Leysin and Col du Pillon


* the ascent above is a little overstated. Probably closer to 1800 metres

Col du Pillon

Starting at UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland – these two beautiful climbs into the Vaudoise alps share the first 10 kilometres.

The climbs start by passing through the beautiful vineyards surrounding Aigle. The route then climbs along the left edge of a huge gorge – with plenty of inviting mountain views as one progresses.

Leysin will host a mountain top finish in the 2011 Tour de Romandie in late April

Steep Leysin

After 10 kilometres there is a turn off up to Leysin. It’s 5 more lovely kms with a few steep stretches. At the village I turned around and descended the 5 kms and proceeded to Diablerets and up to Col du Pillon.

I usually climb the other side of Col du Pillon as it’s part of the Gruyère Cycling Tour. Additionally, here’s another great loop involving Pillon and Col des Mosses that is a bit easier than the Gruyère event.

Col du Pillon

Col du Pillon Col du Pillon

The ride up to Col du Pillon is just beautiful.

The huge mountains to the right have glacier skiing (Diablerets 3000) so there were still quite a few people at the Col catching the cable car.

Sometimes my self portraits require a second take: 🙂

failed self portrait

To make this route a loop, it’s possible to return to Aigle by climbing the superb Col de la Croix from Diablerets (1770 metres) – I have marked it on the map. But it won’t be cleared of snow for a couple more months.

The unbelievably warm weather meant I could leave my extra jackets in the bag while I descended all the way back to Aigle. Great ride.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. I did this route including Col de la Croix which is now open.

    So that’s: Aigle – Leysin – Col du Pillon – Col de la Croix – Villars – Aigle.
    70km with 2100 ascent: a very tough day of biking!

    I definitely recommend the Col de la Croix variant: there is little traffic on the col and the views of Les Diablerets (the mountain, although also the town) are to die for! The descent into Villars with the Dents du Midi on the other side of the valley is also special.

    Thanks once again for the inspiration Will!!

  2. Simon, Superb. I had hoped Col de la Croix might be possible but it was closed:

    It’s amazing how fast the Cols are opening

    Here’s a photo from MAY 2008 approaching the top of Col de la Croix from Villars. We had to hike the last few hundred metres to the Col

    Col de la Croix

  3. Wow! There was a tiny bit of snow on some of the shadier parts of the bottom part of the climb, and a little bit at the very top, but nothing remotely like in your photo! And I was in shorts and t-shirt, no extra layers, although it was a bit windy and chilly going down the other side.

    The descent down into Villars is a little surreal: on two occasions I realized I was riding straight across pistes I have skied on! But this year was a total disaster ski-wise in Villars: it snowed in December and a little bit in early Jan but after that it was warm weather all the way.

  4. Hey Will, I had a free day on a business trip today in Lausanne, and based in your and Simon’s suggestions did the trio of Leyson, Col de Pillon and Col de la Croix. Except I started in Lausanne! A long time in the saddle, but a beautiful ride. Man, was I happy to turn the corner and see the top of Col de la Croix! A fast descent and my legs were cooked, so I jumped on the train back to Lausanne.

    Will, thanks for an amazing site.

  5. Sean,

    Very well done, yeah it’s a beautiful ride – I haven’t done Col de la Croix in too long. I don’t blame you on the train at the end 🙂

  6. Pingback: My Ten Favourite Cycling Photos from 2011 : Cycling Challenge

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