La Barillette and La Dôle

La Dôle

La Dôle

La Dôle

One benefit of Strava: I follow quite a few local mountain goats. Yesterday, I noticed that Baptiste had cycled up the tough, forested 13 km climb to La Barillette & La Dôle in the Swiss Juras – up to the Swisscom tower overlooking Geneva. It is usually closed well into April even May.

See Baptiste’s excellent blog: C’est Dur Le Vélo – including his ride of this climb yesterday.

The best part? The road was closed to cars:

Closed for cars - but not for bikes!

Closed for cars – but not for bikes!

The well-known, but thoroughly over-rated, Col de la Faucille is nearby. But La Barillette is one of several far more interesting, higher, virtually car-free, well paved, steep climbs in this section of the Jura mountains. Also see Col de la Vattay, and La Baudichonne.

Sections of the climb are one-way on the way up, with different one-way stretches for the descent. Today, there was only one possible way up. A combination of uphill stretches and going the wrong way on the descent stretches. See map below to take the correct turns and avoid doubling back. In summer — just follow the signs to La Dôle.

Some very Steep Stretches

Some very Steep Stretches

Half way

Half way

As I got higher, it was chillier and plenty of snow. But except for one stretch near the summit, the road was dry and clear.

Near summit - only icy stretch

Near summit – only icy stretch

Lots of fun riding a deserted snow-lined road up high:

La Dôle - radar tower above

La Dôle – radar tower above

La Barillette: Summit 1528 metres

La Barillette: Summit 1528 metres



About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Super, et même si la vue aujourd’hui n’était pas au rendez-vous sur le Léman et les Alpes. TIens d’ailleurs : tu fais quand la montée de nuit avec arrivée pour le lever de soleil ? La Barillette night session ! 🙂
    La vue sur la Dôle est superbe.

  2. Fun today wasn’t it? Good to see you at the bottom – looks like you made it up there a lot quicker than I did. Pleased you posted a picture of the icy stretch: perfect for reminding me of where I fell clean on my backside on the way down!!!

    • Hey Matt,

      Yes, it was very fun today. It was great to see you on the climb. And thanks for the route tip, I took the “wrong” way up and avoided one of the closed stretches of road.

      Well done on your visit, that’s two very good climbs.

  3. Very cool pictures. I think this is my favourite climb.. it’s scenic, it’s quiet… and it’s hard work too! Always a good test in the early spring too, to start and build up the vertical climb that one can do in one day. I had a hard time getting to the top… you didn’t say anything about whether you’d found it difficult?

    • Merci, Yes, this is one of my very favourite Jura climbs. Difficult, beautiful, and very quiet.

      Ha, oui, je l’ai trouvé très difficile, comme toujours. J’ai montée lentement comme d’habitude. 🙂

      • Si tu y retournes, ou si tu crois que la Baudichonne sera bientôt dégagée, on peut essayer de s’organiser une montée ensemble!? A rythme doux, pour profiter du moment 🙂 Je ne suis pas rapide en montée de toutes façons

  4. Thanks for pointing out this was open. Climbed it today, got a bit wet in the rain but had a great time and met Matt on the way up. I see on Strava I’m about 6 minutes behind you but I’m coming for you 😉

    • Good to meet you Steve. Apart from a nice chat, it took the edge off the pain of the last 3km! Weather permitting, it’s the Joux Plane for me tomorrow. Then back to work for the week, and return home to England. 🙁

      Will: your website is absolutely fantastic. Excellent content, well organised, and beautiful photographs and design.

  5. Hi Will,
    I hope you don’t mind I just asked to follow you on Strava. I live in Carouge and you have just about my favourite site on the web!
    We looked at Barillette this past Saturday, saw the closed signs in Gingins and we went up Marchairuz instead (which was great too). Can’t believe you did it 2 weeks ago.
    Hope to bump into you on the Saleve sometime.

    • Hi Gavin,

      Thanks for the note. I had luckily just seen someone else on strava climb La Barillette. Always extra fun when the road is closed to cars – not that it is ever remotely busy.

      I’ll be the heavy breather climbing Le Salève.

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