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When does the Napoleon Route open in 2022?

Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
For some reason, I thought I had read on HERE that the Napoleon Route was closed through April and didn't open until 1 May.
I have searched and searched but don't see the answer. Does anyone here know for SURE where I can find that information?
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
For some reason, I thought I had read on HERE that the Napoleon Route was closed through April and didn't open until 1 May. I have searched and searched but don't see the answer. Does anyone here know for SURE where I can find that information?
It is the same rule as every year since at least 2015: Spanish authorities prohibit by law that pilgrims walk the route Napoleon on Spanish territory from 1 November 2021 until 31 March 2022. They must take the Valcarlos route. See Decision 197/2021 of 29 September 2021. You can read it in Spanish, in French, and in English. Links:
 
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Also, in early April, the conditions of the path (remaining snow) may be such that pilgrims are strongly advised to not walk the Napoleon route. The Pilgrims Office will know as volunteers and/or officials from both the French and the Spanish side drive up there to check it out. Follow their advice.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
@Anniesantiago I think that this announcement this past March (2021) may have been what confused you. The Pilgrim's Office didn't open until the beginning of May 2021. Not the Route Napoleon itself.

Note: this is from a thread from March 2021
The pilgrim's office in SJPP is closed, at least, until the beginning of May.
We will open when the Way in Spain is possible again.
A telephone permanence is assured
Thank you for your understanding
Here's the thread:
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
So the Varcarlos route is open all year long? I arrive in Pamploma March 27th. I will look at the weather conditions in the Pyrenees and determine if I will start in Pamploma. How is the lower route at that time of year?
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
How is the lower route at that time of year?
I walked that way at the beginning of March and it was totally fine - some old snow was still on the ground nearing the top but that was all. It very much depends on weather, though. It can be snowy later, or not. Check ahead for weather condions in general, and at the PO in SJPP once you get there.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
So the Varcarlos route is open all year long? I arrive in Pamploma March 27th. I will look at the weather conditions in the Pyrenees and determine if I will start in Pamploma. How is the lower route at that time of year?
We walked via Valcarlos around 15th March in 2018. There was pretty heavy falling snow from about half way up (I'm Australian so put that in context!!!!) We walked the first two stages through the forest trail and the last stage on the road. It snowed most of the next day to Zubiri where they had 25cm of snow over night. It was a beautiful, beautiful wonderland! Our children had their first ever snow ball fight! There was a bit on snow on the ground in Pamplona but not much after that until Burgos. But each year it is different. Can I recommend that you take really good gloves? Maybe a buff/neck gaitor..

Making the decision based on the weather when you get there is a great idea.

Buen Camino
 
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Roland49

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
I have searched and searched but don't see the answer. Does anyone here know for SURE where I can find that information?
Even on 1st of July in 2019 it was not recommended to walk the Route Napolean!

I did this and met several Pilgrims who were not well prepared and regretted it (cold, windy, rain, big mud-puddles on the ascent). Many of them stopped soon in Orisson.

On the plateau the weather got better and we had some moments of sun.
It is an alpine region and you can't forecast the weather precisely.
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
So the Varcarlos route is open all year long? I arrive in Pamploma March 27th. I will look at the weather conditions in the Pyrenees and determine if I will start in Pamploma. How is the lower route at that time of year?
If there is a lot of snow it may be best to walk the Valcarlos way totally on the road. It could be strenuous on the trail portion.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
We walked via Valcarlos around 15th March in 2018. There was pretty heavy falling snow from about half way up (I'm Australian so put that in context!!!!) We walked the first two stages through the forest trail and the last stage on the road. It snowed most of the next day to Zubiri where they had 25cm of snow over night. It was a beautiful, beautiful wonderland! Our children had their first ever snow ball fight! There was a bit on snow on the ground in Pamplona but not much after that until Burgos. But each year it is different. Can I recommend that you take really good gloves? Maybe a buff/neck gaitor..

