Beginning from Samoëns (start of the classic side of Col de Joux Plane) is a steep, scenic climb that requires a mountain-bike ….. and a touch of bike pushing. 🙂
The climb begins rising through a light forest, with high mountains on either side. It is paved until roughly 1100 metres.
Once the paved road ends it quickly becomes super steep. I think it’s entirely rideable for very strong cyclists – I did some pushing and slipped over a few times on the gravel, but no worries.
Plenty of cows around. Including quite a big herd exactly at the summit.
Over-the-top, the road descends to Morzine. It begins steep and with gravel:
Plenty of good hiking here, signs everywhere. I took a little detour to visit Lac des Mines d’Or at 1390 metres (Swiss guys unsuccessfully tried to find gold here in the 1800’s).
From the lake, it’s a fast, paved descent to Morzine. My plan was to return to Samoëns via Col de Joux Plane, but it is still closed after an avalanche near the summit on the Morzine side. But see here for an old post (with a terrible video) that maps this best route option.
Instead, I took the busier, easier route back view Col des Gets. Another option, would have been to return via Col d’Encrenaz. Quieter, moderately difficult.
This route descends into Taninges. So before returning to the start down in the valley, I visited my favourite giant bench, beside the Chartreuse de Mélan:
This is a challenging, fun loop. But wait until Joux Plane is open for the full effect.