Mountain biking has really taken off in the Southern Alps area in the last few years, and new routes are being created all the time. The area is just on the edge of the Ecrins National Park, rather than actually inside the park (where biking is forbidden) which means, if it's bikeable, you can ride it - the only limit is yourself!
Cross Country Mountain Biking
All mountain bike routes in the Alps are graded like ski runs; green, blue, red and black routes, with black being the most difficult and green the easiest. There are 1000s of km of waymarked mountain bike routes in the area just waiting to be discovered in the Champsaur, Gap, Buech and Serre Ponçon area.
For families and novice bikers, there are gentle family routes which go along valley floors and are on larger paths or forest tracks. For experienced bikers there are fast, windy single track descents with more technical climbs. And there are a whole range of other routes in between! You can either bring your own bike, or hire a hardtail or full suspension bike here. We will give you route advice and maps when you are here.
One of the local bike shops we use also offer shuttles (5€ per person) to get to the starts of cross country mountain bike descent routes at the tops of mountian opasses once a week (usually on Wednesdays). This means you can get a great downhill mountain bike ride without the up effort!
If you are looking for pure downhil biking thrills, Orcières is home to a downhill mountain bike area where the ski lifts turn into bike lifts! With specially made and managed tracks with banked turns and bumps, it's a downhill bikers dream! Downhill biking is now a sport in its own right so we have a dedicated page for it. Please look up our downhill biking page for more information.
Electric Mountain Bikes
The electric mountain bike has also become exceptionally popular. Full suspension mountain bikes equipped with an electric motor for that extra bit of umph so you can get your downhill thrills with a little less effort! The mountains are yours to play on!
You turn the power on when it's a little bit difficult and pedal when you want to exercise. Technology has advenaced exponentially in this area and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between an electric and classic mountian bike. For mixed ability groups it is also a great way of sharing the same experience. So Grandpa can now keep up with his teenage mountain bike enthusiast grandson and no-one will be any the wiser!
Mountain Biking Tours
We also arrange place to place mountain biking tours which cross valleys and even regions, and take in stunning scenery. We give you all the maps you need as well as GPS track and arrange for your luggage to be taken to your accommodation each night so that you can travel light. It's a great way to travel and explore this magnificent region.
When to come
The best time of year to come moutain biking is between May and November, when it's nice an sunny and there is no snow around! For downhill moutain biking the lifts are open between from the beginning of July to the end of August.
So whether you are a hardcore mountain biker looking for an adrenaline rush down a fast, technical single-track route, or a family wanting a gentle ride in some beautiful countryside, you will be pleasantly rewarded.
Read more on mountain biking technique on our blog!