Port de Balès

A 360° panorama

This beautiful route crosses the Barousse valley and starts on the ascent of a non-category Tour de France pass. The word “port” comes from the Gascon word for pass.


On the road to the Tour de France

The road over the pass has long remained a forest track, on the Barousse valley side (Hautes-Pyrénées) and a pastoral track, on the Oueil valley side (Haute-Garonne).

In 2006, Christian Prudhomme, registered it for the 2007 Tour de France: it will therefore be tarred. The Tour will pass over it 6 times, the last in 2020.

It will also be used by the Tour of Spain.

Identity sheet
  • Start altitude: 580 m
  • End altitude: 1,751 m
  • Cumulative ascent: 1,812 m
  • Distance:18.9 km
  • Average gradient:6%
  • Level: difficult

Part of the route is forest and summer pasture. The route is mostly shaded except for the last few kilometers. The descent to Peyresourde is pleasant, but watch out for the two sharp bends that come into view at the last moment.

About 2h40 for the ascent.

Little traffic.

No facilities at the summit. Bring plenty of refreshments.

Preparing for the climb

To begin this ascent, you need to reach Mauléon-Barousse in the Bagnères-de-Luchon valley (73 km). The route starts at 604 m, but despite an average gradient, it is considered difficult.

It’s a long pass, with sections at over 10%, but also gentler sections that allow you to manage your pace. The last ten kilometers are the hardest in terms of gradient.