Colle di Sampeyre

Colle di Sampeyre

Colle di Sampeyre is a high (2284m), beautiful climb in the Cottian Alps, in Piemonte, Italy. It has appeared twice in the Giro d’Italia (’95, ’03).

There are three paved ways up. I climbed the north side, starting in Sampeyre, but there are two ways up from the south – I only descended the first 5 kms of the south side – just for a peek. See this blog for a map and details of the south sides.

This is a high – and probably – beautiful climb. I say “probably” jokingly as I spent much of the ride in fog or below thick clouds.



From Sampeyre, the climb winds out of the Vareita Valley beside the slopes of a small ski station. It’s a narrow road, and quite a lousy surface. But plenty of fun hairpins. It’s a tough climb, in a beautiful environment. I cursed the fog, but was grateful there was no rain.

Reaching the summit, I finally saw some sun, and lots of big mountains in the distance. Lovely place. I was tired and nervous about the weather so I decided not to descend too far down the other side. But the two south sides (they share the same final kms) are apparently on rough, paved, steep, fun roads.

Friendly Stranger - South Side

Friendly Stranger – South Side

At the Colle, I took an old military gravel road a little higher. This can be followed for a long, long way – but I was on a road bike.

That night at the hotel, the nice Italian owner pulled out maps, and we talked route ideas – me struggling to speak Italian, and him pretending that he understood me. The next time I come back here, I hope to try and arrive at the Colle via this great old military road. 🙂

Above the Colle:

High Altitude Cows - 2300 metres

High Altitude Cows – 2300 metres

The narrow winding road is in terrible shape, so I descended even slower than my usual snail pace. Be careful!

8.4 Very Good

A high, quiet, "probably", beautiful climb on a very rough road. Shame about the fog.

  • Views 8
  • Quiet / No Traffic 9
  • Difficulty 8.5
  • Fun Factor 8
  • User Ratings (2 Votes) 9

About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Hello, the most western side in Valle Maira, through borgata Serre (Elva on maps) is the toughest one and by far the most beautiful one (all locals told me so and I confirm that). The first part of the road is through a gorge and drilled in the rock, fantastic, and the village of Serre (Elva) is very nice.

  2. Gorgeous website, I really like it and I discovered it too much later 😀
    I have a personal website where I put my ride and bike trips (weel, I’m lazy and did not put the last rides), anyway, I rode the military road you mention in this post, it’s called “Strada dei Cannoni” and I was surrounded by clouds, too…
    In this article you can find the report and some pics, I also suggest you to ride the road of the Altopiano della Gardetta!

  3. Pingback: Colle di Sampeyre via Strada dei Cannoni

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