Col de l’Arpettaz


Bike route 1746282 – powered by Bikemap 

My old friend Emmanuel is vacationing in Annecy with his family. I hadn’t seen him in 2 years, and he knows the Cols of the region very well. My challenge was to find a climb from Annecy that he hadn’t cycled that would make him go “wow!” Success.

The challenge for Emmanuel was much tougher: Cycle up the steep Arpettaz and listen to me speak French for several hours —– yikes. :)

Col de l'Arpettaz Col de l'Arpettaz Col de l'Arpettaz Hairpins Col de l'Arpettaz

This is a great loop, with much of the riding on the Annecy Bike Path. It’s a perfect place to ride side-by-side and chat without worrying about cars.

Approaching Ugine, there are several turns off the bike path to join the “route des montagnes” up to Col de l’Arpettaz. I love this climb – look at the map above – hairpins galore on a quiet road that is partly pasture land and partly light forest.

Col de l'Arpettaz

For a truly superb mountain bike adventure, there is a gravel road that links Col de l’Arpettaz with Col des Aravis. Details here.

Nearing the Col the tree line disappears – great views of the Aravis Alps:

Col de l'Arpettaz

Plenty of cows watching Manu suffer:

Emmanuel and friends

There is a nice little restaurant at the Col and we stopped to rehydrate. The route we descended is fabulous. First beautiful views of Mont Blanc for several kilometres:

Mont Blanc

Then some unbelievable stretches of hairpins:


Finally just a fast, quiet descent on beautiful roads back to Ugine where we rejoined the Annecy bike path to head home. Even the tunnels are fun (car-free) here:

Annecy Cycling Path Tunnel

Merci mille fois to the family of Manu for entertaining and feeding me afterwards — and for the great swim. Wonderful day.


About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill. More enthusiastic than talented, my 2014 Challenge is to cycle 50 great rides, slowly.


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