This is a beautiful 22 kilometre unpaved climb to Col du Jovet above Bozel in the Vanoise Alps.
Last year, I had cycled Col du Jovet from the north side via Notre Dame du Pré. It’s a huge, fabulous climb (almost 2000 metres ascent) – details here. But the views from the summit of the south side, including an enticing looking farm road, promised an even better climb.
I started in Bozel – well below Courchevel. The first 6 kilometres are paved, but it becomes a bumpy farm road at 1300 metres of altitude. After the flat part in the middle of the above profile, the route gets above the tree line. It was partly overcast, but the views are fantastic.
The road is occasionally very rough and rocky, although it improves higher up. But this requires a mountain bike or at least a hybrid with suspension.
The photo below is the high part of the farm road I had seen last year just below the refuge. Amazing place. I think it’s obvious why I wanted to try this.
The road ends at 2360 metres at the Refuge du Jovet, but the Col itself is just a few hundred metres further – a short, steep, hike.
The way I descended is also very bumpy. It’s an interesting way down, with plenty of cows. Also, for the Col hunters, it passes Col du Parchit (1735m) – labeled on map below. But I chose the best side to climb: better views, more rideable.
This is a perfect example of why I have been doing more and more high unpaved climbs (vs paved) over the last couple of years. So quiet, high, and beautiful.
Quiet / no traffic
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I just did this route myself last week – albeit from Villemartin slightly above Bozel – where I live. I also hiked to the top of Mont Jovet – only to be joined two minutes later by two guys who had managed to cycle to the top. Don’t know how they did it but they had also cycled up Dents du Villard on the opposite side of Bozel that same day making 4k of climbing. Chapeau
Even though this route is on my doorstep – it really is one of the best I’ve done in the Alps
thanks so much for your site – there’s lots for me to explore and be inspired from.
Roland, well done, what a great road. I briefly started pushing up the trail to Mont Jovet and changed my mind. I should have at least hiked up (next time). I did see a little road perhaps a km before the refuge that seemed to head behind to Mont Jovet, but I wasn’t certain where it ultimately ended.
is it easy to find the road heading to Col du Jovet? I look at map and there seems to be many roads just above Bozel. And once you are on the road, are there any turnings you have to be careful about in order to go the right way?
Thank you for your answer and whole website. Great route ideas.
First, you really want to do this in the same direction as I did it. anti-clockwise. But a fantastic climb.
It’s not too confusing, but don’t expect to see signs to Col du Jovet. Once you get going, it’s easy to follow, the three early right turns are the most important not to mistake. But if you make it past the first 5 kms to Tincave, it’s unlikely you’ll get lost. But I had the route programmed into a bike GPS. You can get my gpx file by clicking on the map above.