Port de Pailhères (Usson-les-Bains)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
Usson-les-Bains 2,001m 1,207m 14.9 km 8.1% 1,255 *****

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Climb Description

Port de Pailhères may not be one of the most famous cycling climbs in the area, but it is one of only two passes in the French Pyrenees which is over 2,000m altitude - the other of course being the legendary Col du Tourmalet.

The Tour de France has taken notice of the potential of Port de Pailhères in recent years, with the race visiting several times in the past few years. The has largely used this side so far, with stages often going on to finish at the nearby ski resort to Ax-3 Domaines.

Top of the Port de Pailhères

The views from the top are stunning

This is the steeper side and the gradients are consistently high, with a 2km stretch near the top in excess of 10%. The scenery here is very picturesque, from the forests in the valley to the high peaks which are visible towards the top of the climb as you enter a series of stunning hairpin bends.

Port de Pailhères is usually open from May to October, but can be open considerably longer depending on local weather.

Port de Pailhères (Pyrenees) Cycling Climb

The last few kilometres have many tight hairpin bends

Roads & Traffic

The road surface is in very good condition for much of the climb, although it is very slightly bumpy on some of the lower slopes. It is also narrow at the top, so care must be taken if you descend this side.

There is very little traffic throughout.

Alternative Routes

Port de Pailhères can also be climbed starting from Ax-les-Thermes.

Nearby Climbs

Ax-3 Domaines

Col du Chioula

Col de Puymorens

Port d'Envalira

Col de Marmare

Plateau de Beille

Col de Port

Port de Lers

Coll de Jau

Cycling Holidays

Port de Pailhères is one of the highlights of our Pyrenees Coast to Coast cycling holiday.

Check out the information below for details of this and some of the other tours that we run in high mountains.

Port de Pailheres Cycling
French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 9 Days
Level: Difficulty Hard
Price: €1,980 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Challenging-Hard
Price: €1,630 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Lagos de Covadonga
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Challenging-Hard
Price: from €1,490 EUR