Col du Soulor via Col du Spandelles

The road of the Col du Soulor, snaking around the edge of the Pyrenees mountains

This route will take you over the little known Col des Spandelles to then climb the northern ascent of the Col du Soulor. Whilst short on distance it is a challenging ride nonetheless with just under 2000m of climbing all up.

Col des Spandelles

From Argeles Gazost the climb to Spandelles is 16kms long with an average gradient of just under 6%. This climb is a great option during the summer heat as the majority of the climb winds up through an alpine forest. Indeed the views don't really appear until you begin to reach the top and head over the other side. The road is very quiet, narrow and you will find it also not as well maintained as other more famous climbs in the area. Be mindful of potholes and a rough surface – especially on the descents.

Col du Soulor

This side of the Soulor may not be as popular as the side from Arrens Marsous, but it is simply spectacular. Right from the get go you will find yourself climbing with the most stunning of mountain vistas for company. As you near the top of the climb the road to Aubisque and the Cirque du Litour comes into view. A magic reward for all the effort you have put in to get this far. As with a lot of the Pyrenean climbs, you can also expect to see herds of sheep or cows along the route as well as donkeys and horses as you reach the summit. This is all part of the experience of riding in this part of the Pyrenees.

Once at the top of Soulor you will find a small cafe which offers a good opportunity to replenish your supplies. A smooth fast flowing descent off the other side of Soulor and back to your starting point at Argeles Gazost is your reward after a short challenging route.

Quick Stats

Distance: 56.6km / 35.2mi

Start elevation: 470m / 1,541ft

Max elevation: 1,474m / 4,836ft

Metres climbed: 1,979m / 6,494ft

Metres descended: 1,979m / 6,494ft

Categorised climbs: 2

Two older cyclists resting on the road side at the Col du Soulor in the French Pyrenees, joined by a large flock of sheep.

A herd of sheep at the summit of the Col du Soulor

Food and water

Food and water is available in several villages on this route, including Ferrières, at the summit of the Col du Soulor as well as Arrens Marsous.

Highlights

  • Stunning views of the giants of the Pyrenees.


  • Quiet, rural roads which are generally free from traffic


  • The view across to the Cirque du Litour from the Northern side of Soulor is breathtaking.
  • Spotting donkeys, horses and sheep on the slopes of the Col du Soulor. Often there are some of each to be seen at the summit.
A female cyclists having photo taken with a donkey at the summit of the col du Soulor in the Pyrenees

A very friendly donkey at top of the Col du Soulor.

Col du Spandelles

Length: 16.2km / 10.07

Average gradient: 5.9%

Start point: Argeles Gazost

Elevation at top: 1,378m / 4,521ft

Col du Soulor

Length: 12.1km / 7.52mi

Average gradient: 7.56%

Start point: Ferriéres

Elevation at top: 1,474m / 4,836ft

Three road bikes along a fence in the pyrenees with a donkey at the top of the Col du Soulor. The Col d'Aubisque climb in the background.