Beautiful vineyards, a challenging climb, a long tunnel, military checkpoints, an alpine dam/lake, and a beautiful castle – this loop has it all. And most of it is virtually deserted!
The route above the tunnel to the lake crosses a swiss military base and is VERY frequently closed. Especially weekdays, and non-summer periods. Check here for current status. In fact I was thwarted back in 2009.
I am not certain the already difficult looking profile does this climb justice – data from GPS as I don’t have a paper profile. There are lots of VERY steep stretches in the % teens – tough.
It’s a lovely but leg aching climb starting in vineyards, then climbing through light woods, cow bells as soundtrack, a brief cliff stretch and then a tunnel. The climb is virtually over at the very narrow and rough tunnel.
A brief 2009 Video of our tunnel adventure:
After the tunnel is the military checkpoint. The young soldier gave me a card with a number and told me to hand it to the exit checkpoint. Easy enough – no need to search a guy in tight lycra. I felt safe passing the tank (last small photo above), and instead of numbered hairpins, there were 49 (?) signed bridges.
The road actually passes well above Lac de l’Homgrin, so I took a bumpy detour around in order to visit the dam. Worth the detour. Just follow the “National Cycling Route 4” signs.
After Lac de l’Hongrin the route joins the main road just below Col des Mosses – see map. It’s then a very fast, fun, and scenic descent – almost 20 kms – to Aigle on slightly busier roads.
At Aigle is the Château with its wine museum:
This is a truly superb loop – just make sure the military road is open to traffic.