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Sublime Alpine gravel rides in the Serre Chevalier Valley


Sublime Alpine gravel rides in the Serre Chevalier Valley

Bike Touring Collection by cycliste_tricolore



10:37 h

71.0 mi

11,825 ft

Serre-Chevalier is a narrow valley at the crossroads of some big Alpine passes (think Lautaret, Galibier and Granon), but as soon as you leave this road, there is a multitude of off-road secondary roads, perfect for gravel, coming from the old military tracks as it's not far from the border with Italy. The gravel is technically quite easy, with sublime panoramas overlooking the Meije glacier.

Here I've put together some of the most beautiful gravel routes from Salle des Alpes, the gorgeous village at the heart of the Serre Chevalier Valley.

Definitively off-road riding is the best way to discover the area, as the roads can become very crowed on the tarmac in the summer, whereas it's a real paradise for off-road riders.

The ideal bike for this region is a gravel bike, as capable and versatile as possible, i.e. with a minimum tire width of 40mm and ideally set up tubeless. As the gradients are often steep, especially on the old road leading to the Galibier, it's worth plan on adapted gearing.

Personally, my TREK checkpoint SL is perfect for this kind of terrain with 45mm tires and a single chainring and a 11-50 cassette.

The weather in the mountains is unpredictable, so I always take a light rain jacket in case of bad weather, and knee warmers with me. It is not uncommon to have thunderstorms during the summer, and I ride in long gloves for protection. As for food, I always carry at least three bars with some other snacks, my 35mm camera in my burrito bag.

My two favourite parts of the area are the old road to the Galibier and the Granon Pass.

The old road to the Galibier was abandoned to road traffic in 1938 but remains passable by gravel track. This is shorter but steeper than the paved road but it allows you to imagine what cycling was like at the beginning of the century when the Tour de France riders used this road.

The Granon Pass is also a highlight not to be missed, because of its panorama on the Serre Chevalier valley but also on the narrow Nevache Valley, at its top, and several options of Alpine gravel are offered to you on very rolling military roads.

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Behind Col du Granon

    8.35 mi
    5.8 mph
    1,575 ft
    1,550 ft

    This is a short loop behind the Col du Granon, giving you a great view towards the Valley de Nevache up to Tahbor.

    by cycliste_tricolore

  • 02:59
    18.9 mi
    6.3 mph
    4,050 ft
    4,100 ft

    There's a mix of gravel and tarmac on this ride towards the mythical Col du Granon with its superb altitude balcony.

    by cycliste_tricolore

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  • 03:02
    23.9 mi
    7.9 mph
    2,225 ft
    2,225 ft

    This is an easy gravel out-and-back ride from Salles des Alpes, with at first a very rolling part on a wide road. Then from the village of Lauzet you'll ride on a singletrack, gradually climbing up to the pass.


    There's also a possible option on the right towards the old road that leads to the Galibier Pass.

    by cycliste_tricolore

  • 03:10
    19.9 mi
    6.3 mph
    3,975 ft
    1,775 ft

    This is an alternative route to the ascent to the famous Galibier Pass, climbing from the south side and the Serre Chevalier Valley.


    This road is rideable either by gravel or mountain bike. It was replaced by a new road in 1938 which is much more popular.


    The beginning of the circuit is an easy mix of

    by cycliste_tricolore

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Questions and Comments


Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    71.0 mi
  • Duration
    10:37 h
  • Elevation
    11,825 ft

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