Col de Spandelles

Since a large part of the northern approach to this pass is the same as to the popular Col de Soulor, one might expect the scenery to be similar too. Actually it is very different. This pass stays lower in the forest and further away from the high mountains. The road is very different too. This is one of those narrow roads, where nobody with a regular car and in a normal state of mind would drive, which makes it perfect for a bicycle tour - and that is the charm of this ride. This is a remarkably isolated road for Europe.

I have used the pictures of panoramio and flickr contributors, as well as other web sites to illustrate this page. There are copyright notices and links  to all original pictures. My own pictures were on a computer, that was stolen at the train station Frankfurt Airport (model Acer Aspire One (serial# NUSGPAA01625101C947600F)


1.(00.0km,0300m) START-END NORTH:Asson
2.(02.7km,0320m)lower junction with D226 to L'Estelle Betharam
3.(15.8km,0540m)profile turns left up Col de Spandelles
4.(26.0km,1378m)TOP: Col de Spandelles
6.(43.3km,0320m)START-END SOUTH:bridge over La Gave de Pau, below Argeles-Gazost


    the start of the Spandelles road on the north side near point3;    copyright:; unknown contributor   pagelink

From North. The turnoff from D226 at point 3 is signed. Otherwise it would look like this little road is just going end in the next backyard of one of the few old stone houses near the bottom. Climbing back and forth in a wooded bowl, the houses disappear below. On the way to the top I see about as many people hiking the road as driving a small car, about 4 of each. They are outnumbered by the cyclists. But there aren't many of them on this road either. The trees pull back numerous times to open the view on the road meandering the width of the valley below. I decide on a picnic lunch in an unpaved turnout next to the road. A hiker wishes me bon-appetit.

The top is barely above treeline. The view is only in one direction and limited by the adjacent ridge. For lack of anything else the sign at the top seems to get a lot of photographic attention.

From South. (described downwards) This road remains in the forest and has a more rolling character. There are no settlements next to the road, just a long roll through the forest. After a few km, a very rough unpaved track goes up to Col Coraduque. Then the road heads straight down the long valley. Open pastures become more common. In them sit old stone barns with large equilateral triangles for roofs. They are the punctuation in the landscape. Not until the road reaches the villages above Argeles-Gazost, do further signs of civilization return. The profile ends at a low point over the river La Gave de Pau, where the route connects to a long bike path through the length of the valley.

Les Argtigues - Valle de Bergons;  heading for Gez on the south side: Copyright Panoramio Contributor: JavierPiris  piclink

A Day on a Tour with this point as highest summit:

( < Col d'Aubisque | Croix Blanche s(u) > )
Col de Spandelles , D226 L'Estelle- Betharam : Lourdes > Peyrouse > L'Estelle Betharam > D226 L'Estelle Betharam > Arthez d'Asson > Col de Spandelles > Gez > Argeles-Gazost > bike trail back to Lourdes with sightseeing detours: (r5:16.4,5)
Notes: gps data and distances are on stolen computer

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow