Col de l’Arpettaz

Lots of Hairpins
Col de l'Arpettaz Col de l'Arpettaz Col de l'Arpettaz - 1581 metres

The in-laws are in town! (Doreen’s sister, her husband, and their two sons). So as usual when we have visitors, we took them to beautiful Annecy and while they wandered the old town I went cycling.

Col de l'Arpettaz

On a perfect day, I took the Annecy bike path all the way to Ugine (30 kilometres). Just before Ugine was a turn off to Col de l’Arpettaz.

The Climb: 16.5 kms (10.2 miles); Ascent: 1,200 metres (3,940 feet)

If you like hairpins, this is the climb for you. A fantastic climb on a small very quiet road, winding up through alpine farms and a deciduous forest.

I had tried this climb in May 2006, but bumped into deep snow and couldn’t make it to the top. Unfinished business!

I used a road bike, but the road surface is poor. It’s a bit better down the other side. Perhaps better with a hybrid bike.

Such a pleasant climb alternating between the woods and alpine farmland. And as usual, ever improving views. At the top, Mont Blanc is barely visible, but I descended a couple of ks down the other side for a full view.

At the very top is a gravel road that goes all the way to Col des Aravis – a mountain bike project. Note, the Col sign has a spelling mistake (photo at top).

A bumpy descent and then a nice return to Annecy on the bike path. A 95 km loop.

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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Glad to see you got to do it. This was unfinished business indeed. And that is a healthy distance. Where do I sign up for the mountain bike ride from Arpettaz to Aravis? I want to join!

  2. That dirt road for MTB looks great!
    I did not make it to Beaufort, even not Aravis. Decided to make 180 before St Jean de Sixt as left shin got painful. I preferred to play it safe and not force. So now I have unfinished business myself. It was still a nice ride though.

  3. What a great website! Makes me wanna come over to Europe now. I’ve been reading Sprocketboy’s report on the Tour D’Enfer and am dreaming about cycling in the Alps … Love climbing, too. Your photographs of the views from the top are sensational.

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

  5. Pingback: Col des Aravis and above to Col de l’Arpettaz : Cycling Challenge

  6. I might add that there’s a very friendly refuge at the top …. good to know these things I always think…..

  7. Man, this looks awesome! What a spectacular climb it looks! Plan tomorrow is the pre vernet, contrabandiers, bluffs and for forclaz de montmin, but this is going to be on the summer list!

  8. Thanks for such an informative website. I’m wondering if the dirt road between this climb and the Col d’Aravis would be rideable on a gravel bike? (40mm tyres)?

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