Cycling the Col d’Aubisque via Col du Borderes and Col du Soulor
The Col d’Aubisque is a famous cycling climb located in the Pyrenees mountains at an altitude of 1,709m. It was first used in the 1910 Tour de France and has been used on 73 occasions since then. From Laruns the climb is 16.6km in length at an average gradient of 7.2% and from Col du Solour, the climb is 6.6km in length at an average gradient of 4.6%. The Col d’Aubisque will once again be used in the 2022 Tour de France where the race will climb from the Laruns side.
This route to the top of Col d’Aubisque takes in Col des Borderes and Col du Solour first before the shorter ascent to the top of Col d’Aubisque. If you prefer to ride this climb from the Laruns side you can find the route here.
Click here to see a list of all of our cycling routes available in the Pyrenees. We have mapped out 40 rides across five regions within the Pyrenees mountain range for you to explore. The routes incorporate all the famous cycling cols and have downloadable GPX files to help you with navigation.
The first climb – Col des Borderes
This ride takes you from Argeles Gazost to the small village of Saint-Savin and has great views of the mountains all around. The road is constantly uphill as you wind your way up through beautiful tree-lined countryside beside a small stream. The looming heights of the surrounding mountains are a good indication of what is to come. Once you reach the town of Estaing, take a turn to the right to climb Col des Borderes. From here the summit is 3kms up a short but very steep climb, before dropping down to the village of Arrens Marsous and the bottom of Col du Soulor.
Climb no 2. Cycling the Col du Soulor
The Col du Soulor is 7.5km long and maintains a fairly steady gradient for the whole climb. As you keep passing the kilometer markers on the roadside you start to understand what these climbs are really like. Soak in those amazing views as you make your way to the top. It is quite common to see flocks of sheep grazing on the surrounding roadside pastures as you get closer to the summit.
Cycling the Col d’Aubisque
From the top of the Col du Soulor, the road drops down to the Cirque du Litor, which is seemingly perched on the side of a cliff. Personally, we think this is one of the most spectacular roads you could ever wish to ride. You will pass through two short tunnels before heading up to the top of the Col d’Aubisque. The actual climb of the Col d’Aubisque from this approach is not very long but don’t be misled by the average gradient of 4.6% as the final sections are much steeper.
Tour de France atmosphere
Once you crest the summit you will see the famous giant bikes, each representing a jersey in the Tour de France. During the peak summer cycling season, the summit is a hive of activity. Cycling the Col d’Aubisque is a bucket list climb for thousands of people so enjoy the atmosphere. Often you are not just sharing the climb with other cyclists but also herds of cattle too! Be sure to take some time to soak in the view before retracing your steps back to Arrens Marsous. From here you take the main road all the way back to Argeles Gazost on beautiful smooth pavement, that makes for an amazing descent.
Suggested cycling route
Distance: 67.7km / 42.1mi
Start elevation: 469m / 1,538ft
Max elevation: 1,708m / 5,608ft
Metres climbed: 2,150m / 7,053ft
Metres descended: 2,154m / 7,068ft
Categorised climbs: 3
Food and water
There is a café or bar at both the top of Col du Soulor and Col d’Aubisque. You will pass through the villages of Arrens Marsous, Aucun, and Arras-en-Lavedan on your way back home all of which have options for food and water should you wish to stop. There are plenty of facilities in Argeles Gazost, the start and finish point.
- Taking in 3 Cols in one ride!
- The magical road of the Cirque du Litor has to be seen to be believed.
- Sharing the famous Cols with the animals on the mountains – sheep, cows, donkeys, and horses are often to be found.
- The big bikes at the top of Aubisque remind you of its pedigree as a Tour de France climb!
Col du Borderes
Average gradient: 6.5%
Start point: Bun
Elevation at top: 1,156m
Col du Soulor
Average gradient: 7.7%
Start point: Arrens Marsous
Elevation at top: 1,474m
Length: 6.6 km
Average gradient: 6.6%%
Start point: Col du Soulor
Elevation at top: 1,709m
Discover our comprehensive guide to Cycling in the Pyrenees
Cycling the Col d’Aubsique climb is just one of many great cycling routes to discover in the Pyrenees. 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:
- a map of the French Pyrenees with climbs and towns marked
- where to base yourself whist on your cycling holiday
- cycling hotels and lodges
- bike hire outlets
- getting to and from the Pyrenees
- non-cycling attractions and activities in the region