Downhill Mountain Bike Week


Holiday Overview

Explore the best downhill tracks of the Southern French Alps using bike lifts and vehicle shuttles to get you to the cols and passes to start your descents with additional outdoor activities to add some extra adventure!

A superb week of downhill mountain biking using lifts and private shuttles up to mountain passes to access some of the best descents in the area. Self guided with personalised routes and tips.

As we are multi activity holiday specialists, we have also included 5 activity points so you can add a little adventure to your week and give your biking muscles a bit of respite! Refresh yourself in a mountain canyon, challenge your head for heights on a via ferrata or go for a gentle paddle along the lake... the choice is yours. Please have a look at the choice of activities by clicking the activity list button below.

For mountain biking, the majority of the routes are on a mixture of single-tracks and mountain trails and although we will adapt the itinerary to suit you, it is recommended you have an intermediate to advanced level of mountain biking to really enjoy this week.

For two of the days you also have a lift pass for the downhill resort of Orcieres where there is a bike park and a choice of graded downhill routes including one mega descent of 1800m. Here you can test your technical skills to the limit and experience one of the best descents in the Southern Alps.

For the rest of your mountain biking days, you will explore some of the other lesser known downhill routes accessible only by private shuttle to the tops of mountain passes. Although this is primarily a downhill mountain biking experience, there are some short ascents by bike required to really make the most of the area. Expect between 100 and 600m of ascent per day.

You have 3 vehicle shuttles included in your week and we will advise you on the 'must-do' routes from the various drop off points which we will adapt to your level, preferences, and of course, the weather! The example itinerary below describes some of the possibilities to give you an idea of how your week could be.

For the vehicle shuttles, we will meet you at the end of your chosen ride where you can leave your car and take you up to the top so you can ride down at your own pace safe in the knowldege that your car is there waiting for you when you finish! This way there is no pressure to get there for a certain time so you can stop as much as you like or if you feel like going for it you can!

Surrounded by the dramatic scenery of the Ecrins Massif, your week will be spent exploring the stunning and varied mountain biking terrain of this unspoilt alpine region. Discover lush alpine meadows, cool forests and attack long winding mountain descents.

Have a look at our mountain biking kit list to help you pack.

It is possible to add mountain bike hire if you aren't bringing your own!

Itinerary

OVERVIEW

The Southern Alps downhill itinerary is a great mountain biking experience for those of you who wish to divide your time between losing yourself along beautiful single-tracks high up in the mountains and spending time pushing your technical skills to the limit on off-road tracks and in the Bike Park, with the added possibility of some new adventures!

It is self guided with route advice and trails given to you by our experienced local mountain bike guide. We will build in your other activities around your timetable and give you a personalised and balanced itinerary. This itinerary is an example itinerary to show you the options. 

There are several mountain biking options and it is even possible for the same group to have different routes if you have mixed abilities. For instance; a morning could be spent together in the bike park developing technical skills before splitting in the afternoon to follow circuits adapted to the preference and ability of the group members.

This programme is recommended for intermediate to advanced bikers as the majority of routes that we use for this trip are single tracks and trails in mountainous terrain. Although primarily a downhill biking trip, some of the routes do require some ascent by bike. Expect between 100m and 600m per day.

For the vehicle shuttles, we will meet you at the end of your chosen ride where you can leave your car and then take you up to the top so that your car is waiting for you at the end! It is possible for you to use two shuttles on one day if you want a full on biking day with two descents.

Day 1 - Arrival

On arriving at the Auberge, located in the valley of Champoleon, you will have time to settle in to your accommodation before we will meet you and go through the routes with you and plan in detail your personalised itinerary for the week and answer any questions you may have.

Day 2 - St. Léger Les Mélèzes

There are two good options for this area and a half day biking for your first day is a good warm up option for the week. You can spend the afternoon getting a sun tan at the lake or trying out one of your other activities!

Option 1: We can take you to the top of the pretty alpine village of St Leger les Melezes where there is a fantastic descent through larch forest with panoramic views over the Champsaur valley. For lunch there are plenty of great picnic spots on the way down or by the river at the bottom of the valley.

