Col de Chérel & Col du Plane loop


A fairly ambitious route primarily on deserted forestry roads near Lake Annecy.

Starting in Annecy, the route starts along the Annecy bike path passing the entire west side of the lake. At Doussard, I left the cycling path in search of a little forestry road.

cherel Col de Chérel HIgh Altitude Cows Tas de Bois

The forestry road climbs up the beautiful Combe d’Ire valley, accompanied by the noisy but scenic little Ire river. After just three kilometres the road is closed to cars – sweet. At times, this can be very steep with one full km at 12%, and with 5 kms to go the road becomes gravel and bumpy – hard work. But fun in this deserted mountain valley.

There are very occasional views of Lake Annecy in the distance, and the impressive cliffs of Mont Trelod above the Col.

Col de Chérel

The descent is VERY steep and bumpy for a few kms, and then becomes paved again.

Approaching Le Chatelard, I had to pay attention to find the little turn-off up towards Col du Plane. Another superb deserted road – at times very steep. Just like Co de Chérel, the last few kms on either side of the Col are NOT paved – this is not a route for a road bike.

Col du Plane missing sign Col du Plane

The Col du Plane sign is still missing, but I was glad to be there as I was tired, hungry and thirsty – and the hardest part was over.

After descending the other side of Col du Plane, there are 8 or so flattish kms through a beautiful valley and then the route passes Col de Leschaux and a fast descent back to Annecy.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. We could have bumped into each other as I did some of this too (D61 and lake cycling path) riding back to Geneva from Col de Marocaz over Col des Pres. Headwind all day n’est ce pas? Even the descends were slow. I see your rides are getting longer and longer. Very good!

  2. What a ride – and right past my house! You could have stopped for a coffee… and energy bar !!- that read like a tough one. We have the chalet know as Le Chatox, about 100 meters before the right turn at Le Chatelard for the Col du Plane. We rent it to cyclists and friends. I’ve reserved it for the week of the 21st and I’d like to give this ride a bash (or part of!).


  3. ha


    I could have used a coffee as I passed your place ….. was short of drink. Next time I will be banging on your door 😉

    Nice place for a chalet!

    Eric : Yes, I felt like I was riding into the wind all day

  4. Well no excuse next time..! Yes its a wonderful place. We love Les Bauges. If you guys are coming by from Tuesday 22nd – Friday 25th September – just call in for a coffee – (beers in the fridge !). It would be great to meet sometime. Useful as well if you ever get caught out in the area and need to borrow some spares/bike from the garage. I’ve got spare tubes wheels etc – and even a tandem if you and Doreen fancy a spin. You never know when you might need our bike hut !…Paul (+44 79 71 91 53 16).

  5. Pingback: My Top 5 Cycling Climbs from Lake Annecy

  6. Marcelo Perim on

    How many kms are unpaved? Would it be too bad to go with a regular asphalt bike (28 width tire) ? Thank you, Marcelo

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