Bauges Alps Gravel Col Hunting


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. 🙂

Good surface early on

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.

Col de la Cochette

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.

See here for details of a road bike loop up and round Mont Revard. Good in either direction. See here for a fairly insane unpaved ride to Croix du Nivolet further south on the massif.

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.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


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