It can be very annoying to drive the Autoroute with me. I keep pointing up and saying “Col du XYZ is up there,” or “look an amazing cliff road over there, ” etc. Recently driving south of Annecy, I realised I knew nothing about the mountain stretch south of Le Semnoz, but just before Mont Revard. Not anymore.
WARNING: This ride is mainly gravel up high. Sometimes trails. There is some pushing and one place where I briefly carried the bike. But mostly it is very rideable.
The route visits three cols: Golet du Pont (1050m), Col du Pré Bernaud (1315m), and Col de la Cochette (1317m). Plus I descended past the paved Col de la Clusaz (1184m) near the end of the ride.
After 4 kms, just after St. Offenge Dessous this sign, just before the gravel, warns me to ride at my own risk and peril. I would definitely recommend a mountain bike versus a gravel bike for the loop to manage these perils. 🙂
It’s not a view-filled ride (and I didn’t take many photos), but at the cliff edge of Golet du Pont are nice views of the distant Lac du Bourget and Mont du Chat:
Above this is the toughest part of the route as I headed to Les Trois Bornes (1360m; The border intersection of 3 communes), and the high point of the route: Darca (1420 metres). Narrow, steep, rocky trails. There is a slightly hairy descent to the little farm and the Refuge du Creux de Lachat (1320m).
After getting briefly lost, I located Col de la Cochette – a quick there/back.
Next, there is a road again but it is very, very bumpy – up and down. I would be looping through the Mont Revard cross-country skiing area. Fantastic in winter:
At roughly 1350 metres, 28 kms into the route I would join the main paved climb to Mont Revard perhaps 3 kms below the Belvedere lookout. But I decided to keep things simple and began descending. A few kilometres down I turned off the main road and returned to the start on very quiet but paved roads.
This ride is tougher than the stats below indicate. But very satisfying. And now when I drive past on the Autoroute down low I’ll have one more boring story to tell while pointing up.