I decided to take my own advice and explore a nearby department after researching signed cycling routes on their official tourist web site. The French department of “Jura” is unsurprisingly in the heart of the Jura mountains. But, don’t confuse it with the entire mountain range. Most of the biggest cycling climbs in the Jura mountains are in the department of l’Ain or in Switzerland.
Here is my map with Jura Mountain Cols – click col icons for ride details.
Still, the “Jura” has an excellent network of signed road bike routes through hilly, scenic, sparsely populated, quiet roads. There are 26 signed routes at four difficulty levels: 4 Black, 9 Orange, 6 Blue and 7 Green. They have also identified 12 interesting climbs and signed them with kilometres markers. Very fun.
Note, at the very bottom of this post is a map and links to all 26 routes, and 12 climbs in the Jura department.
This 91 kilometre loop climbed 2 of these climbs, and descended one. Nice countryside, rustic, relaxing ride.
I started at the Swiss-French border – a safe place to leave the car. After a bunch of relatively flat kilometres, I descended through the Gorges du Flumen and Les Lacets (hairpins) de Septmoncel. I had climbed through here a couple of times 6 years ago and forgotten how truly impressive it is. In fact, I’d recommend this loop in the opposite direction as I did today, solely to enjoy this. Old post here.
We also watched a Tour de France stage here in 2010 – Chavanel!. Here is a short video of me having way too much fun that day:
After reaching St. Claude, I turned onto a small road and began the climb: “Côte de Chaumont.” It’s described by the official Jura web site as the longest (18.5 kms), and highest of the 12 cols & “remarkable climbs” in their department. Strangely, it is signed to finish after 13 kms, but I had the longer finish on my GPS – thus the slight deviation mid-loop (see map below).
La Côte de Chaumont, au départ de Saint-Claude dans le Haut-Jura, est la plus longue (18,5km), mais aussi la plus haute (1171 mètres) des 12 cols et montées remarquables du département du Jura
It’s not a steep climb, but quiet and bucolic.
I meandered then descended lower to Morel (a very cool looking forestry/industrial town, surrounded by mountains) and began the final climb: “Montée de Prémanon.” Again not steep – 6% forever – but peaceful.
A very good loop. The Jura department doesn’t have the biggest/toughest/highest Jura road climbs but it’s full of wonderful, well signed cycling routes. And of course, there are lots of cows:
I don’t know what you do while watching TV, but I make maps. Here is a map of many of all the routes in the Jura department. There are 2 massive loops (252 kms and 155 kms) in addition to the 26 signed routes. The map also has the signed climbs. Click any icon for more information.
Ultra Long Loops
Route 5: SUR LES TRACES DU LOUP GAROU – 57 kms; 703 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 6: LA GRANDE TRAVERSÉE DES LACS À VÉLO – 134 kms; 2180 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 15 : TOUR DE LA PETITE MONTAGNE – 100 kms; 1785 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 20: LE VIGNOBLE – 122 kms. 1353 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 2: BOUCLE DU VAL D’AMOUR – 59 kms; 527 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 3: TOUR DE LA PLAINE JURASSIENNE – 70 kms; 255 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 8: SAINT-CLAUDE-HAUTES COMBES – 74 kms; 1455 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 9: LAC DE LAMOURA-VALSERINE – 41 kms; 569 metres ascent. Brochure
Route 11: EN BRESSE-REVERMONT – 88 kms; 558 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 13: TOUR DE LA JOUX – 32.5 kms; 597 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 18: SUD-REVERMONT ET RÉGION D’ORGELET – 70 kms; 943 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 21 : JURA MONTS-RIVIÈRES – 69 kms; 998 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 25: BOUCLE DU OH! – 21 kms 353 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 1: REGARDS SUR LE DOUBS – 18 kms; 83 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 7: LAJOUX-LES MOLUNES – 21 kms; 252 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 10 – ESCAPADE DANS LE PAYS DU HAUT-JURA – 121 kms; 2063 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 16: TOUR DU LAC DE COISELET – 30 kms; 312 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 17: VALLÉE DU SURAN – 23 kms; 301 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 19: TOUR DU LAC DE L’ABBAYE – 6.8 kms; 46 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 22: CIRCUIT FAMILLE HAUTE-JOUX – 18 kms; 162 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 4: DES CROIX PATTÉES AU VAL D’OGNON – 31 kms; 344 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 12: TOUR DES LACS – 34 kms; 394 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 14: TOUR D’ETIVAL – 23 kms; 354 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 23: TOUR DES RECULÉES DE LA HAUTE SEILLE – 31 kms; 370 metres ascent.Brochure
Route 24: LA COULÉE DOUCE – 46 kms; 355 metres ascent. Brochure.
Route 26: RECULÉES ET CHÂTEAUX DU SUD-REVERMONT – 42 kms; 728 metres ascent. Brochure.