Col Hunting on the Edge of the Vercors


The Parc Regional National du Vercors is a beautiful region for cycling, full of interesting medium mountains cols, cliff roads, and gorgeous gorges. Much of this ride is in the Vercors, but completely isolated from the rest of the Parc by a huge, spectacular ridge — with the Vercors Plateau on the far side — see photos.

I have certain rides that I save for perfect weather to better enjoy great views – and this should have been one of them. Oh well, a good excuse to return.

For more rides in the Vercors see here.

Vercors Massif

I started in Vif, just a little south of Grenoble. After a few flat kilometres to warm the legs up, the road turns up for a 12 kilometre climb to Col de l’Arzelier. Like the entire route, a very quiet road, with the ever present Massif off to the west.

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I would pass four cols on this loop (see map): Col de l’Arzelier, Col des Deux, Col de l’Allimas, and less impressively, but still technically a col: Col de la Croix Serre Monet. But I failed to climb perhaps the most interesting col in the area Pas du Serpaton (1586 metres) – tired legs.

A Nice Vercors Style  Col Sign

A Nice Vercors Style Col Sign

The mountains here are reminiscent of the beautiful Italian Dolomites. And the local seem to agree:

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Have a look at this post by my friend Bastien where he climbs Serpaton and also has far better photos than me of this great lesser-known region. Note, in his loop, he visits a couple more cols near the end of the loop. But the trade-off is returning for 21 kms along the fast, busy, truck-filled national route. I prefer my quieter choice. Very nice.

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I loved this loop. Great roads, great views. I am motivated to return on a sunny day and tackle Pas du Serpaton and maybe another col or two. Maybe some VTT side roads?


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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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