Col de la Croix Fry is one of my favourite late-winter climbs. The moment there are a few consecutive sunny days (so the roads are dry), I start planning a visit. Basically, a beautiful Alps ride, while the higher stuff is still closed.
This ride (map below) is a relatively challenging 80 kilometre loop (1850 metres ascent) that also includes the super-scenic Col des Aravis, Gorges de l’Arly, the Annecy Bike Path, and Col du Marais.
As usual, I stopped at my favourite hairpin for some photos (3 kilometres below the Croix Fry summit).
I’ve been taking photos here for years. 🙂 Here are a few old ones:
For a great, more challenging, version of Col de la Croix Fry, you can climb Col de Plan Bois first, rejoining Croix Fry for the best, upper half. See here.
I had to be careful descending Croix Fry as a couple of kilometres are shaded and there was a touch of ice. But no worries. Next, I joined the Route des Grandes Alpes, climbing the last few kilometres to Col des Aravis. Similar altitude but much more snow here than the above photos (as the mountains block much of the sun):
It’s a fun descent of the south side of Aravis to Flumet, then the route turns down onto the D1212 and into the Gorges de l’Arly. Note, this can have a touch of traffic (it links Annecy/Albertville with Chamonix). Thus, I highly recommend my route where I soon turned up onto the D109. This adds some climbing but it’s a fun cliff route towards Ugine.
It’s a 10 kilometre descent into Ugine on some great hairpins. Then the route crosses the main road and briefly joins the Annecy Bike Path.
At Saint-Ferréol, I left the bike path to climb Col du Marias. It’s an easy, but very worthwhile 10 kilometre climb. Cliffs, mountains, quiet. Lake Annecy is on the far side of those snowy peaks below:
Finally, a short descent back to the start.
Note, an interesting and slightly harder alternative would be to reach Col du Marais via Col de l’Epine – which also starts from the Annecy bike path from Marlens – see here.
I love this loop. A beautiful Alpine challenge while the higher stuff is still closed.
Quiet / No Traffic