Above Champéry plus Pas de Morgins


Above: No-one does tiny, high-altitude paved roads like the Swiss.

Champéry is a small Swiss ski village near the French border and part of the huge (Franco-Swiss) Portes du Soleil ski region.

Starting down low in Monthey, one can climb several big climbs with huge, scenic Alps as a back-drop.

I must admit the first few kilometres have more traffic than I prefer, but after the first village things quiet down, and once I passed Champéry the road was near deserted.

Perhaps a better idea than my route is to use Champéry as a base using a mountain bike, many of the roads can be combined and linked up quite high – and plenty to explore.

After Champéry the road to Planachaux gets narrow and steep. It is a bit rough, and any fussy road-bikers may take a pass as it’s a tricky, tricky descent – I walked a particularly steep, short, rough patch coming down.

But it is simply gorgeous. Mountains and forests everywhere with ever more impressive views around every turn.

Near the top is a little lake by a ski lift:

There are several roads at the top, but the paved stuff ends at Planachaux. Seven or eight years ago I did this climb from Champéry on a mountain bike and can remember continuing around to Les Crosets and Champoussin (marked on the map). Note, there are paved options to both of these places, with a signed turn off the main road BEFORE Champéry.

Pas de Morgins

After surviving the descent, I headed up to Pas de Morgins.

The profile above shows the climb directly from Monthey. There are two ways up: They are both 16 kilometres, share the first 6 and last 3 kilometres, and have near identical profiles.

I climbed the quieter route starting in Troistorrents, and descended the main (but still quiet) road — see map above.

Usually “Col” is the French word used for mountain pass. However occasionally the old French word “Pas” is used.

Pas de Morgins is on the border between France and Switzerland. I just road to the little lake at the Col and turned around. The French side enters the Abondance valley, famous for its cheese and full of interesting cycling. See here for example:


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. To avoid the traffic on the first section out of Monthey, it is nice to go along the south side of Val d’Illiez instead. From Monthey, head towrds Choex, then take the back road that goes all the way along the base of the slopes of the Dents du Midi. You then join the main road that goes to Champery at the head of the valley at Grand Paradis. This road is almost totally deserted and paved all the way. It does take a little longer than the main road, and you do have to do a bit of extra climbing, but it is way more fun.

  2. Philip MAGNUS on

    If you venture back to Morgins, may I suggest taking the Chemin de Sepaz which exits the back of the patisserie and eventually climbs up to the scenic viewpoint at les Portes de Culets…..the first four kilometres are brutally steep.

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