Port de Balès

An epic road to Port de Balès in the French Pyrenees

Port de Balès is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.760m (5,774ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary of the Hautes-Pyrénées and the Haute-Garonne departments, in the Occitanie region of France.

Is the road to Port de Balès paved?

Set high in the central Pyrenees, the narrow road to the summit, also known as Col de Balès, is totally paved. It’s called D925 and D51D. The drive is pretty defiant, with dangerous drop offs and without guardrails. There is little traffic on the road.

Is Port de Balès open?

Tucked away on the southwestern part of the country, near the Spanish border, the pass has been climbed by the Tour of France and the Vuelta a España races. It’s a broad open summit with excellent views of the snow capped Spanish frontier mountains. The organizers of the Tour de France were looking for new routes in the Pyrenées, so in 2006 they paved the last 5 kilometres of an old trail on the south side of Port de Balès to link to a little forestry road in the north side creating a huge 'through' climb. It is generally closed by snow for long periods during the winter.

How long is Port de Balès?

The pass is 25.3 km (15.72 miles) long, running south-north from Bourg-d'Oueil (in the Haute-Garonne department) to Mauléon-Barousse (in the Hautes-Pyrénées department). No facilities at the summit. The road is pretty steep, hitting a 13.3% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.



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