Option 2: This lift takes you up again for a glorious descent down the other side of the mountain to the spectacular hanging plateau and the charming village of Ancelle before heading back to Champoleon.

Day 3 - Orcieres with Bike Park

This is the day you can make the most of your bike pass in Champsaur’s largest downhill biking resort, Orcieres 1850. You can go up and down as many times as you like to test out the various graded downhill descents in resort. There is also the opportunity to really put your skill and techniques to the test in the Bike-Park if you want to - or you can just stick to classic downhilling!

In the afternoon  – a real ‘must’ of the week – you can descend the mountain from the top of the Drouvet at 2700m by the trail named milles-virages (a thousand hairpins). This high-mountain route includes more than 1500m of descent on single tracks. You will pass through varied mountain scenery including lush green alpine pastures, tree lined tracks and rocky paths with a final sprint through the forest undergrowth to finish, all against a backdrop of dramatic mountain scenery.

There is a free public shuttle back up to the resort of Orciries during July and August for this route so you don't need to use any of your vehicle shuttles.

Day 4 - La Coche or Les Richards

There are also two options for this area to choose from. You can choose the one that suits you best and then have the afternoon free to try out one of your chosen adventures.

Option 1: We can take you up to a small alpine village called Les Richards where there is a superb descent through alpine meadows and woods to the village of Pont du Fosse. It is possible to eat lunch in Pont du Fosse or you can picnic by the river there before going off to your next adventure!

Option 2: This version takes you up to the plateau of La Coche with views all the way over to Ceuse (world famous climbing destination), Champoleon and of course the Champsaur valey. The descent takes you down through the woods and craggy outcrops all the way back to the Auberge in the Champoleon Valley.

For the afternoon, why not test out your head for heights and have a go at a via ferrata!

Day 5 - Free Day

This is a totally mountain bike free day to give your legs a rest and have a go at one of the other activities.

Why not have a go at canyoning - an exhilarating white water ride down gorges and waterfalls. You run or slide down wet slabs of rock, jump off blind escarpments, scramble up rocks, splash around in pools and abseil down drops.

Day 6 - Chaillol and Laye

These are both excellent descents and it might be a good option to use two shuttles for today to get them both in with a nice lunch stop in the medeival village of St Bonnet!

For the first shuttle, we will take you over to the other side of the valley and up to the south facing sunny village resort of Chaillol. From here you will follow a fantastic single track and technical mountain traverse that gives you stunning panoramic views over the valley below before heading down the mountain, direction St. Bonnet. Look out for unusual rock formations in the cliffs above you.

It is possible to eat in one of the cafes in St Bonnet or you stop off a bit further along at the swimming lake and have a quick dip to refresh your muscles before the afternoon! There is a cafe or you can picnic at the lake.

The day will finish with another lift up to the mountain pass, Col de Gleize where there is a fabulous descent along rocky limestone paths and mixed woods. More great views and unspoilt scenery all the way down to the valley. 

Day 7 - Valgaudemar

A change of scenery for today's itinerary! Gone are the rolling hills and alpine meadows of the Champsaur - today's shuttle will take you to the top of the Valgaudemar valley which is renowned for its Himalayan-esque dramatic 3000m+ mountains towering above a narrow corridor valley.

Superb views from the glaciers and mountain summits await you to be followed by a great ride along the banks of the river Séveraisse with some ups and downs before finishing the day's programme on a lovely single track which follows the banks of the canal. 

Day 8 - Return Home

 After breakfast it's time to say farewell and head home with a smile on a nicely tanned face and a pair of rather tired legs! 

Activities You Can Do With Your Points

Reviews

There are no reviews for this holiday

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 (especially if there are a few people with bikes on the same 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. The big advantage of driving is that then you have your own car here for exploring, getting about and really optimising your time here.

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 recommend you hire a car whilst you are here to be able to get about to the other activities, get back to your accommodation from the ends of rides and for your spare time when not biking. However, it is also possible to arrange extra shuttles and taxis to activities and for free time if you prefer not to drive.

Similar Holidays