Col Hunting in the Haut Beaujolais


I like to consider myself a fairly good “Col Hunter.” But my friend Bastien is a true expert.

He took Philippe and I on a 16 Col (!!) tour of the lovely Haut Beaujolais region – plus a climb to the lookout atop Mont St. Rigaud. Admittedly we passed by many of these cols without climbing them from the bottom, and even descended to a a few. 🙂

For another Beaujolais Col hunting route see here

The Beaujolais region is just north of Lyon. It is famous for its wine, especially the low cost, but immensely popular Nouveau Beaujolias. We started low, below 200 metres, on the west side of La Saône river in St-Georges-de-Reneins, but quickly headed up through the vineyards into the Haut Beajolais.

It’s a beautiful, sparsely populated region with lots of quiet roads, forests, rolling hills, and Cols absolutely everywhere.

Early on we struggled to fix Bastien’s flat tire ….. but it was a beautiful spot for a puncture:

Nice place for a flat

In addition to the 16 cols, we climbed to the summit of Mont St. Rigaud – the highest point of the route at just over 1000 metres. The last kilometre or so is nastily steep, bumping over 20% briefly. But the reward at the top is a tower – similar to forest-fire lookouts – with views across the region. It was fairly hazy but Philippe assured me that the white thing in the far distance was Mont Blanc and not a cloud.

There is a fabulous orientation table with the distances to 200 locations around the world:

Mont St. Rigaud

Other highlights of the ride:

A fantastic “tas de bois” (wood pile) at Col des Oncins – for Philippe’s huge collection of “tas de bois” photos:

Tas de Bois

A great statue of Napoleon at Col des Echarmeaux – I rubbed my belly in sympathy:

Napoleon at Col des Echarmeaux

And instead of a beer to celebrate this fabulous ride ….I had my first “Monaco.” Cheers.

IMG_0206 - Version 2

For another col hunting route in the Haut Beaujolais a little further north but including a few of the above cols see here.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Hi Will, well done. Is this all tarmac? I see the forest trail for the ‘tas de bois’ photo.

    You must be in the 100 Cols club now

  2. JB,

    Yes, it’s all paved. we were just a few metres off the road for the photo.

    There are lots of trails and forestry roads in the area that would probably make some fun mountain biking – maybe one day.

  3. Pingback: My 2013 Cycling Challenge : Cycling Challenge

  4. Pingback: » Une moisson de cols dans le Beaujolais

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