The Greenway of the Gaves

View of the Vallee de Gave cycling rail trail. Also known as a voie verte and greenway

The Greenway of the Gaves – Voie Vertes in French – provides you with a car free cycling route to travel from Lourdes along the Vallée des Gaves. Formed from a disused railway line originally constructed at the end of the 19th Century, it was designed to take travellers to the spas located in Luz Saint-Saveur and Cauterets. The now transformed rail trail is 18.6kms long and takes in the 12 villages dotted between Lourdes and Piereffite-Nestalas.

It is a great option for families and being a disused railway line is a relatively flat riding option. Along the route are information signs which we recommend stopping to read so you can discover the history of the towns in the valley. We have often used the rail trail when returning back to Argeles Gazost from longer rides in the higher mountains, and found it a good way to spin the legs out after a harder ride. Be mindful the rail trail is also a shared path for pedestrians and roller bladers alike so be courteous to other users.

Quick Stats

Distance: 18.6km / 11.5mi

Start elevation: 408m / 1,335ft

Max elevation: 488m / 1,601ft

Metres climbed: 167m / 549ft

Metres descended: 87m / 284ft

Categorised climbs: 0

A road bike on the cycling bridge across the Gave de Pau on the cycling greenway near Lourdes

The bridge crossing just a few kilometres from Argeles Gazost provides a great place to stop and take in the Gave de Pau river.

Food and water

There are many options for food and water along this route. Lourdes will offer up the greatest variety of dining options with numerous cafés, bakeries as well as places to stop for lunch.

Highlights

  • The route is dotted with signs informing you about the history of the surrounding villages.

  • A pleasant ‘flat’ ride this is a great option for those with young families and is completely car free.
Three bike riders cycling the voie verte greenway in the Pyrenee

All smiles on the rail trail.

Tour de France street art

Even though the rail trail is almost completely flat, reminders of the Tour de France are never too far away.

five people riding bikes along the Lourdes rail trail greenway in the French Pyrenees.

If you are cycle touring in the region, the rail trail is a perfect way to get from the larger travel hub of Lourdes, to the smaller surrounding villages.

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Looking down a layer of cloud in the valley from the summit of Col du Tourmalet

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