A gravel road to Col des Laquets in the French Pyrenees
Col des Laquets is a high mountain pass situated at an elevation of 2,637m (8,651ft) above the sea level. Located in the Hautes-Pyrénées department of France's Occitan region, it’s one of the highest roads of France.
Road Characteristics and Accessibility
Set high in the central Pyrenees, the road is totally unpaved. It’s a steep and loose-surfaced road, stunningly scenic with spectacular cliff edges and two short tunnels. But it is not for the inexperienced or unfit due to the combination of the altitude and technical road surface. The road is called the Old Toll Road (which is not a road). A large gate prevents users to go by car but a gate allows hikers and cyclists to pass.
Gradients and Route Information
Starting at Col du Tourmalet, beside the gift shop, the ascent is 5.6 km (3.47 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 566 meters. The average gradient is 10.10%. The road is brutally steep in parts, hitting a 24% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Due to its high elevation, snow can sometimes obstruct the path even in late June.
Scenic Beauty and Future Developments
Located in the southwest of France, the route includes an amazing scenery. It’s planned to build a refugee or hotel on the top, called Hôtellerie des Laquets. If this development materializes, the road will be paved. Moreover, for those looking to extend their adventure, the Pic du Midi di Bigorre is just a short walk beyond this pass.
Pic: Raphaël Ehret