Ariège, a cycling destination par excellence, also has its Grande Traversée VTT (certified FFC): from Ax-les-Thermes to Saint-Lizier, this 203km route in the heart of the Pyrenees allows you to alternate stages both technical and fun in a magnificent, picturesque and varied setting.
“The only chain that makes you free is the chain of a bicycle… and the GT VTT Ariège Pyrénées! »
The great mountain bike crossing in a few words
- Total mileage: 203 km
- Departure: Ax-les-Thermes – Arrival: Saint-Lizier
- Estimated time: between 4 and 5 days
- Cumulative positive elevation: 4m
- Cumulative negative elevation: 5 047m
- Number of stages: 11 sections each representing 20km with varying elevations (see detailed table below).
- FFC specific markings and signage red markings
- Difficulty level 3/5 – Confirmed or intermediate mountain bikers
- Favorable period From June to the end of September – From April to May, the snow cover can make certain sections tricky, especially the first 3 stages. However, you must always take into account the variability of weather conditions by being well equipped and adapting your itinerary.
La Great Crossing Mountain Bike Ariège Pyrenees, allows you to take historic trails! Dream of new horizons and cross the famous path of the Bonshommes, Way of the Pyrenean Piedmont of Saint Jacques through the greenway in the Cathar Pyrenees. Ariège offers remarkable places for exploration, adventure and emotion, where you will always be welcome!
The advantages of this great mountain bike crossing
- 3 historical paths
- 3 FFC labeled mountain bike areas on the route (The MTB site of the Ariège Pyrenees, Cathar Pyrenees, Couserans Volvestre in the Pyrenees)
- Hosts specializing in welcoming mountain bikers (bike welcome brand)
Essential topoguides and websites
- A topo guide published by Chamina editions
- The FFC MTB site – N° 110 – The FFC and its MTB sites
- outdoor active
Don't forget, you can download the GPX track of the whole route for free 👇
For an all-inclusive stay
The Rebenne agency takes care of everything for you! The agency's bicycle specialists will find accommodation, catering and transport for you. You won't have to worry about anything!
Patrice HAS TESTED THE GREAT MTB CROSSING!
A sporting adventure full of surprises! The route is very varied, alternating tracks, trails and places steeped in history. I enjoyed the descent in the Frau gorges which is very playful as well as the very beautiful tunnels of the old railway line. My favorite ♥️ was the medieval village of Mirepoix where I took a well-deserved break under the covers. And what views? The views of the Ariège Pyrenees were splendid!
To prepare for your adventure
Find here all the information you will need for your stay. Because preparation is roaming's best friend, step-by-step we tell you everything you need to know before you go.
THE STAGES OF THE ARIEGE PYRENEES MTB GT
It is between 4 and 5 days of mountain biking that it is possible to do the GTVTT and return by the greenways and take public transport to return to the starting point. All the information below.
soft version in 5 days – 40km per day on average
stage 1: ax-les-thermes – montségur
From the spa town of Ax les therms start the GT VTT Ariège Pyrénées in the middle of the Pyrenean peaks. This demanding stage asks you for small pushes to then enjoy single track in the forest of Prades. You continue your stage on the plateau of Sault, a stage known to way of the Bonhommes, to join the Frau gorges, this technical descent takes you in case of rain to get off your mount. Then comes a very very technical climb with a steep drop that invites you to push your bike to be rewarded at the end of your stage by the historic high place of Ariège: Montsegur castle.
Distance: 40.0 km – D+: 1 m – D –: 750 m
Stage 2: Montsegur – Mirepoix
From Montsegur a descent in single allows you to join Lavelanet which allows you to recover on the greenway which connects Mirepoix. You can enjoy the magnificent fortified village of Camon and admire the ruins of the Lagarde castle nicknamed “The Little Versailles of Languedoc”. Your step ends in the fortified town of Mirepoix whose cutlery deserves your full attention.
Small variation possible on this stage, if your calves allow it, take the fun trail of tMontbel lake bear which is truly worth the detour.
Distance: 48.0 km – D+: 1 m – D-: 495 m
Stage 3: Mirepoix – Pamiers
Here you are in the Pyrenean foothills with the majestic Pyrenees as a backdrop. Technical trails await you to connect several small stopover villages on the way to St Jacques de Compostela (GR®78). In the middle of sunflower fields, you reach the town of Pamiers.
Distance: 36.0 km – D+: 415 m – D-: 432 m
stage 4: pamiers – mas d'azil
Here you are in the middle of the mountains on the Plantaurel chain. The trail is technical and invites you to adapt your speed in technical climbs and single-track descents. You go along Filhet lake and continue on a sporty stage with a magnificent view of the Valier Summit which is your landmark in the Ariège Pyrenees. Your stage ends in style at Mas d'Azil where its remarkable cave waiting for you. A wonderful geological and prehistoric site that deserves a nice break for the evening. Be careful, this stage can be slippery in rainy weather.
