Col de la Golèse


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.

Early slopes

Early slopes

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.

Slightly intimidating

Slightly intimidating

A welcoming committee

A welcome committee

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).

Lac des Mines d'Or

Lac des Mines d’Or

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.

Nice bespoke col "sign"

Nice bespoke col “sign”

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:

13th century monastery and a great chair

13th century monastery and a great chair

This is a challenging, fun loop. But wait until Joux Plane is open for the full effect.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Thanks for the report, Will. I’ve looked at this route on the map several times, and had planned to do it last weekend. In the end, the previous climbs took me too long and I had to skip it, but it’s still on my to-do list. My idea is to turn right during the descent of Col de la Golese, just before the Lac des Mines d’Or, and go over Col de Coux to Champery, Switzerland.

    • HI Chris,

      I looked closely at Cou. Great idea, but even for you, I think there will be some serious bike carrying. But it’s beautiful – well signed – and a perfect “short-cut” for you back to Switzerland.

  2. Rhydian Jones on

    Walked up this earlier this week. No bike with me but I thought it was bloody steep! Walked across to the Refuge de Bostan and then down through the woods rather than on the forest road. For someone with good downhill technique the path through the woods would be a belter!
    My first time in Samoens. Sunny ++ too hot for me. I need to come back with my bike!

  3. Hi,

    Late to the party, but I know you never made it over the JP on the return as it was shut, but if you did, do you know if there is an off road route down to Samoens rather than just taking the road down ?


    Great info btw

  4. So I tackled this one today. Grateful being armed with this insight as to what I was in for, although the steep gravel sections were even worse than I expected?

    Think my poor cx bike was a little out of its depth on the descent into valley de la manche !!!

    Some pics here of my day for anyone that reads this.

    Lovely day out, glad I did it, thank you.

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