Col de la Cayolle


Col de la Cayolle is one of three high passes heading south from the Ubaye valley towards the Mediterranean along with Col de la Bonette, and Col d’Allos. In the early 1900s, for military reasons, the old mule trail over Cayolle was the first to be made into a road. It is currently part of the Route des Grandes Alpes linking Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and the Mediterranean.

Different from many high climbs, one could argue that the best part of the road to Col de la Cayolle is the lower kilometres through the beautiful Gorges du Bachelard. It’s a climb full of interesting bridges crossing back and forth over the gorges throughout the ride.

Jens on bridge

Strangely, this great road has only appeared three times in the Tour de France (’50,’55,’73).

Les Gorges du Bachelard

See this post for details of one of the best loops in the south French Alps: Col de la Cayolle, Col des Champs, and Col d’Allos. 120 kms, 3500m ascent, quiet, beautiful roads.

The lower kilometres are very easy, but at the tiny hamlet of Bayasse the road does get steeper for the last several kilometres. Again, here the route crosses the gorge over some great bridges:

Jens on bridge

The plan was just a simple ride up to the Col and back down. But the top of the south side is quite interesting so we briefly descended over the top just to have a look.

Top of south side. Tunnel road far left.

A 3D video of the ride:

8.3 Awesome

A beautiful climb full of fun bridges. A long climb, but never steep.

  • Difficulty 7
  • Views 8.5
  • Quiet / No Traffic 8.5
  • Fun Factor 9
  • User Ratings (3 Votes) 7

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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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