Explore France

Southern Alps — MTB adventures close to the sky

© B Bodin

Southern Alps — MTB adventures close to the sky

Collection by Explore France

10

Tours

29:18 h

70.6 mi

17,700 ft

Do you love the Alps and their wide skies? Are you looking for a sporting challenge and are enraptured by the French way of life? Voilà, this hiking and mountain biking Collection is just right for you.

In the departments of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Hautes-Alpes located in the middle of the French Alps, fans of lonely mountain landscapes will be in their element here. Along the Italian border, the peaks rise to over 3,000 metres (9,840 ft). This high-alpine mountain landscape is under special protection as the core zone of the Mercantour National Park. On the one hand, you can take advantage of the good tourist infrastructure in the skiing and hiking areas and on the other hand, you can walk for kilometres through lonely, almost untouched mountain worlds while enjoying the magnificent panoramas.

We’ve put together seven hiking and three mountain bike Tours for you. From a short walk of just under 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) through the flat valley of Champsaur to a 13-kilometre (8 mi) hike up the Pic de Bure, where you can overcome 1,290 metres (4,230 ft) in altitude and prove your mountain skills, everything is included. For your mountain bike ride, you’ll find a small but fine choice between comfortable and challenging.

Unlike the coast, these remote parts of France are not easily accessible by public transport. Therefore, most visitors prefer to explore the southeast of France with their own car or a rental vehicle. As a result, we’ve designed all these adventures as circular routes, so you don't have to worry about finding public transport back to your starting point.

Public transport might be sparse but you’ll still find a bar or restaurant in almost every town so you can enjoy a delicious French meal or a snack after or during your Tour. As the area is well developed for tourism, there are plenty of hotels, guesthouses or campsites available. You can get an impression of what's on offer on the websites of Logis de France (logishotels.com/de) and Camping France (campingfrance.com/de).

Look forward to a grandiose mountain world with unspoilt landscapes as well as sporting challenges and being pampered ‘like God in France’. Bienvenue en France!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    01:30
    14.4 mi
    9.6 mph
    1,225 ft
    1,225 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On this very beautiful mountain bike tour you will discover the valleys around Orpierre, a small town with barely more than 400 inhabitants. You start at about 700 meters altitude …

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  • Intermediate
    02:02
    3.73 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Lac du Pontet lies at an altitude of 1,982 meters on the northern slope of the Romanche Valley. The view from up here of the glaciers and peaks of …

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  • Easy
    00:43
    1.68 mi
    2.3 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    A surprising side of the Ecrin massif can be seen in the Champsaur glacier valley: the old cultural landscape with the fields, meadows and forests enclosed in beech and ash …

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  • Difficult
    04:44
    7.23 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,525 ft
    2,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This varied hike takes you to the Aiguilles de Chabrières, which are located in alpine terrain at an altitude of over 2,300 meters. On this hike you will overcome about …

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  • Easy
    00:56
    6.38 mi
    6.8 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This short mountain bike tour takes you through the valley of Molines-en-Queyras and offers you wonderful views of the valleys of the Aigue Blanche and the Guil. With the exception …

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  • Intermediate
    02:17
    4.45 mi
    2.0 mph
    825 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You hike through the Gyr Valley, always with a view of the high granite walls, up to the old Alpine hamlet of Ailefroide. In summer this wonderful place is a …

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  • Difficult
    05:43
    7.74 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,550 ft
    3,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The beautiful Lacs du Malrif lie under a wide sky and in the midst of a grandiose panorama at an altitude of about 2,600 meters. In order to hike it, …

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  • Difficult
    05:53
    8.19 mi
    1.4 mph
    4,225 ft
    4,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Pic de Bure is located at a height of 2,700 meters in the magnificent landscape of the Dèvoluy massif. The hike is a sporty challenge, because you climb almost 1,300 meters up and back down on the approximately 13-kilometer round trip on stony paths. You walk through Mediterranean forests, stone fields, rocks and a moon plateau. Sounds good to you? Then lace up your sturdy hiking boots, pack weatherproof clothing and provide yourself with enough water and provisions.

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  • Intermediate
    03:31
    5.96 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Lauzanier Valley is of glacial origin and until the last century it was heavily used for agriculture. Above all, pastures and hay meadows dominated the valley and favored the …

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  • Intermediate
    01:59
    10.9 mi
    5.5 mph
    2,150 ft
    2,150 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This appealing mountain bike round trip from Barcelonnette rewards you after a long ascent with a wonderful view from the 1,850 meter high Bonnet Vert of the Ubaye valley. The …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    10
  • Distance
    70.6 mi
  • Duration
    29:18 h
  • Elevation
    17,700 ft
Explore France

Southern Alps — MTB adventures close to the sky