A spectacular high altitude mountain bike trail in the French Alps
Cycle Route Overview
This mountain bike route in the Maritime Alps in the South of France is nice and exposed with superb views over the Roya valley. The trail averages an altitude of 2000 m and with the perfectly graded climbs and descents, it’s superbly suited to mountain biking. The crossing between la baisse de Peïrefique and la baisse d’Ourne is a real highlight and one of the most beautiful parts of the upper Roya valley.
Due to the trail’s length it’s not a leisurely cycle but you do pass through historical places like the old road to Col de Tende, which was an ancient pass for traders making their way from Piedmont to the Med. The trail runs parallel to the Italian border and you’ll see Italian fortifications built during the second half of the nineteenth century, providing a history lesson to compliment the incredible geography of this area.
From the departure point intersection (1804 m), climb to the Tende mountain pass (1871 m), then head west along the trail to the Marguerie fort (1860 m) and continue along the trail flanking the slope leading to the Peïrefique bridge (1916 m).
The trail then climbs to the Cime de Gratin (2139 m) before descending to Baisse de Peïrefique (2030 m) via the 371 trail marker. Head south along the trail to marker 369 and follow the trail straight on taking in the superb views down to Baisse d’Ourne (2040 m).
Return via the same route.
- Length: 25 km there and back
- Climb: 450 m
- Descend: 450 m
- Ride time: 3 hours there and back
- Difficulty: hard
- Best time to ride: June to October
The trail starts 82 km from the coast. From Menton, take the A8 motorway eastbound to Vintimiglia (on the Italian side, the road becomes the A10) and take the E74 up the Roya valley.
Once the road crosses back into France at Fanghetto it becomes the RD6204. Continue approximately 30 km to Tende.
Staying on the RD6204, head up to the Col de Tende, go through the tunnel and cross the border and take the first road on the left to the Trois Amis ski resort. Head straight through the village and take the windy road up towards the Tende mountain pass.
Leave your car at the end of the tarmac road, 800 m before the pass at the crossroads.