Above: La Croix de Coeur
Whenever Verbier appears in a Tour de Suisse or Tour de France stage I predictably complain that the best part of the climb is above the village/finish.
Croix de Cœur is a beautiful high climb that I have done a few times via Verbier – see here. So for something new, I decided to try climbing from the north side, starting low in the Valais and passing through La Tzoumaz – a ski station that links to Verbier.
This is a big, tough climb. Roughly 1700 metres of ascent over 22 kilometres. Rarely crazy steep, but never easy. It’s a fairly stead 7-9% the entire way.
The first stretch to La Tzoumaz is a wide, well surfaced road. There are 5 tunnels, a few long – not my favourite – but they are wide, lit, Swiss tunnels. It could be worse.
The paved road ends just after La Tzoumaz after roughly 14.5 kms and 1150 metres climb – so it is still a worthwhile exercise by road bike. But from here, the path, though with plenty of paved remnants is basically a good quality dirt road.
The road gets fun here as it winds up through the woods, among the ski slopes. As the tree line thinned and I approached 2000 metres the snow line appeared. (pic during descent).
At the top is a little restaurant that was surprisingly open. The lady asked why I was laughing – “you just charged my 6 chf ($6.50) for a Coke.” Welcome to Switzerland. 😉
At the Summit, just over the other side is a great virtually flat path up high along a ridge overlooking the other – Verbier – side. It’s a fantastic ride. I went for roughly 7 kilometres – and need to explore up higher during a summer in the future. Edit: Here’s a ride where I go far higher, above 2700 metres, great!.
Strangely, at about 2250 metres, near where I turned around, are various artsy statues. Me, I just enjoyed the views with my pal the giant stork:
There are definitely ways to make this a big loop. Dropping down into Verbier and returning via Col du Lein, etc. But I was a little short of sunlight and energy. Another time. Highly recommended.
High above Verbier, Col de la Coeur is a beautiful Swiss summit. This side, via La Tzoumaz, starts all the way down in the bottom of the Valais making for a huge, beautiful climb
Quiet / No Traffic
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Great write up, and some super pictures! We live on the road just above La Tzoumaz and we cycle it all the time… Thanks for sharing your experiences 🙂
Hi Will, I rode up here on my road bike last July and found it was paved all the way to the top. A few stones in some of the corners looking like it had just been done. Its a better road than the descent down to Verbier
The top of the La Tzoumaz side is now paved? Excellent. Thanks for the tip.
Latest update: The climb to the Col de la Croix de Coeur is now fully paved from both sides. Only the parking lot on the top of the Col (last 50m) is gravel.