La Voie Verte des Gaves is a converted railway line route from Lourdes to Pierrefitte-Nestalas via Argelès-Gazost in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Difficulty: Easy (for the Pyrenees!) – the route gains 144m over the 19.6km
La Voie Verte des Gaves is a lovely way to arrive in the Pyrenees. Starting in the famous pilgrimage town of Lourdes, it gently winds its way up and towards the famous cols of the Tour de France, passing small mountain villages en route. The route is on an old railway line that opened in 1871 to link Lourdes to Pierrefitte-Nestalas. The line was later electrified in 1913. Other than the route itself, several other features of the line survive, including a lovely old iron bridge (pictured below). It spans 56 metres and provides lovely views of the valley. It dates back to 1884, and replaced a wooden bridge that had been part of the original line.
Download the GPX file
Download the offical roadbook (this is in French via the local tourism office but it is easy to follow/translate)
Image via Vallées de Gavarnie