• Distance 34 km
  • Elevation gain 910m
  • Difficulty
  • Epic rating

This relatively short ride includes an 11km climb (av. gradient 6.7%) but is pretty easy going when compared with the climbs that surround it!

The views from the cliff road between Villard-Reculas and Huez are mesmerising.

If you want to make this ride harder, it’s easy to do: ride it in reverse and climb all the way up Alpe d’Huez before looping back to Bourg d’Oisans via Villard-Reculas.

All metrics in this article are approximate.

Highlights

The panoramic views over the Bourg d’Oisans valley from the Pas de la Confession road between Villard-Reculas and Huez.

Turn in the Pas de la Confession balcony road
View down to the valley from Villard Reculas balcony road

Route notes

1. Bourg d’Oisans to just outside Allemond: 0-8km

It’s a straightforward, flat warm up along the main road (there’s a bike path), to the bottom of the climb.

2. Allemond to Villard Reculas: 8-20km

It’s a relatively gradual, 11km climb up to the pretty village of Villard-Reculas. Gradients aren’t too intimidating (for this part of the world), with a 6.7% average.

3. Villard Reculas to Bourg d’Oisans: 22-34km

This is the best bit of the ride. You start with the winding balcony road (aka the Pas de la Confession), which offers jaw-dropping views down over the towns in the valley bottom.  Just make sure you keep your eyes on the road as it’s narrow! From Huez you then get the swooping descent down the hairpins of Alpe d’Huez to Bourg d’Oisans.

 

Café stops

You could divert into the village of Allemond where there are a few bars and cafés. Or water is available from a water fountain at bend 16 of Alpe d’Huez (La Garde en Oisans).

 

Accommodation

Over the years, we’ve stayed in various spots in/around Alpe d’Huez. Take a look at our suggestions in our article on hotels in/on Alpe d’Huez.

 

Villard-Reculas Loop tips

  • You can also ride this route in reverse. We prefer it as described, because you get a good warm-up before starting the climb.
  • If you like the Pas de la Confession, why not ride out the other beautiful balcony ride too: the balcon d’Auris, which is part of our Col de Sarenne loop.
  • Read our tips for cycling in the Alps before you set out.

Found this guide useful?

We’d love to hear from you – comment below or drop us a line.

Check out our ultimate guide to cycling the Alpe d’Huez region and other articles on the Alps, below.

Don’t miss our other ride guides on the area: find them all in the Road Rides section of our ultimate guide.

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Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up epicroadrides.com in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

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