep in the Madriu valley, declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

You can access to it by two different and spectacular routes: from Escaldes climbing up the Madriu valley or from Grau Roig crossing the Pessons circus.

Two very interesting and differentiated itineraries. Of course, we need the entire day if we want to make a round trip. We have the possibility to spend the night in the sheltered refuge of the Illa lake, the most modern refuge inaugurated in 2017.

The dam of the Illa lake has a lot of history. It was built during many summer periods, starting in 1947 and being extended until 1955. During all these summers the staff that worked in this project was housed in a construction under the lake that has served as a non-sheltered refuge since the 80's and it’s the base on which the current refuge has been built.

In order to do the works of the dam a route was built from Ràmio and an electric line was installed from Engolasters. Workers were called "the swallows" because they were temporary workers that came in the spring and departed when the fall began. As an anecdote, on August 26, 1951, the first concrete that corresponded to the foundation of the main dam was poured and "in spite of being dressed warmly, it was frozen that night during which it was very cold and 15cm of snow fell". According to the story of the book "La construcció de FHASA i la visió sociològica de l’enginyer Joan Vehils". ISBN

Starting from Pont de la Plana (Escaldes):

  • distance: 23 km (round trip)
  • altitude difference: 1.400 m+/-
  • duration: 8 h 30 (5 h go up and 3 h 30 step down)
  • difficulty level: difficult
  • Download the track
  • starting point: Pont de la Plana, CS-101 at Escaldes; Googlemaps42°30'15.3"N 1°33'03.4"E, 42.504255, 1.550941

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Starting from Grau Roig:

  • distance: 16 km (round trip)
  • altitude difference: 720 m+/-330 m
  • duration: 6 h 30 (3 h 30 go up and 3 h step down)
  • difficulty level: difficult
  • Download the track
  • starting point: Grau Roig parking; Googlemaps

 more information 

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