Ride Guides

Chamonix has more trails than you can shake a stick at, and once you start looking at the surrounding area you need a stick in each hand to have a chance of shaking it at even a a fraction of them. Why you’d want to shake a stick at the trails I’m not sure though.

Hopefully this page will give you some inspiration for finding trails, or at least make it easier to work out where to ride today.  If you’re looking for some more in-depth trail descriptions and maps then pick up a copy of the excellent Chamonix Bike Book, rewritten in 2012 by local riders and available through their website, Amazon and local shops.

Clicking on the locations will (should…) take you to posts tagged with that location, or you can just use the tag cloud on the right of the page.

Brevent – The Brevent gondola rises straight out the centre of town and mostly gives technical riding down the steep wooded hillsides. This usually means lots of tight switchbacks, but there’s a couple of rides which traverse further. No purpose made bike trails, so mostly off limits during the July – August bike ban.

Flegere – Pretty much the oldest bit of lift infrastructure in town, so don’t rely on it being open when it’s windy… Takes you from Les Praz up into the Aiguille Rouge and amazing views across the valley. The Index chair used to take bikes, but no more, though the views from the top are worth a trip up. One purpose made track (Elfe Secret!) which has since been abandoned though gets occasional maintenance from bikers. Otherwise it’s just amazing natural trails, but very little open during the bike ban, and watch out for the Aiguille Rouge national park which is VTT interdite too.

Le Tour/Vallorcine – At the head of the Chamonix valley and bordering with Switzerland, the geography here is very different to the steep sided valley walls. Much more open alpine pastures and lower angled trees abound for some of the best natural trails around, including huge descents down into Switzerland. The lifts even interlink (sort of)! Several purpose built trails for all abilities including the awesome Vallorcine DH track.

Grand Montets – The two stage lift opens up a massif area of terrain, but bikes are only allowed on the first stage and the trails are disappointingly limited, the moraine and boulders of the hill not being suited to riding. There’s a few good trails though, including a great enduro trail that’s open during the bike ban.

Les Houches/St Gervais – Sitting at the entrance to the valley, there’s a lot in common here with Le Tour, which is probably why the lift company is pushing biking at these two venues. Whilst it might not look extensive from the valley floor, the Tramway du Mont Blanc trundling back up from St Gervais & Le Fayet opens up lots of route choices for bigger rides, whilst the front face Bellevue & Prarion gondolas are great for fast laps on the natural and purpose made trails.

Non-lift accessed Chamonix – Chamonix riding is about way more than lapping the lifts. There’s something for everyone in the valley.

 

Road trips – Chamonix’s amazing, but it’s nice to get out the valley occasionally…

Tour du Mont Blanc – Probably the best multi day ride there is

Arve valley – Lower altitude riding, great for when the weather’s bad or you want  a winter fix

Les Portes du Mont-Blanc, Megeve/Combloux – Cheap lift accessed area just 30 minutes from Chamonix

Grand Massif, Flaine/Les Carroz/Samoens – Like the Portes du Soleil, but quieter

La Saleve – Year round lift accessed riding near Geneva

La Thuile – Lift accessed enduro riding at its finest, and with the added bonus of Italian coffee

Finale Ligure – Three and a half hours from Chamonix, so not exactly local, but some of the best limestone trails out there, overshadowed by the food and drink!

Verbier – Switzerland’s version of Chamonix, so not as good obviously