A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

The alternative route down to Roncesvalles

Camino(s) past & future
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
#1
We've walked the Camino twice; first time we approached Roncesvalles by the 'traditional' route through the woods. Last year we took the 'alternative' route down the road.

Question... when you get to the bottom of the hill on the road route, is there a marked route which allows you to get to Roncesvalles without walking along the main road? I'm not sure if we missed it or it just doesn't exist.

Planning for number 3 next year... :)

Thanks in advance.
 
Last edited:

Advertisment

Camino(s) past & future
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
#3
Ooooh! Do you divert off the downhill before the bottom? I'm busy scouting Street View on GoogleMaps now for clues! :D
 

Advertisment

Camino(s) past & future
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
#7
Being honest, (now!) I'm not sure why more people don't take the alternative route rather than risk life and limb (... well ankles and knees) through the forest. Much better scenery too!
 
Last edited:

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#9
Take the yellow arrow, joining up with the traditional route just before reaching the albergue.

Being honest, (now!) I'm not sure why more people don't take the alternative route rather than risk life and limb (... well ankles and knees) through the forest. Much better scenery too!

View attachment 46204
And the horses, I loved them, just standing on the side of the road in groups, mildly interested in us.
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#10
to Cambridge Pilgrim - your yellow arrow leaving the path is premature. Keep going all the way to the main asphalt road but don't cross it. Turn left and walk on the grass this side of the asphalt road.

in the post under yours by Felipe, click on "here" the last word in blue bold type to see a 360 view where the path parallels the asphalt road.

If you turn at your yellow arrow, it will still work of course but it's not the intended and marked turn like the one at the asphalt road and it might be through private property.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#11
@twh is right. You need to go down to the main road coming up from SJPP; that is where you turn into a marked path to the left that leads to Roncesvalles. You can see the path and the waymarkers - both the stone waymarkers typical for the Camino Frances and the wooden waymarker pole typical for the GRs - in Streetview at this point. You can also see it all clearly marked in a proper map such as the online map of the Spanish Geographical Institute Iberpix. And it is well explained in the visual map that the pilgrims office in SJPP hands out. The correct path is also already shown in @trecile's screenshots in post #6!

Edited due to updates in this thread.
 
Last edited:

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#15
We've walked the Camino twice; first time we approached Roncesvalles by the 'traditional' route through the woods. Last year we took the 'alternative' route down the road.

Question... when you get to the bottom of the hill on the road route, is there a marked route which allows you to get to Roncesvalles without walking along the main road? I'm not sure if we missed it or it just doesn't exist.

Planning for number 3 next year... :)

Thanks in advance.
On your left through what I can only describe as a garden gate. Does not seem to save much time though as the pilgrims we were with missed it and did not hear us call them. We all arrived within minutes of each other
 

camster

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2019
#17
So to make sure, is this col Lepoeder, or a little after?
And to go down the alternate route (instead of the forest) which side would I use? -- go through the grass or stay on the road?
trecile's second picture confuses me, as to where the split between the path for the forest and the route takes place.
When you follow the left hand side on my picture, you arrive at the small church, but I don't see/can't find the spot on google maps where you go right to get onto the road that leads to ibaneta.(Col lepoeder). I guess it's not on Gmaps..?
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#18
So to make sure, is this col Lepoeder, or a little after?
And to go down the alternate route (instead of the forest) which side would I use?
I believe that it's past just that. Look at the map that I posted above. The alternative trail goes to the right. That's a screenshot from my Buen Camino app. Their website is in Spanish, but you choose your own language for the app. When I was on that part of the Camino last year there were actually two arrows painted on the road, one that said "the hard way", and the other "the easy way."

Here's the map from Gronze.com - it should be the red dashed line route napoleon.jpg
 
Last edited:

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#19
So to make sure, is this col Lepoeder, or a little after?
And to go down the alternate route (instead of the forest) which side would I use? -- go through the grass or stay on the road?
trecile's second picture confuses me, as to where the split between the path for the forest and the route takes place.
When you follow the left hand side on my picture, you arrive at the small church, but I don't see/can't find the spot on google maps where you go right to get onto the road that leads to ibaneta.(Col lepoeder). I guess it's not on Gmaps..?
Don't overthink it, please. You'll ruin the start of your Camino!

If it is rainy take the right or left option. If it is dry take right or the left option.
It's the same as with backpacks, footwear etc. We don't know you. And you don't know how you will feel on that particular day. And you definitely don't know what the weather will be like.

