A gravel road to Col des Laquets in the French Pyrenees
Col des Laquets is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.637m (8,651ft) above the sea level, located in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Occitan region of south-western France. It's one of the highest roads of France.
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 was 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.
The road can still be shut by snow at the end of June. It is very steep, hitting a 24% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. 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 route includes an amazing scenery. It’s planned to build a refugee or hotel on the top, called Hôtellerie des Laquets. The road would be paved then. Beyond this pass is possible to reach Pic du Midi di Bigorre, walking just some meters.
Pic: Raphaël Ehret