Reader Q&A: Cycling the Tourmalet in May

Published by Lyn on 13 March 2015

Michael emailed to ask about cycling the Tourmalet and Col d'Aspin in early May. Here's our latest reader Q&A.

Cycling the Tourmalet in May
Here is a photo by will_cyclist of the eastern side of the Tourmalet, taken in June. He said it was chilly at the top.

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I plan on visiting southern France in early May. I'd like to ride the Col Tourmalet and the Col d'Aspin. Your site is a great resource – Martin from Guide2Midi-Pyrenees pointed me to you (Lyn: Thanks Martin!)

I'd like to make plans to spend the evening in Luz St. Sauveur prior to the ride. It looks like there is a good shop to rent bikes. Before making reservations, I wanted to check to see if the pass(es) would be open in early May and if so, what the road conditions might be like due to all the snow melt.

I appreciate your guidance.


I wrote back:

Hi Michael,

I'm glad you've found the site useful.

Early May may be too soon for the Tourmalet.

To confirm my suspicions, I posted your query on our Facebook page to get some local advice from people living in the area.

Here's a summary:

Firstly, Philippe, who runs Wandeo bike hire, suggested keeping an eye on this vey handy link, which shows each col and its status.

From Marianne at Le Fournil Holiday Cottage: "As with anything weather-related, that's a tricky question. From previous years' experiences we would say for early May: Tourmalet most definitely closed, Aubisque almost certainly closed too, Aspin probably open (depending on weather earlier on in the year). Brian has ridden up the Aspin as early as April before, but of course there is no guarantee. Best advice is to check the link that Philippe has provided prior to their trip. 

Caroline at the Allez Pyrenees B&B writes: Agree with everything Marianne has said. The climbs around us that have the best chance of being open (apart from an unseasonable dump of snow) would be Peyresourde, Soulor, Hautacam etc as they would have been kept clear to the beginning of April for access to ski slopes. Then Aspin and then maybe Hourquette d'Ancizan and last Tourmalet and Aubisque.

Carolyn at Chalet Tourmalet writes: Aspin is showing open today, but Tourmalet could be as late as beginning of June.

Eric at Gite Belle Vie writes: Tourmalet would be closed but access to La Mongie would be OK. Aubisque also probably closed but quite weather dependent at that time of year; pretty much everything else will be open.

Xavier at Bike Basque writes: Come to hit the Tourmalet, Aubisque and co from mid-June and all of them will be open by then.

He also shared this video via Facebook.

For accommodation when you do go, I have several excellent bike-friendly options on or near the Tourmalet (including those fonts of local wisdom who helped out above).

Please see my Midi-Pyrenees accommodation pages or zoom into the map below.

If you are set on staying in Luz St Sauveur then Hotel Les Templiers is an excellent option (on the map above). If you need bike hire, Philippe at Wandeo delivers across the Pyrenees.

Tell any of these that you contact that I sent you and they will look after you.

If I can help further, please do shout.


I spend a lot of time and energy on Freewheeling France, if you find this info useful, please share on Facebook and Twitter and help me spread the word about the site among your cycling friends.

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