This route is an absolute gem. It’s an out and back, it’s not super difficult and hasn’t got a famous pedigree.
But it is magical.
You ride through the Vénéon valley, right into the heart of the Écrins National Park. The road clings on to the valley side, surrounded on both sides by towering beasts of mountains. Locals call it the road to the end of the world, and it’s easy to see why.
Though the ride isn’t too tricky overall, watch out for the section just before Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans, where hairpins take you up a towering wall of rock.
Looking for a return GPX route? Click here. For reference, you’re looking at roughly: distance 65 km and elevation gain 1,520 m.
All metrics in this article are approximate.
The 10km or so after Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans offers easy riding in surroundings that are off-the-scale beautiful. If you like unspoilt mountains, old villages and feeling far away from the rest of the world, don’t miss it!
1. Bourg d’Oisans to Venosc: 0-13 km
The first five kilometres are entirely flat as you head southeast out of Bourg d’Oisans, along the valley road. As you turn off into the Vénéon valley, you soon come across the gushing milky blue Vénéon river to your right. The road starts to rise very gradually, and it’s a generally gentle climb up to Venosc.
Venosc is a nice rustic old mountain village and has some shops and restaurants if you fancy a break. It’s also connected by cable car to Les 2 Alpes.
2. Venosc to Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans: 13-22 km
This is where the going gets a bit tougher: the 9km stretch between Venosc and Saint-Christophe has an average gradient of 7.5%.
After the bridge in Venosc, there’s a 10% section through the forest for 3km. You get a short breather when you come out of the forest, cross the dam, and the valley opens up. You might get a glimpse of whitewater rafts speeding down the turbulent river, but soon your attention will be back on the road: rearing up on your left you can’t fail to notice a somewhat daunting wall of rock.
Eight hairpins wind their way up, and it’s a leg burner to the top. After the sixth hairpin, you get your first glimpse of the Saint-Christophe church and its fantastic mountain backdrop. Two final bends later and you’re at the top, ready to drop! Don’t worry, it’s worth the effort to experience the road to come.
3. Saint Christophe to La Bérarde: 22-32.5km
This is one of our favourite stretches of tarmac in the world. The road is narrow and quiet with easy gradients. Yet you are surrounded on both sides by peaks that soar up to 4,000m. Mini waterfalls cascade down to the road (and in some cases underneath it), and cows graze. There is an indescribable air of peace and tranquillity. It’s a great ride.
Bourg d’Oisans is obviously well equipped. Other options include:
Take a look at the accommodation suggestions in our article on cycling accommodation and bike hotels near Alpe d’Huez.
Found this guide useful?
Please support Epic Road Rides
A huge amount of time and effort goes into the article you’ve just read, all with the aim of helping you!
If you found what you’ve read useful, I’d really appreciate it if you dropped something in the tip jar here.
It’s a way you can say thank you and help us carry on creating top quality content with no annoying ads and no pay wall.
Looking for an organised cycling trip?
If you want someone to help you plan and book your cycling holiday, fill out this form. We aren’t a tour operator/agent but we work with lots of people who are and will do our best to put you in touch with someone that can help (within 24 hours wherever possible)!
The contents of this website are provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on it. You should carry out your own due diligence and take professional advice. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our website is accurate, complete or up to date. If you use any information or content on this website, download from, or otherwise obtain content or services through our website, it is entirely at your own discretion and risk. Epic Road Rides Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the information and content on this website. Find out more here.