For an overview map and details on every route I have cycled in the Pyrenées see here.
Note, this post is just for the second half of the mapped route above. I cycled them together but split up the post due to photo overload. Details on Port de Boucharo are here (fantastic climb).
Starting in Luz-saint-saveur, the first 10 kilometres are not steep, but scenic enough. The road can have a little traffic as tourists flock to see Cirque de Gavarnie – especially in summer. But at Gèdre it’s a left turn to Troumouse and things get noticeably quieter.
While I loved the climb to Boucharo, the route to Cirque de Troumouse just feels a little more off the beaten path. Smaller road, fewer tourists, no ski station, fewer cyclists. My kind of place.
Even better, with 8 kms to go, there is a little toll booth for motor vehicles …. a sure fire strategy to reduce traffic higher up.
The first 9 or so kms after Gèdre are nice, relatively straight, but no huge deal. But after the toll, it gets fun. Two long sections – before and after a very scenic restaurant at 1800 metres — with hairpins everywhere.
I was tired after a long day, but I couldn’t help but enjoy the views, the huge mountains, the hairpins, the cows, the empty roads.
At the top, there was no altitude/place/col sign (booo), but there were some more cows:
I descended down to the restaurant for some much needed calories and fluids. I had scouted out one final detour. A little below the toll booth at a 1400+ metres is a turn off to a high altitude dam … I could see the dam on the way up. only 2+ (steep) kilometres and I was on the dam looking at Lac de Gloriettes.
Beautiful. I crossed the dam and briefly followed some hiking trails beside the lake. A good spot for photos, but a little bumpy for cycling.
Readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of rides up to
alpine pyrenéen dams/lakes – see here. And this one didn’t disappoint. Well worth the detour, even with very tired legs.
High, quiet, beautiful. The route to Cirque de Troumouse just feels off the beaten path. Smaller road, fewer tourists, no ski station, fewer cyclists. My kind of place.
Quiet / No Traffic
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So true – one of nicest rides I’ve done anywhere. The hairpins above the restaurant are steep and wiggly – but the views are super!
A detour to check out Gavarnie is ok too, if you don’t mind the tourists.