Distance: 42.0 km – D+: 1 m – D-: 245 m
stage 5: mas d'azil – saint-lizier
This is your last step! Here you are in the Couserans where the color green predominates throughout your day. You complete your journey in the perched village from Saint-Lizier overflowing with treasures: testimonies of a rich past. This medieval village is one of the most beautiful cities of Ariège and France, several monuments of which are listed as World Heritage by Unesco
The bravest can climb at the Tuc de Montcalibert to admire this splendid panorama of the Pyrenees one last time.
Distance: 32.0 km – D+: 619 m – D-: 480 m
sport version in 4 days – 60km per day on average
stage 1: ax-les-thermes – fougax and barrineuf
step 2: fougax and barrineuf – mirepoix
Accommodation atHotel des Consuls in Mirepoix
stage 3: mirepoix – montegut plantaurel
D + 1m
Accommodation at the Château de la Hille
Stage 4: Montégut Plantaurel – Saint Lizier
D + 1m
- Ax the thermal baths: flavors of moun pais - 06 68 27 83 36
- Camurac: The Mountain Grocery 6 Place Du, Rue du Gât – 09 75 85 09 97
- Montségur: Le Montségurien Grocery, caterer, butcher – 05 61 01 54 46
- Montferrier: The mountain house - 05 61 01 05 87
- Lavelanet: Many groceries -05 61 01 22 20
- Chalabre: Carrefour express – 04 68 69 35 15
- The Bastide on Lhers: the bastidienne Proxi - 05 61 01 55 82
- Mirepoix: Organic and local grocery – +33 5 34 01 70 73 – +33 6 66 87 64 95 // The Cheese Factory "Chez Lucie" +33 5 34 01 41 28 - +33 6 38 82 25 06
- The Gourmet Counter – 05 61 68 19 19
- Pamiers: many grocery stores in the city center - 05.61.67.52.52
- Pailhès Grocery – 05 61 67 23 47 – town hall square 09130 Pailhès
- Mas d'Azil: Petit Casino – 05 61 69 90 41 – Proxi – 05 61 60 44 58 – Bioshop du Mas – 06 77 27 31 00 – All grocery stores
- Clermont: Le Souleilla – 05 61 04 96 67
- Saint-Lizier: 05 61 64 74 26 – restaurant 11 church square
- Saint-Girons: Many grocery stores - 05 61 96 26 60
Photo: Stage 3 – Abbey of Cailloup – ©P.Géraud
Fancy a refreshing break?
- Ax the thermal baths: All accommodation
- Sorgeate: The balconies of Sorgeat - 06 12 43 48 21 LABEL Bike home
- Comus: The Silence of the South - 04 68 20 36 26 LABEL Bike home
- Fougax and Barrineuf: Alpy mohair – 05 61 04 73 33 – 06 75 63 49 70 LABEL Bike home
- Montsegur: The house under the castle – 06 88 74 39 64 // Le Pelerin – firstname.lastname@example.org – 06 66 20 91 37 // the Sarrat House - 09 82 35 51 66
- Mirepoix : The consul house – +33 5 61 68 81 81 – - LABEL Bike home
- Pamiers: Hotel de France – +33 5 61 60 20 88 – – LABEL Bike home
- Montegut Plantaurel: Hill Castle - 06 75 69 46 50
- Mas d'Azil: All accommodation - 05 61 69 99 90
- Saint Lizier / Saint Girons – All accommodation - 05 61 96 26 60
- Arriving by Train? Your stopping point is Ax les thermes (line -Toulouse – Latour de Carol)
Make your roaming to Saint Lizier then take your mount back to join the greenway of Saint Girons to Foix it's about 40 km of flat, ideal for the recovery of the week of cycling. Arrived on Foix you can take the train.
- Are you arriving by car?
Ideally, you can arrive in Foix, leave your car at the station where parking is free. You take the train from Foix to Ax les Thermes, starting point of the GT VTT (line -Toulouse – Latour de Carol). Make your roaming to Saint Lizier then take your mount back to join the greenway of Saint Girons to Foix it's about 40 km of flat, ideal for the recovery of the week of cycling. Arrived on Foix where you recover your vehicle.
To learn more and find a public transport route go on the public transport website of the Occitanie region.
- Getting around by taxi
- Audabram taxis offer you the transport of luggage and equipment on stages of your choice from 1 to 3 people. Transfer of mountain bikers with luggage and hotel bikes to train stations or airports (Toulouse, Carcassonne, etc.). Possibility of assistance with their bike carrier in the event of a problem on a course.
They ensure rotations with bicycles (3 maxi / trip).
==> www.taxis-audabram.eu // 05.61.01.34.54 or 06.80.71.41.59
The Little Plateau - 06 42 42 84 35 - Label Bike home
Cycl'Olmes Pyrenees - 05 61 01 52 57
THE MOUNTAIN BIKE CODE
You ride on paths shared with other users, in a sometimes fragile natural space, so that "everything goes" here some principles to respect.
So be courteous and respect nature!
BE ACTORS OF THE QUALITY OF MTB SITES!
A defective panel, a pollution problem, a need for security… Thanks to the program Suric @ te, report any anomaly on the site sentinels.sportsdenature.fr while helping the mountain bike community! Your report will be processed by the communities of municipalities and the departmental council in charge of trail development.