If you get the chance to cycle the climb of Cirque de Troumouse you are in for a real treat. This ride can be classified as a hidden gem in this part of the Pyrenees. Due to its location within the Pyrenees National Park, the Cirque de Troumouse climb has never been featured in the Tour de France. The Tour’s loss is your gain though as it is an absolutely stunning hors catégorie climb which has it all. Topping out at an elevation of 2110m (6923ft) it is also one of the highest climbs in the Pyrenees.
This route begins from Argeles Gazost, although you could certainly start the ride from any of the towns between there and Luz Saint-Sauveur. Personally, we have always enjoyed the warm up which winding through the valley and on up through the Gorge de Luz gives you. A few kilometres from Luz Saint-Sauveur you will ride past the Pont Napoléon bridge. A quick stop here affords you fantastic views of the deep, rock gorge and valley. In the summer months you may be fortunate to watch some people bungee jumping from the bridge!
The town of Gédre marks the start of the climb. Once you make your way through the cobbled streets and take a series of hairpin bends you will immediately take a left turn. Whilst your ride to get to this point is all uphill – the real climbing begins now.
There is no other way about it – the road to the summit is hard. Steep ramps of over 13% await you, and if you are riding this climb in the heat of summer you will be exposed to the full force of the sun. After passing through a set toll gates (ride on through it is free to continue for those on bikes), you will start climbing the first set of spectacular switchbacks. The road is narrow and cut up and it is quite common to see sheep and cattle grazing on the pasture beside it. If you are lucky you may even spot a marmot! The spectacular views you are afforded as you gain elevation will hopefully distract you from the double digit gradients.
A quick descent follows and as you pass a small cafe on your left, you may be hoping the climbing is finished. But the road ahead tells a different story. One final set of switchbacks and 3kms/1.8mi of climbing awaits you. From here the road to the top stays consistently between 10 – 11%. With the big rock amphitheatre looming large you will feel quite small in this stunning landscape.
A small car park at the top signifies the end of the climbing. If you feel like a short hike there are walking trails to be found at the summit. Personally we think the views of the hairpin road with the surrounding large mountains is one of the most spectacular in the whole of the Pyrenees – make sure you take some photos!
Distance: 90.6km / 56.3mi
Start elevation: 470m / 1,541ft
Max elevation: 2,110m / 6,923ft
Metres climbed: 2,218m / 7,276ft
Metres descended: 2,218m / 7,276ft
Categorised climbs: 1
The summit views of the surrounding mountains and Cirque is spectacular as you look out onto the high peaks topping out at over 3000m/98450ft
There are numerous villages on the route which offer up the chance to replenish your food and water supplies. These include:
There is also a small cafe located at the base of the last set of switchbacks, just 3kms/1.8mi from the summit of the climb.
The final section of switchbacks leading to the the summit.
Length: 14.8km / 9.2mi
Average gradient: 6.9%
Start point: Gèdre
Elevation at top: 2,110m / 6,293ft
The view back looking back down the valley onto the small village of Gédre.
Once you make your way through the village of Gédre you are almost at the start of the climb proper.
On the climb you will be sharing the road with grazing animals – be aware of this on the descent!
The only way is up and the Cirque de Troumouse has multiple sets of switchbacks to climb.
The Pont Napoléon Bridge is located just 2 kilometres from the centre of Luz Saint-Saveur.
Cycling to Cirque de Troumouse is just one of many great cycling routes in the Hautes Pyrenees which you can enjoy. This area of the Pyrenees is very popular with cyclists who are keen to ride some of the famous climbs of the Tour de France for themselves.
If you are not familiar with this region then, our comprehensive guide will help you plan everything you need for your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:
Click here to see a list of cycling routes available in the Pyrenees. We have mapped out 38 rides across five regions within the Pyrenees mountain range for you to explore.
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