Col du Soulor via Col de Spandelles
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I only cycled Col de Spandelles for the first time in 2022, even though we have been visiting the area since 2013. The advice I was always given was that the road surface was not great for a road bike and to try other climbs instead. After riding it for the first time, it’s a climb I wish I had ridden earlier as it was great and gets you away from the busier parts of the mountains. Luckily for me, and everyone else, the road was resurfaced and was used in the 2022 Tour de France. So I can highly recommend it as one to try when you visit the region.
This route that I have put together departs from Argeles Gazost and takes in both the Col de Spandelles and the Col du Soulor. The thing I love about it is the remoteness you feel in this part of the Pyrenees. The road on Col de Spandelles is quite small and narrow and there is not a lot of traffic on it. The climb to Col du Soulor from the northern approach is a challenge but the views across the mountains are beautiful.
After leaving Argeles Gazost there are no food stops until you get to the top of the Col du Soulor, so make sure you are well stocked up. There is a tap for water in the village of Ferriéres as well as a toilet and this is a good place to fill the water bottles before you start the second climb of the day.
Whilst short on distance it is a challenging ride nonetheless with just under 2 000m of climbing all up. I love it as a loop and recommend you add it to your list of rides to do in the Hautes Pyrenees. It can be ridden in either direction.
The Seek Travel Ride website currently has a list of 40 cycling routes in the Pyrenees if you are looking for other ideas of where to ride. All the routes have been created based on our own experience of visiting and cycling in this amazing destination.
Suggested cycling route
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
Col de Spandelles
From Argeles Gazost the climb to Spandelles is 16 km 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 to 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.
Our detailed page about the Col de Spandelles has lots of handy information about the climb. It includes the gradient profiles from both sides of the climb as well as practical information about cycling this climb.
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 that 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.
Food and water
Food and water are available in several villages on this route, including Ferrières, at the summit of the Col du Soulor as well as Arrens Marsous.
- Stunning views of the giants of the Pyrenees.
- Quiet, rural roads which are generally free from traffic
- The view across to the Cirque du Litor 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.
Climb statistics and gradient profile
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
If you need a hand with planning your own cycling route to the Col de Spandelles feel free to send me an email at email@example.com or leave a comment below.