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Col de la Perche

This is one of the main traffic crossings between Prades in France and Puigcerda in Spain. Traffic can be pretty heavy, but there is also a good shoulder for the most part above Olette. I saw several other cyclists along the route. But alternatives exist, that are sometimes not immediately apparent just from a casual glance at the map. But the other routes do not follow this fairly spectacular canyon route with a train, with traction assistance, formidable climbing competition for any bicycle.

1.(00.0km,1160m)START-END WEST: intersection west of Puigcerda
3.(08.6km,1310m)turnoff to Eina and its summit
4.(17.8km,1579m)TOP: Col de la Percha and second turnoff to Eina
5.(20.5km,1560m)Mont Louis s(u)
7.(40.0km,0620m)START-END EAST: Olette


From West.
(described from end of profile, moving left) The lower part of this approach is the most difficult from a traffic standpoint. There is not much room for the road in the canyon below Olette, and its crowd drawing village walls. One obvious alternate way to climb up to the same plateau and, is via the higher Col de Llose. Other options probably exist using very narrow small paved roads.

The profile starts in Olette. The road climbs together with the Tren Jaune out of the canyon. The bridges and tunnels of the railline are an added attraction to the scenery. Much of the rail line can be seen from the road. Fontpedreuse hangs by the hillside, its houses not having slipped off the steep slope into the canyon below, since the many hundred years it was built - to the best of my knowledge. The road has an especially interesting vantage point on this village from a little above.

Now the road is getting serious about getting out of the canyon and onto the plateau. After a series of switchbacks even the railroad with its traction devices remain below, its tracks hanging above the gorge with the help of an adventurous suspension bridge.

As the road gets to the top, it becomes clear that this is a broad rounded plateau like top, covered with many other summit points. It feels like the highest point of the road is right below the Mt Louis fort, part of the Maginot defensive line during WW2. However, checking the profile validates that Col de la Perche is actually the highest point, even if just by 20 meters. The pass itself is a busy spot. It contains a pass sign, surrounded by houses, businesses and traffic.

left: climbing across from the Tren Jaune tracks.

below both: Fontpedreuse

left: descending from Mont Louis on what is called the western approach

From East. (described downwards, moving left on the profile). Going down this side, there are several options that are more attractive on a bicycle than this main road. They include the Eyne summit and the ride through Bolquere, pictures and profile included in the Col de Mel page.

But here are a few notes on the profiled route along the main road anyway. N116 drops and crosses Col Rigat, just a shoulder point. The Tren Jaune runs immediately next to the road here, and enters a short tunnel, signed with the pass.

The last switchbacks down into Saillago have an especially expansive overview of the trainline, so that chances are best for actually seeing one of these modern appearing, yet slowly crawling two car trains.

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

A Dayride with this point as shoulder summit is on page: Col de Mel