Making the decision based on the weather when you get there is a great idea.

Buen Camino
thank you so much! I'll be walking solo and will assess when I arrive in Pamploma
 

trevorcc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPD to Santiago 2013,2014, Camino de Levante Sept. 2016, Frances March 2018, planning 2020
So the Varcarlos route is open all year long? I arrive in Pamploma March 27th. I will look at the weather conditions in the Pyrenees and determine if I will start in Pamploma. How is the lower route at that time of year?
Have walked both, in Snow the Varcalos is wonderful and safe, I enjoyed this way the best. But if its your first walk I understand you may want the NR but when I walked it in March a week into April people were still trying it and getting rescued , I THINK ITS NOT A GOOD WAY TO START A CAMINO.
 
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EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
Have walked both, in Snow the Varcalos is wonderful and safe, I enjoyed this way the best. But if its your first walk I understand you may want the NR but when I walked it in March a week into April people were still trying it and getting rescued , I THINK ITS NOT A GOOD WAY TO START A CAMINO.
So getting to St Jean is not a problem that time of year? I have no problem walking the lower route. Advice on clothing etc?
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
It is no the lower route. You will be ascending the same altitude as you would on the Napoleon. The NR can be closed just as easily and the foot path if there is too much snow. Check with the pilgrim office before you set out.
 
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
The difference in maximum altitude between the Napoleon route and the Valcarlos route is 400 metres. The highest point of the Napoleon route is 1450 m and the highest point of the Valcarlos route is 1055 metres. This is a considerable difference in altitude.

In the winter months, and even in other months, it will often snow at 1200-1400 metres and rain at 1000 metres. Snow will remain on the ground much longer at higher altitude.

On the Napoleon route, you must walk for more than 5 km at an altitude of over 1200 metres, something that you never reach on the Valcarlos route. This is the section of the Napoleon route that is prohibited by Spanish law from 1 November until 31 March.
 
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
The Valcarlos route for foot pilgrims runs parallel to the main road (N 135) from SJPP to Valcarlos. When it snows heavily which happens from time to time and the snow ploughs are needed elsewhere or cannot keep up, this road can be closed for motor traffic for a day or two but remains open for pedestrians. Of course it may not be wise to walk when there is much snow on the ground because it slows you down and costs additional energy. On the other hand, it is fun to walk on a car free road. Decide what to do at the time and on the basis of good and up to date information.
 
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
The excellent Meteoblue.com weather forecast website lets you see a detailed forecast for Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port as well as for the top of the Valcarlos route (enter Puerta de Ibañeta) and for the top of the Napoleon route (enter Col de Bentarte). I learnt about this website because the Pilgrim Office in SJPP used to print out their forecast and put it up on the wall in their office; I think they have now switched to a different provider. The volunteers won't know the weather forecast any better than these weather services but what they do know, and what you can only learn from them in early April, is the condition of the path on the ground.

Just by way of an example, you can see that, today, SJPP will enjoy temperatures of up to 22 ºC (72 ºF), while the temperature on the two passes will no climb above 14 ºC (57 ºF), and next week they expect it to be considerably colder with rain mixed with snow or even only snow on the high Bentarte/Lepoeder passes while it will rain in the town of SJPP and on the low Ibañeta pass.
 
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trevorcc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPD to Santiago 2013,2014, Camino de Levante Sept. 2016, Frances March 2018, planning 2020
So getting to St Jean is not a problem that time of year? I have no problem walking the lower route. Advice on clothing etc?
I always walk in shorts, for the snow I wore a pair of thermals under neath the shorts, top thermals, tshirt and sleeveless vest…but I do not feel the cold like others. Footwear NBalance trail shoes they dry overnight.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've walked the Valcarlos route twice. I often hear on the forum about all the road walking, but I only recall two rather short sections walking on the road. I often was able to take alternate routes through lovely forests with streams; I found those paths delightful. The whole route has far more solitude for those looking for more contemplation.
 

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