The Tristaina lakes are an iconic point of the Andorran landscape, and are accessed through one of the busiest hiking trails in the Principality, now even more so after the opening of the Tristaina solar viewpoint. Its name comes from the Latin Tris Stagnu, and refers to the short distance that separates the three lakes, a feature that makes them a single entity.
This is a circular mountain path of 4.39km, which passes through the Biosphere Reserve declared by Unesco in 2020, in the parish of Ordino. If you are visiting Andorra with your family there is nothing to worry about, as the route to the first lake is suitable for all types of hikers and is a fairly easy route that even the youngest members of the family will enjoy. In fact, it will take you approximately 2 hours and a quarter to complete the route, so it is a highly recommended route, even for hikers looking for a less extensive activity.
The ascent begins on one of the ski slopes of Arcalís, a sector of the Grandvalira Resorts. Please note that, during the summer months, access to the Coma del Forat is reserved for cyclists and hikers only. Therefore, if you do not want to make the journey on foot or by bike, the only alternative will be to go up by gondola paying a 17 euro ticket.
As an additional fact, we remind you that weather conditions in the mountains can change very quickly, so before venturing out you should always make sure you are prepared. We recommend you to do this route in the summer months, as during the rest of the year you might find snowy roads.
As soon as you start, you will discover a somewhat peculiar sculpture, whose name is Arcalis 91. With 4 meters in diameter and a circular shape, this masterpiece of the sculptor Mauro Staccioli provokes a challenge between human laws and natural laws. Therefore, this is the perfect place to take pictures before actually starting the route, where you will have the opportunity to discover a multitude of picturesque landscapes. If you feel like getting your strength back before starting the ascent, shortly after you will come across a restaurant surrounded by mountains and privileged views.
In a matter of minutes you will actually start the route, but don't worry, the incline is not very steep, as the total vertical drop of the route is 210m. About 40 minutes later, you will arrive at the first lake, known as Primer Lake.
Although it is the smallest of the three lakes, it is also the one with the bluest water, so here you will have a place where you can take spectacular pictures. It extends over an area of about two hectares and from its 2,250 meters high you will be able to appreciate the magnitude of the Andorran mountains.
Continuing the route, you will have to cross a small wooden bridge and then you will find the Mig Lake, and it's about 2,300 meters high. This lake is a little larger than the previous one, which you will appreciate as you border it to reach the largest of the three, the Més Amunt Lake.
This last lake marks the highlight of the trail, where you can enjoy spectacular views. At the highest point of this route, you will be amazed by the landscape that unfolds next to this mirror of water, which is located just below the peak of Tristaina.
This route is also a good opportunity to discover the flora and fauna of the country. Here you will come across a typical species of the Pyrenees, the androsace carnea. If you are lucky, you will be able to see how the percheron horses walk through the mountains that are their natural habitat.
So, do you dare to try this route?