I wanted to write that you come back once at Orisson and we'll help but then remembered what sort of weather I had: fog, sunshine, light drizzle, sunshine, small hail, fog, sunshine. And at Rncesvalles - dark. Could you imagine? The night happened. Most strange :)

Buen Camino!
 

camster

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2019
#20
thank you. I got the app, it said I made a purchase for the Frances map.... we'll see where that amount turns up!
The app is amazing, thanks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#21
@camster , the picture that you posted doesn't look like the spot where the split occurs. As I recall, when you go towards the right on the alternate the path is mostly paved.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#22
We've walked the Camino twice; first time we approached Roncesvalles by the 'traditional' route through the woods. Last year we took the 'alternative' route down the road.

Question... when you get to the bottom of the hill on the road route, is there a marked route which allows you to get to Roncesvalles without walking along the main road? I'm not sure if we missed it or it just doesn't exist.

Planning for number 3 next year... :)

Thanks in advance.
We walked along the road for less than 1p0 yds.
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#24
I know she and everyone else will probably figure it out. In retrospect, it turns out there are not many options to choose from so all roads/paths lead to Roncevalles. However I know it doesn't feel quite that sanguine when it's your first time through, you are already pretty exhausted, it's raining, it's cold, it's so foggy you can't see 20 meters, the signage is missing and all the other people around you are just as confused and uncertain. If you need assurance check out the screen shots from Google earth below in my next 4 or 5 postings here. If this is not enough information to get you through, send me a round trip ticket and I'll hold your hand as we navigate this "bermuda triangle"
SS1 30K feet.png
 
#29
Being honest, (now!) I'm not sure why more people don't take the alternative route rather than risk life and limb (... well ankles and knees) through the forest. Much better scenery too!
Why the way through the woods petfect apart for first 500mts. Protection from sun or rair or snow or wind. Did you ever try to find the road covered in a few meters of snow buen camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#31
Thank you @twh for those captioned pictures. I have not been at the triangle of confusion but I've done lots of googling (for maps, descriptions, photos) to create something similar but there is no way I could have done the job as well as you. I agree with your directions. The problem is that walkers are directed off the road onto the grassy area and down the path into the center of the triangle of confusion where they find a confusing sign. If this path would be marked as a short cut to be avoided walkers would take the road to end up in the same spot that the confusing easy way path would go. And just before that spot, on the left hand side of the road as they walk, will be the Camino through the woods that causes so many walkers to have so much trouble in bad weather due to tougher trail conditions.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#32
I love that walk through the woods -- it's actually more enjoyable going upwards in the opposite direction, but then the whole hike Roncesvalles >> SJPP is delightful, nearly all of it downhill ... :p
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#33
the whole hike Roncesvalles >> SJPP is delightful, nearly all of it downhill ... :p
Actually those who go to SJPdP through Spain should consider starting from Roncesvalles and walking to St. Jean one way, spending the night and then head back to Roncesvalles the next day by the other route. Choice of order would likely be weather dependent.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#34
Why the way through the woods petfect apart for first 500mts. Protection from sun or rair or snow or wind. Did you ever try to find the road covered in a few meters of snow buen camino
Have you done it recently? Asking because in July the Pilgrim Office was issuing a flyer, stating it was dangerous. There had been heavy rainfalls this Spring causing landslides (hence the train being replaced by the bus to repair damage for instance)....

So I would like to know if that walk through the woods has deteriorated (enough) to make it dangerous.... I last walked it in 2013, that’s quite a while ago.... (I didn’t ask the Pilgrim’s Office because I only saw the flyer later....)

Anyone walked it recently?
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#35
I love that walk through the woods -- it's actually more enjoyable going upwards in the opposite direction, but then the whole hike Roncesvalles >> SJPP is delightful, nearly all of it downhill ... :p
Yes Jabbapapa, I was looking forward to experiencing the old growth forest on the woods route. I had decided I would walk it despite the info we were given cautioning us against it IF I could find one other pilgrim to go along with me. All of that was moot because I never walked by the trailhead.

In Roncevalles I talked with people who had taken the woods route and they said it was beautiful and it was not icy. From what I "heard" in Roncevalles, the trail really was icy and closed with a guard stationed there the day before, 5/13. But on the day we walked it had warmed up enough to melt the ice. We were walking in temperatures between 38 F and 42 F for most of the day with consistent rain, a little gentle hail and a few snowflakes falling. There were also intermittent patches of snow a few inches deep but they did not hinder us in anyway, they just added to the beauty of the experience.

