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Best Route from SJPDP to Roncesvalles


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Can anyone advise on the better of the 2 routes from SJPDP to Roncesvalles at the end of August? How tough is the walk and how long does it take - time of day to start out and when to best arrive in Roncesvalles?

thanks Maggee
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No one here knows enough about you to realiably answer this question. You need to get information from any of a number of websites that describe the routes and then make up your mind based on your personal situation. For example, what is "best" for a 25 year old athletic experienced hiker is not "best" for a 65 year old sedentary retiree with respiratory problems. The same goes for how long it takes, when to start etc.


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Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Can anyone advise on the better of the 2 routes from SJPDP to Roncesvalles at the end of August? How tough is the walk and how long does it take - time of day to start out and when to best arrive in Roncesvalles?

Hi Maggee,
Jeff is right about the variables but to answer some of your queries, the higher, most scenic, challenging route is the Route Napoleon. This route should not be taken if the weather is bad. There are two places to stop on the way - Huntto about 5 kms from St Jean and Orisson 8 kms from St Jean. If you are reasonably fit you can walk to Roncesvalles in one day. Be prepared to walk for between 10 and 12 hours. You should leave St Jean as early as possible (not later than 9am) so that you can enjoy the views and have rest stops along the way. The sunrises at about 08h30 in late August and sets at 20:30.
The Road Route - or Val Carlos route - follows the narrow tarred road to Roncesvalles which was the original medieval pilgrims' path. There are a number of camino signs that point to off-road trails along the way. Do not take these if the weather is bad - stay on the road. This is also a very scenic route and there are a couple of places to stop on the way if you are not fit enough to cross over in one day.
Listen to the advice of the locals before you set out.


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Year of past OR future Camino
(2006) Roncesvalles to Leon (2007) Leon to Compostela
Check at the pilgrim office in SJPP when you arrive. Last year I walked the Valcarlos Route, against the advice of the Pilgrim Office. At that time they were encouraging all pilgrims to go over the mountain on the Route Napoleon, I guess in hindsight that was to keep them all together for safety. The Pilgrim Office told me that if I walked the Valcarlos Route, I'd be the only pilgrim there, and they were right. I only saw one other pilgrim, and he turned back!

If you do choose to walk the Valcarlos Route, please stay on the main road. It's more tiring on the feet, and apparently steeper going up the Ibaneta Pass, but the off-road paths are now very overgrown and lonely due to lack of walkers.

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