Luz Ardiden Climb Statistics
Length: 13km / 8.1mi
Average gradient: 7.6%
Start point: 722m / 2,369ft
Elevation at top: 1,715m / 5,627
Category: Hors Category (HC)
Tour de France appearances: 8
First Tour de France appearance: 1985
Last used in Tour de France: 2011
Vuelta a España appearances: 2
Last used in Vuelta a España: 1992
Nearest town: Luz Saint Sauveur
Facilities at top: None
When to ride: May to October
Road condition: Good
Nearest climb: Col du Tourmalet
Number of approaches: 2
Through road at top: No
Closest bike hire: Luz Saint Sauveur
While Luz Ardiden has only been used in the Tour de France a handful of times we highly recommend including it on your itinerary if you are planning to visit the Pyreenes on a cycling holiday. It will definitely test the legs and the ever changing gradient saps the energy as you ascend.
If you are planning to cycle Luz Ardiden we would recommend staying in either Luz Saint Sauveur, Argeles Gazost, Lourdes or Bagneres de Bigorre. These are all bigger towns with all the facilities you need for a great cycling holiday and give you access to a range of other climbs as well. You can view our Lourdes region destination guide for more details.
If you are not familiar with the Pyrenees, our comprehensive guide will help you plan everything you need for your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:
Our cycling route suggestions start in Argeles Gazost as we know from experience the majority of people visiting the area will stay in, or close to the town. From here it is also possible to include other climbs in addition to Luz Ardiden if you want a bigger ride.
Ride distance: 65km / 40.5mi
Elevation gain: 1,685m / 5,521ft
Starting from Argeles Gazost you will make your way along the valley, through the beautiful Gorge de Luz before getting to the base of the climb. The first 18kms ascend gradually and are a good warm up before you begin the climb proper. It doesn’t take long before you start tackling those hairpin bends with steady gradients of between 7 – 9 percent for the duration. The climb through the forest section lasts almost 8 kms and on a hot day brings with it welcome shelter from the sun. With just over 4 kilometres from the top you will leave the forest behind and you can see the ski station at the summit. Be sure you stick to the left when you reach an intersection with just 1.5 kilometres to go.
From here the summit is in reach and you can begin to really appreciate the height you have gained. From the top you will have commanding views of the great Pyrenean giants including the Col du Tourmalet and Hautacam, but it will be that iconic view of those hairpin bends which will bring the biggest smile. It is a one way road to the top so you also have an exhilarating descent to look forward to all the way back to Argeles Gazost.
There are no facilities at the top of the climb so you will need to make sure you have enough food and water to get you up and back. Luz Saint Sauveu, at the base of the climb, has plenty of cafes and shops to stock up on supplies as well as public toilets.
If you are looking for a longer ride or to include other climbs in addition to Luz Ardiden then there are plenty of options to choose from. From Argeles Gazost the valley runs for nearly 40km to the UNESCO listed Gavarnie. The base of Luz Ardiden is located about half way along the valley making it easy to add on more kilometres. The climbs listed all start in the main valley. You can click on the climb name to see the corresponding page for that climb.
The base of the Col du Tourmalet is located only a few kilometres from the base of Luz Ardiden and is the closest climb. Including it would add approximately 40km and 1,400m in elevation. You could climb either first depending on your preference and how your legs feel as you will have a nice warm up before you get to the base of either climb. Col du Tourmalet is the longer of the two.
Hautacam is located on the outskirts of Argeles Gazost at the start of the ride and is another option to consider if you are after a bigger ride. It will add about 30km and 1,200m of climbing. We would recommend climbing Hautacam after Luz Ardiden as you will have a much bigger warm up before the first climb.
The two climbs from Cauterets, Cambasque and Pont d’Espagne are all options as well or simply the ride to Cauterets if the legs are not quite up to it. The turn-off to Cauterets is located about 6km from the start of ride and 12km from the base of Luz Ardiden. Depending on what you choose to do you could add anywhere from 20km to 45km in distance and 410m to 1,400m in elevation gain. You could add these on either before or after climbing Luz Ardiden depending on your preference.
From the base of the Luz Ardiden you can ride further up the valley to the town of Gavernie which also gives you the options of the Cirque de Troumouse and Col de Tentes climbs. This will add from between 40km and 90km in distance and 720m and 2,500m in elevation depending on the route you select. The order in which you do these is up to you, there is no reason to complete any particular climb first over the others.
Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter.
Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter.