Mountain Biking - Ubaye Valley
Mountain Biking in the Ubaye Valley
Breath in the Alpine air of the Ubaye Valley in the southern French Alps and feast your eyes on the pristine Ubaye river and snow-capped peaks that rise to 3000 m above the valley floor. This is backcountry mountain biking at its very best. With 340 km of bone dry waymarked XC trails, the epic Transubayenne, enduro and downhill tracks and hundreds of km of off-the-grid singletrack to be explored, the Ubaye Valley is a great choice for your next mountain biking holiday.
Summit 2130 m (Pra Loup)
Vertical Drop 530 m
Base 1600 m
Cable Cars 1 (Pra Loup)
Chair Lifts 1 (Le Sauze)
XC Excellent, beginner to advanced
Downhill Very good, intermediate to advanced
Enduro Fair, intermediate
Total Riding 340 km
Bike Park Yes (Pra Loup)
Bike Wash Yes (3)
Beginner Trails 5
Intermediate Trails 1
Advanced Trails 4
Expert Trails 9
Day pass: 17 €, Week pass: 72 €
Nice Côte d'Azur (2 h 53 min)
Marseille Provence (2 h 27 min)
Grenoble-Isère (3 h 6 min)
Office de Tourisme de Barcelonnette
Place Frédéric Mistral
Phone: +33 (0)4 92 81 04 71
Ubaye Valley MTB Gallery
Ubaye Valley MTB Videos
Technical singletrack through the woods, flowy mountain-side traverses and rocky ridge-top tracks, the Ubaye Valley and its 3 ski resorts is an exceptional playground for mountain bikers.
Whatever style of riding you’re into and whatever level you ride at, the Ubaye’s Alpine meadows, shady forests and wide-open high altitude terrain beckons you to explore.
Built and maintained by the FFC (Fédération Française de Cyclisme) no less than 340 km of waymarked trails span the length of the Ubaye Valley, including the epic Transubayenne.
The Transubayenne long distance MTB Trail
A lung-busting, calf-burning 100 km of waymarked mountain bike trail stretching from the Col de Larche on the Italian border all the way to the turquoise waters of the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. Alternatively, you can start the route in the ski resort of Vars. Either way you’ll be treated to some glorious biking through jaw-droppingly beautiful Alpine scenery.
Conveniently, the itinerary is broken up into 12 sections, each graded according to difficulty. Ride flowy singletrack through the Alpine meadows of the upper Ubaye Valley and discover ancient hilltop villages and the old railway tunnels. Drop into the forest for some technical riding over loamy terrain through the trees, or take in the stunning riverside panoramas of the lower Ubaye.
Generally, the upper Ubaye Valley from the Col de Larche (or Vars) to Barcelonnette covers steeper and more technical terrain and will appeal to experienced mountain bikers. The lower Ubaye Valley from Barcelonnette to the Lac de Serre-Ponçon is more accessible and will appeal to cyclists new to mountain biking and families. For anyone riding the entire route, expect to spend about 14 hours, or 2 long days, in the saddle. Jausiers or Barcelonnette make convenient mid-way points to spend the night.
Pra Loup – Southern Alps Downhill at its Best
Having played host to the UCI MTB & Trials World Championships and the European Downhill & Cross-Country World Championships, Pra Loup has established as one of the top DH MTB resorts in the southern French Alps.
6 trails graded from green to black are accessible via the cable car. From the summit at 2130 m, it’s 3 km of downhill riding pleasure covering a vertical drop of 500 m. The bikepark will put a smile on high-flying freestyle riders’ faces with its table-top jumps, gaps, berms and north shore features.
A new area for budding bikers called Les P’tits Loups is located at the bottom of the trails and will appeal to the youngest gravity hunters.
Located at 1700 m in altitude just 4 km above Barcelonnette, Le Sauze offers views over famous peaks like Le Brec, Le Chapeau de Gendarme and Le Pain de Sucre. A grandiose backdrop to some good downhill, enduro and cross-country trails.
Off the bike
Off the bike, there’s plenty to keep you busy in the Ubaye Valley. From whitewater rafting to paragliding, it’s an outdoor sports paradise. If you like to mix your MTB with a bit of road cycling there are no less than 7 cols to tackle including the Col de Parpaillon with its famous old tunnel and the Col d’Allos which on Fridays in July and August is reserved for cycling only.
Barcelonnette is the most central base and is a picturesque town with a thriving market, a range of specialist shops, a good selection of bars and restaurants and a full program of cultural events and entertainment. It’s also a hub for mountain guides, rafting companies and gear hire.