I attached a picture below of 3 people walking in the fog that day. The lens of the camera lets in a lot more light than our eyes do so the untouched photo looks pretty clear, bright and cheery. The other darker photo is closer to what it looked like through my eyes.

fog actual.jpg fog.jpg
 
#36
Have you done it recently? Asking because in July the Pilgrim Office was issuing a flyer, stating it was dangerous. There had been heavy rainfalls this Spring causing landslides (hence the train being replaced by the bus to repair damage for instance)....

So I would like to know if that walk through the woods has deteriorated (enough) to make it dangerous.... I last walked it in 2013, that’s quite a while ago.... (I didn’t ask the Pilgrim’s Office because I only saw the flyer later....)

Anyone walked it recently?
11 times in last 7 years latest end of april 2018. No problems.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
#38
Why the way through the woods petfect apart for first 500mts. Protection from sun or rair or snow or wind. Did you ever try to find the road covered in a few meters of snow buen camino
500metres is quite a distance when every step feels like walking on a banana skin laid on a bed of greased ball-bearings... as it did one July!!I I have VERY bad knees so the road is definitely the better option for me.

Last time, I also saw the benefit on the descent down to Zubiri. My joints were still in good enough shape to get down there much more easily.

Horses for courses I guess... and this horse is a little lame! ;)
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#39
Thanks tpmchugh. :) It was more a safety thing really.
De Nada. I dont like walking on the roads either and the few minutes I spent at Ibañetta, I saw enough traffic to have no desire to get into it. Last April when the river at Puente la Reina wiped out the camino trail leaving the town, the locals told us we must take the road. We started up the road but the traffic was so heavy and close to us, we turned back to the town and got a bus
 
Camino(s) past & future
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
#40
De Nada. I dont like walking on the roads either and the few minutes I spent at Ibañetta, I saw enough traffic to have no desire to get into it. Last April when the river at Puente la Reina wiped out the camino trail leaving the town, the locals told us we must take the road. We started up the road but the traffic was so heavy and close to us, we turned back to the town and got a bus
Highwaymen, malnutrition, and gangrenous toes notwithstanding, it must’ve been great walking the Camino in earlier times without any risk of being mown down by a juggernaut! I guess we can’t pick and choose what we accept as progress...unfortunately. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Will walk the camino francés in October 2018 and beginning of November
#41
First time I reached Ibañeta, I missed the path.
Yes, it is between the signpost and the panel, click here
Which path do you refer to exactly ? I'll be there on the 1st of October and do not wish to go down through the woods, but rather by the scenic ('open') path.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#42
Which path do you refer to exactly ? I'll be there on the 1st of October and do not wish to go down through the woods, but rather by the scenic ('open') path.
Please go to the Pilgrims Office in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port when you arrive. You will get up to date information including an updated illustrated leaflet that shows you clearly which path to take at the point marked as Col de Lepoeder (1410m) so that you don't go through the woods (see below):

 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#46
Which path do you refer to exactly ? I'll be there on the 1st of October and do not wish to go down through the woods, but rather by the scenic ('open') path.
Annie, we were talking about the descent from Ibañeta chapel to Roncesvalles, where many pilgrims get confused (or, alternatively, prefer) and take the paved road, instead of the path by the woods.
This isssue is different to the options at Col de Lepoeder (rout Napolleon); or the alternatives from Saint Jean Pied de Port, between the Napolleon and the Valcarlos way.
This stage requires some planning in advance, especially in autumn; after all, it is a mountain pass. In the rest of stages, you can just follow the arrows and the flow of pilgrims,
The Camino is beautiful in October. I did it, and have very warm memories.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, Arles, Le Puy, Shikoku, Norte, Inglés, Primitivo, Interior, Portuguese, Baztan (from 2005)
#47
I just walked the Route Napoleon last week, in the fog unfortunately most of the time. At the top I was told not to go straight through the woods where i saw most pilgrims go! The volunteers warned us it is slippery. The sign in spanish warns us of very steep slopes. There are two big yellow arrows on the tree to the right, follow a small paved road with no traffic and the red and white blaze for the GR 19. As mentionned before accross the chapel there is a gate leading to the path through the field. Enjoy!
 

OLDER threads on this topic



A few items available from the Camino Forum Store



Pilgrims here right now

Advertisement

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 8 1.1%
  • February

    Votes: 4 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 32 4.6%
  • April

    Votes: 106 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 172 24.6%
  • June

    Votes: 51 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 14 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 10 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 201 28.8%
  • October

    Votes: 85 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 10 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.7%
Top