The Greenway of the Gaves
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The Greenway of the Gaves runs from Lourdes along the Vallée des Gaves to the village of Piereffite-Nestalas, a distance of 18 km. It was 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.
I use this voie verte frequently and always find it a pleasant ride along the length of the valley. As the weather warms up it’s popular with people on bikes, waking, running and rollerblading. Along the 18 km length, there are a number of places to stop and enjoy a coffee or to drop into one of the tourist attractions in the region. I have also enjoyed heading down to the river and sitting by the side to cool off on a hot summer day and you will find a number of places along the way where you can do this.
One of the things I love about this greenway is the fact that it is traffic-free which makes for pleasant cycling for people of all ages and abilities. The landscape is stunning and you are surrounded by mountain peaks in all directions.
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 I recommend stopping to read so you can discover the history of the towns in the valley. I 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 that the rail trail is also a shared path for pedestrians and rollerbladers alike so be courteous to other users.
The Seek Travel Ride website has 40 cycling routes in the Pyrenees to choose from. These have been created based on our own experience of visiting and cycling in the Pyrenees over the past 10 years.
Suggested cycling route
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
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. Argeles Gazost is another great option and I would recommend Café le Fleurs for a coffee or drink. It is a short distance from the greenway to the town centre on roads though.
- 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 traffic free.
If you have any questions about the route or the area in general feel free to leave a comment below or alternatively send me an email to [email protected] and I will be able to assist.