Mont Salève via Trails


There are 5 great road bike routes up Mont Salève. I detailed all five of these great routes here.

But today Eric and I took a fantastic route up Le Salève primarily using well surfaced car-free trails.

As marked on the map, near Beaumont we joined the St. Jacques de Compestella pilgrim trail – initially riding through the private grounds of the Chartreuse de Pomiers. It’s beautiful.

St Jacques de Compestella trail

At the the château (and ruins of the ancient monastery gate), the route joins a rougher farm road until St. Blaise. When wet and covered in leaves there are a few stretches that are challenging to climb without slipping/stopping.

St. Jacques de Compestella trail

Next we rejoined a road for a couple of very steep kilometres with towering views of the Genevois region below.

Above St. Blaise

Just before the Château d’Avenières the route turns up for a killer half kilometre with grades in the high teens up to at least 20%. Eric – being superman – rode ahead to photo me struggling to turn the pedals.


This great forest trail vecomes far less steep, and less well paved. We followed it for several more kilometres before again rejoining the principal route nearing the first great Alps lookout:

Near Col des Convers

From here on, things are generally easier as the route rides across the Salève. After passing through the woods and Col de Convers and Col des Pitons (which finally has a good Col sign!!!!!). The road opens up with

New Col sign !!

fantastic views of the Alps to the left and Lake Geneva on the left. This entire top stretch is usually closed for several months in winter to cars – but is well worth struggling across on a sunny winter day – see here. Truly awesome cycling.

Below, Lake Geneva bottom left:

Lake Geneva below left

After descending to Col de la Croisette, we climbed up to the high point of the north part of Mont Salève – again with great views and an orientation table just above the road labeling all the mountains. Finally, the descent is down the north-west steepest side of le salève. Crazy, crazy hairpinned, steep descent. We videoed this descent a while back see here.

This was my first big ride in 6 months due to injuries. We went slowly, with smiles on our faces. Beautiful loop.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Hey well done fella

    I’ve been following your website for a while now and have been missing the fantastic ride reports. It was you and your website who inspired me to ride the maratona this year. What an amazing experience !!!

    Anyway, good to see you back riding. Looking forward to reading more inspiring rides.

    All the best
    Gareth. (uk)

  2. Hey Will:

    Welcome back to the bike! Hope the rehab is now completed and that you can resume your regular rides.

    As always, thank you for posting such interesting pictures and for maintaining this informative website.

    Bonne courage!

    Les (Canada)

  3. Nice to see you are back on the bike and it is going well.

    Take it steady because… Equipe Tas de Bois looks to have a place for the Maratona dles Dolomites. I just found out I was in and spotted your name on the list too.

  4. Hi Will

    Good to see you back on the bike and confident enough to get some climbing in too.

    I’ve been going out at night for two or three hours sometimes leaving as late as ten o’clock (means very few cars about and the kids have to be tucked up in bed first). I had a few twinges in my knee tonight so fingers crossed just ‘bedding in’ pains as I get fitter – otherwise I’ll have to start following my own advice!

    It’s a small Island I live on (Isle Of Wight) but easy to get lost when taking unknown lanes, no climbs that are very long but its quite hilly and some are steep. Been up a climb around Chillerton tonight. Not quite Mont Saleve but a bit of a grind on the mountain bike. In September each year they have ‘Hills Killer’ off road ride here so hope to be fit for that next year.

    Looking forward to more of your reports!



  5. Good to see you are back on the bike again and thanks for a nice overview of some of the rides in our backyard, there’s at least one trail I haven’t ridden yet there.

    Hope you continue your comeback with vigour and make a full recovery.


  6. I’ve also greatly enjoyed and benefitted from your ride reports, particularly being fortunate enough to live just outside of Geneva. Ever thought about organising a ride one day for folk in the region who enjoy your site so that we can all have a ride together – col de blanche, le dole (barialet) – some place like that. Just an idea before the snow comes.

  7. I’m another fan who is really pleased to see that you’re back on the bike and doing what you love. I may have to head over to Geneva and try one or two more ascents of the Saleve – I’ve only gone up by three routes so far.

  8. Hi Will,
    Did this loop today in the beautiful spring sunshine, It’s been a while since I’ve ridden off-road and I’d forgotten how much fun it is:) A terrific loop thanks for posting.

    • Hi Tim,

      That Col du Plan sign is very new – it is where I had always guessed Col des Convers to be. But I am not 100% certain.

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