La Grande Dixence

Barrage de la Dixence - 2041 metres
La Grand Dixence

Another great climb up to an Alpine hydro-electric dam/lake.

Time is running out this year for the high Alps climbs but the weather forecast was cool yet perfect. So Eric and I headed to Sion in the Valais region of Switzerland to climb up to the Barrage de la Grande Dixence.

26.6 kilometres and 1680 metres (5500 feet) of ascent – this is a gigantic and beautiful ride well worth the visit.

The route starts out climbing above Sion. A little bit of traffic but after passing a couple of villages it becomes very quiet. After a flattish bit in the middle of the route, the best and hardest part begins.

La Grand Dixence

With perhaps 9 or 10 kilometres to go, the huge dam comes into view high in the distance. It’s a daunting challenge. The last 5 kilometres wind up the end of the valley on superb and steep hairpins before the route ends at the bottom of the massive dam wall.

A steep ramp hit me pretty hard and I stopped to enjoy the atmosphere, eat a little, and mentally prepare myself for this last stretch.

La Grand Dixence Barrage - La Grande Dixence La Grand Dixence Eric and La Grande Dixence

At the end of the road, we of course wanted to see the lake. I had a road bike and thus needed to take a cable car up to the top. Meanwhile Eric (being Eric) took his mountain bike up a very steep but rideable little gravel road and we met up top on the dam itself – a very cold but beautiful 2365 metres.

On the Dam - La Grand Dixence

It’s a huge lake – with high snow covered Alps at the far end. Unlike Lac d’Emesson, the water is more gray than blue giving a more remote feel.

There is a lots of hiking up top and also a trail on the right side that appears rideable for a long way along side the lake. Maybe we’ll try exploring next year.

Ooops, I left my GPS on when I took the Cable car …. 220 of the easiest metres this year!

Bike route 89266 – powered by Bikemap 

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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. 6,3% de pente moyenne (j’ai sorti ma calculette 🙂 ) Mais la moyenne est cassée par le replat de 3 kilomètres et le premier kilomètre.

  2. When zooming in onto the track on, what looks like the most epic part is your “flight” straight up the dam. Steep! 🙂

  3. Pingback: 10 Great Cycling Climbs to Alpine Dams/Lakes : Cycling Challenge

  4. Found your excellent write up on a Google search and gave the Dixence a stab this morning. A beautiful climb and tough last 7km. Not many other cyclists about and I got a round of applause as I cycled slowly up the last stretch through the car park. Great website Will.

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