nbirrien Cycling Downhill Aspin Fall21nbirrien Cycling Downhill Aspin Fall21
©nbirrien Cycling Downhill Aspin Fall21

Col d'Aspin

The classic of classics

The Col d’Aspin is a great classic of the Pyrenees and the Tour de France. It links the Campan valley to the Aure valley on a very pleasant road. It’s also a treat for the beauty of the panorama.


On the road to the Tour de France

This road is one of the most mythical in the Hautes-Pyrénées. It has been used 73 times by the Tour de France, including the last passage in July 2022. It is on the program for the Tour de France 2023 (6th stage: Tarbes – Cauterets Cambasque).

The Arreau side is the most difficult, but the climb is steady without exceeding 9%. The road twists and turns upwards, with views still unobstructed.

The panorama embraces virtually the entire ascent of the eastern slope, with views in enfilade over the Louron valley as well as the Pic du Midi de Bigorre on the other side.

Identity sheet
  • Start altitude: 704 m
  • End altitude: 1,097 m
  • Cumulative ascent: 1,034 m
  • Distance: 12 km
  • Average gradient: 6.4%
  • Level: average


The ascent to the pass (12 km) starts at an altitude of 700 m (Arreau) with an average gradient of 6.5% and finishes at 1,489 m, i.e. 789 m of vertical drop. Allow around 1 hour for the ascent.

There’s just a large parking lot at the pass.

Preparing for the climb

From Saint-Lary, reach Arreau (12 km). The route starts north of Arreau at 712 m altitude. The climb offers beautiful views over the Aure valley.

Lined with deciduous trees all the way up, its switchbacks take you through bucolic meadows and a magnificent green landscape to the summit.

Once at the highest point, the road descends rapidly; 5 km away you’ll reach the Payolle cross-country ski resort (1,140 m above sea level). Here you’ll discover a magnificent lake surrounded by a fir forest, nicknamed “Little Canada”. It’s the ideal place to take a well-deserved break with your picnic, but it’s also possible to eat there.

For the more courageous, you can continue towards Campan and climb following the Col du Tourmalet.