The Hautacam cycling climb

The Hautacam cycling climb is located in the Haute Pyrenees near the town of Argeles Gazost. The climb is 13.7km in length at an average gradient of 7.8% where you reach an elevation of 1,635m. It is definitely one of the tougher climbs in the area due to its ever-changing gradient and steep pitches. The Tour de France has used this climb on 5 previous occasions and was first used in the 1994 edition of the race. In 2022, the Hautacam will once again feature as a mountain top finish for the Tour de France on stage 18 starting in Lourdes.

In this article, you will find lots of useful information about the Hautacam as well as some suggested cycling routes that we have put together. We climbed this mountain a couple of days before the 2014 Tour de France. Already there were spectators in campervans by the roadside waiting for the race a couple of days later. This made for a great atmosphere as we climbed with plenty of cheers and encouragement.

Climb profile – Hautacam

Gradient profile of Hautacam

Hautacam

There is only a single road to the top of the Hautacam which starts just outside the town of Argeles Gazost. The climb is 13.7km in length and averages 7.8% in gradient over the distance. It is considered an Hors Category climb meaning it is in the hardest category of cycling climbs.

This is a tough climb no matter how you look at it. We consider it the toughest climb in this part of the Pyrenees and most people we have spoken to agree. There are plenty of sections on the climb where the gradient exceeds 10%.

Practical information about cycling The Hautacam

If you are considering a trip to the Pyrenees to ride the Hautacam this section has lots of practical information to help you plan. We also include links to some of the cycling routes we have that incorporate this climb.

Where to stay

To cycle the Hautacam we recommend staying in Lourdes, Argeles Gazost, Saint-Savin, or any of the other small villages within the valley. From these locations, there are a host of other famous Tour de France climbs you can ride including Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque, and Luz Ardiden. You will be spoilt for choice and have endless opportunities for cycling routes around this area.

You can read our article The Best Base for cycling in the Pyrenees for lots more information about cycling holidays in the Pyrenees. It also includes a host of other information about visiting the Pyrenees.

Getting there

The Hautacam is located in the Haute Pyrenees department in the southwest of France near the town of Argeles Gazost. The D100 road takes you up the mountain and finishes at the top. Unlike other climbs, there is no road over the other side and you arrive to the car park of the ski station.

Bike hire and bike shops

If you need to hire a bike or grab some spares or parts for your bike there are plenty of options in Lourdes and Argeles Gazost. Further up the valley, Luz Saint Sauveur also has a couple of bike hire outlets to consider also.

Food and drink

There is a restaurant at the top of Hautacam if you wish to have a break and grab something to eat. Otherwise, Argeles Gazost has a range of offerings including cafes, boulangeries, and supermarkets.

When is Hautacam open?

The Hautacam is a ski station in winter which means the road is accessible all year round. There are times when it will be closed due to snowfalls, and in winter there will be sections of snow and ice to be mindful of.

How long does it take to climb?

The answer to this question obviously depends on a range of factors including your level of fitness and how often you ride a bike. To give you some idea the male pro riders take around 38 minutes to the top from both sides while the fastest females take around 50 minutes. Regular cyclists with some training would expect to complete the climb in around an hour.

Suggested cycling routes

We have put together a few cycling routes that encompass Col d’Aspin which you can access by clicking the link. Each of the suggested routes includes a GPX file which you can download to your device for navigation purposes.

  • Hautacam with a warm-up – this cycling route leaves Argles Gazost and does a loop of the valley to warm the legs up before heading up the climb.

Other facts about Hautacam

The Hautacam was first used in the 1994 Tour de France and has been used on 4 occasions since. Given the road does not extend past the top it is always a stage finish. It was last used in the 2014 Tour de France where Vincenzo Nibali was first to cross the line.

The 2022 Tour de France will once again use the Hautacam on stage 18 of the race. This stage starts in Lourdes before heading up over Col d’Aubisque and Col de Spandelles before the final ascent to Hautacam. It is the last big mountain stage in the race and could well be decisive in determining the overall winner.

More information about the Pyrenees

We have lots of other information about visiting the Pyrenees for a cycling holiday to help you plan and discover what is on offer.

  • Destination guides – head over to our destination guide pages to research specific locations including accommodation options, how to get there, and more.
  • Cycling routes – we have over 40 different cycling routes in the Pyrenees for you to look at. There are plenty of options also for those who are not as keen on the famous cols
  • Saint Girons to Foix voie verte – 40km of car-free cycling through the foothills of the Pyrenees

More information about visiting France

Be sure to check out other sections of our website to help you plan your cycling holiday to France. We have put together lots of information to help you plan your trip all on the one website. From practical information such as using your mobile phone, visa requirements, and getting money out to destination guides including the French Alps, Nice, Provence, and Bordeaux.