(Col de Beixalís)
fall, spring, summer
Physical & technical
As with any loop itinerary, you can choose your starting point. However, I recommend beginning this one from Andorra-la-Vella or Escaldes.
You will climb to reach the path of the Solà Canal, el Rec del Solà, which offers you a privileged view of the capital. You will likely need to push your bike as the incline is very steep to access it. This canal was built in 1880 to irrigate the terraced fields located on the mountain slopes. So, don’t be surprised if you are surrounded by vegetable gardens, as they are the remnants of the areas once destined for agriculture. Nowadays, they have been replaced by buildings due to the growing population of the Principality.
Note: The path is quite narrow, so do not ride too fast as this space is also reserved for pedestrians.
Next, you will follow the Pyrenean river Valira del Nord. There is very little traffic, and you may encounter a few hikers or trail runners. Facilities are provided to allow crossing from one bank of the river to the other. Even though you will remain close to the road and may still hear the sound of engines, you will be immersed in nature, surrounded by stunning spots, just like the ones shown in the photos below.
The slightly demanding part of this route is the ascent of the Col de Beixalís, which extends for approximately 8 km. Fortunately, you won’t be taking the same side as in Stage 15 of the Tour de France 2021. When you start descending, you’ll understand why it’s almost impossible to approach it from the other side with a gravel bike!
However, the entire ascent is enjoyable. Even on the asphalt, you will be immersed in nature, surrounded on one side by the Bixellosa Forest and on the other side by the Felegrill Forest.
Afterward, you will descend to return to your starting point. You will take main roads with heavy traffic, which might be surprising at first, but don’t worry, you have the right to ride on these roads. Be cautious and stay close to the right side.