Champsaur and Valgaudemar Tour


Holiday Overview

Explore the stunning mountain scenery of the Champsaur and Valgaudemar valleys on this week long self-guided mountain biking trip. A spectacular ride for intermediate to advanced bikers.

This trip is great challenge for experienced bikers who wish to explore this magnificent alpine region of the Southern French Alps.

The tour takes you through the Champsaur and Valgaudemar valleys, two very contrasting lanscapes with rolling alpine countryside to steep and dramatic high mountain peaks.

Throughout the trip you are skirting on the edge of the Ecrins National Park (mountain biking is forbidden inside the park) giving you access to this natural alpine paradise without disrupting it - a rare opportunity.

The route starts off in the Champoleon Valley which bars the end of the Champsaur Valley with the impressive mountains of the Ecrins National Park right all around.

There is the possibility of seeing marmots, chamois, ibex - there is even a pair of Golden Eagles that have made this valley their home!

As you wind your way through the valleys, each stage of this circuit will take you to a new and exciting landscape with a variety of challenges.

The route is very varied. You will ride technical single tracks through wild alpine forests, traverse spectacular mountain ridges with panoramic views, take it easy on forest pathways that cross alpine woods and meadows, discover unspoilt river and lakeside trails, tracks and canal paths.

We will transfer your baggage each day so you only need to carry a day pack. For lunches, we will give you information on places you can stop at en route for lunches or whether it is necessary to order a picnic from your accommodation!

Check out our mountain biking kit list for advice on what to bring and our top tips for mountain biking article!

Browse our other mountain biking holidays - perfect your descent technique with our downhill mountain biking holidayor cycle from the Alps to Provence!

Itinerary

Itinerary Overview

This itinerary is recommended for intermediate mountain bikers who wish to explore this spectacular alpine region by taking on some of the more technical routes that the valley has to offer.

This is an example itinerary to show you the general direction and technical details. However, the actual paths and routes we use may differ depending on accommodation availability for your dates and final route choice.

When you contact us, we will discuss the route with you to make sure it is suitable and once you have booked, we will send you the detailed route so you can download it onto your GPS. We will also provide you with hard copies of maps as well so you have a back-up!

Day 1 - Arrival

If you have chosen to take a transfer with us we will collect you from Gap train station and take you to your accommodation.

Otherwise you will make your own way to the Auberge where you will start your adventure!!  

If you are hiring GPS or mountain bikes through us, they will be at the Auberge waiting for you.

Day 2 - Champoleon to Ancelle

Distance: 35 km     Ascent: 1400 m      Descent: 1300 m

You will begin your trip in the Champoleon valley, situated on the edge of the Ecrins National Park with a dramatic backdrop of snowcapped mountains and glaciers. You'll follow the route named ‘The Grand Tour of the Champsaur’.

A beautiful yet challenging single track route welcomes you to the Alps where you will spend the day traversing the mountainside with panoramic views of the valley. There is a physically demanding technical ascent up to the Tante Yvonne cabin and then a beautiful long descent down to the village of Ancelle.

Ancelle is a very pretty alpine village situated on a plateau surrounded by mountains.

Day 3 - Ancelle to Poligny

Distance: 55 km      Ascent: 1300m      Descent: 1700 m

On leaving the village of Ancelle, you start the day by following old canal paths which will lead you to a plateau with superb panoramic views of the Gapençais valley below.

You will then briefly enter the forest on the col Bayard before continuing your journey along the frontier of the Devoluy Massif with panoramic views over the Champsaur valley.

You will finish the day in the picturesque hamlet of Poligny, at the foot of the Col de Noyer.

Day 4 - Poligny to St Jacques

Distance: 36km      Ascent: 1800m      Descent: 1100m

Today your route will take you out of the Champsaur valley and into the Valgaudemar valley.

You will ride some beautiful single tracks along the GR routes ( 'Grande Randonée' - a network of long distance, alpine walking routes) that criss-cross the valley until you reach St Jacques.

You will notice there is more of a high mountain ambiance in the Valgaudemar valley, with steep valley sides and towering peaks.

Day 5 - St Jacques to St Jacques

Distance: 44 km      Ascent: 1800 m      Descent: 1800 m

The Valgaudemar is reputed for its craggy landscape and imposing summits and is commonly referred to as the Himalayas in the Alps.

You will once again take the 'GR' routes of the Valgaudemar valley. Expect pretty single tracks lining the Severesse river (opportunity for a river dip to cool off??!).

At this point, you also have the chance to extend the day's route to visit the emblematic sites if the Ecrins National Park (les Oules du Diables, Le Voile de la Mariée...) before returning to spend a second night in St. Jacques.

Day 6 - St. Jacques in Valgaudemar to Chabottes

Distance: 44 km      Ascent: 1800 m      Descent: 1800 m

You will leave the Valgaudemar valley behind you to return to the Champsaur valley, taking in the alpine pastures and spectacular mountain scenery along the way.

Your day’s journey ends in the pretty little village of Chabottes.

Day 7 - Chabottes to Champoleon

Distance: 38km      Ascent: 1800m      Descent: 1500m

This is the last leg of your trip!!

Your route will take you winding back up along the Champsaur, this time on the other side of the valley, with fantastic panoramic views.

You then rejoin the single track which will take you along the flanks of the mountain and bring you back to the Auberge where you started from.

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Directions

If you are planning on travelling with your own bikes for this trip, we recommend that you avoid flying. You will need to take your bike apart for the flight and then put it back together again and there is always the risk of losing it on the plane. This leaves, either driving down or getting the train.

Driving down is straight forward and takes about 9 hrs non-stop from Calais so most people do it with an overnight stop.

If you get the train, the nearest train station is Gap which has rail links from Marseille, Grenoble, Valence and Paris (including an overnight sleeper). We can help you organise your train journey here and have local timetables available if you need them.

We can also arrange return transfers from Gap station to the starting point in Champoléon. Please ask us about this when you enquire.

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