Cycling in the Hautes Alpes

Le Col Agnel






VTT detail

It doesn’t matter if you’re more into road cycling or rather go mountain biking on the tracks in the mountains or on the small picturesque roads, you’ll surely find your challenge in le Pays du Guil.  If it’s the cols of the Tour de France that you want to cycle on, or if you want to explore mountain bike tracks of all difficulty levels, you’ll have plenty of choice.

Welcome in a region where cyclists will be thrilled by the challenges that are waiting for them.   You’ll find some information on cycling in the Alps, in le Pays du Guil on this page, and some links if you’d like to find more information.  

The legendary cols of the Alps

Les cols des Hautes Alpes

Cycling on the cols of the Alps

Some of the most legendary cols of the Tour de France are waiting for you in le Pays du Guil.  

The Col de l’Izoard in the Queyras is probably the one that is on everyone’s wish list.  Then, there is also the Col de Vars and the climb to Risoul in the Guillestrois.  Or still the Col Agnel in the Queyras as well, on the border with Italy.  And if you push it a bit further, you might add the Col du Galibier and the Col du Lautaret to the list. 

And know that, in summer season, certain cols are cyclists only on certain days.  You’ll find more information on the exact days on the websites of the tourism offices and further below on this page.  

Vélo de route Alpes
Mountain bike alps

Mountain biking in the Hautes Alpes

Hundreds of kilometers of well indicated and well maintained tracks can be your playground in the Guillestrois and the Queyras.    

and if you’re not so fond of climbing uphill, you can go to Vars and Risoul, where certain chairlifts will take you to the top of the mountain.

The downhill track from Vars to Embrun will take you through breath taking scenery on a track of 32 km.  Without any doubt one of the most beautiful downhill tracks in the Alps, you’ll start off in Vars to arrive 1800 m lower on the shores of the lake Serre-Ponçon.  

The big cycling events

Every year again, there are a lot of events for road cyclists as well as mountain bikers in le Pays du Guil.  The Tour de France often has several stages in our area and several mountain bike raids are organized around le Pays du Guil.  

The Tour de France in the Hautes Alpes

The Tour de France passes regularly in the Hautes Alpes.  On July 24th 2019 for instance the Tour the France went from Pont du Gard to Gap via the col de la Sentinelle.  The next day, departure in Embrun for a first time ever ascension of the 3 legendary cols of the Hautes Alpes via the South climb, with first the Col de Vars, then the Col de l’Izoard and finally the Col du Lautaret and the Galibier.  

Le Tour de France, avec les étapes pour amateurs

If you’d like to dig deeper in the information for mountain biking, here are some sites that’ll help you out.    
Les circuits VTT dans le Guillestrois

The cols only for cyclists in 2023

Just like every summer, on certain days the cols are only accessible on a bicycle.  On those days you can enjoy your ride up the mountains without being bothered by cars or motorcycles on the road, making those days really ideal for cyclists in the Alps.  Some of those days that you don’t want to miss in le Pays du Guil are

04/07/2023 Col de l’Izoard
05/07/2023 Col Agnel
06/07/2023 Col du Galibier
11/07/2023 Montée de Risoul
20/07/2023 Col du Galibier

03/08/2023 Col de l’Izoard
17/08/2023 Col du Galibier
18/08/2023 Montée de Risoul

03/09/2023 Col Agnel

Nice images showing the ride from Guillestre to the top of the Col de l’Izoard.  

The Alps on an electric bike

The introduction of electric bikes a couple of years ago has been a true game changer.  The cols and challenging mountain bike trails are now certainly more accessible to a bigger number of people.  You can rent electric bikes in le Pays du Guil, and even set of with a guide who will take you away from the classic routes.