Off-tarmac routes in the French Alps?

If you wanna go a bit more south, this is my track from the Parpaillon (click!). Includes abundant asphalt/fast-ish section before and after the offroad part.

This is an idea of what to expect on that route:

I wanna go back. This is from a few years ago, and this specific trip is actually what started me with the interest in greenlaning and (slowly) learning to go off the paved way. :)
 
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when are you going ? i'm passing w2e on the 20/6 and e2w on the 26/6 , i have a first aid kit ! and i know where all the good McDonalds are....:D
 
Colle delle finestre start in Susa valley directly South of Sainte Foy. 34km of unpaved road other unpaved roads lead from it

My mate and I did a load of these routes around 20 years ago, we once met up with JB and Noddy at Stella Alpina Rally. It may be worth while contacting Noddy as from memory he had done a great number of these roads.
 
Colle delle finestre start in Susa valley directly South of Sainte Foy. 34km of unpaved road other unpaved roads lead from it

My mate and I did a load of these routes around 20 years ago, we once met up with JB and Noddy at Stella Alpina Rally. It may be worth while contacting Noddy as from memory he had done a great number of these roads.

Yes, a fantastic track with stunning views, this is the same one as the Colle dell'Assietta mentioned above. The other end of it is usually Sestriere but can be Oulx too, lots of variations.
 
Based around Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Sainte Foy, but happy to travel to o get to some good routes.

Whatever I end up riding I’ll stick onto a separate thread on here for peeps.

You are spoilt for stunning paved road passes from Bourg-Saint-Maurice but you probably know that already.

I am not aware of many unpaved roads in that area but they must be there.

Anyway, here are a few photos from various trips.
 

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A few pics from the last two days. I’ll post up routes when I get back.

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Excellent.

It woujd be good to have a collection of off-road routes. I know that there is some reticence in some quarters to doing this, which I have never quite understood. Those unwilling to do it, do not ‘own’ the routes, so should not keep them secret.

When giving them, it might be an idea to (sensibly) say how difficult they are. The ones in the pictures look OK, especially in the dry; I think even a numpty like me, could manage them on my Himalayan…. But I could be wrong?
 
Good stuff Nin. Someone seems to have left a scruffy old BMW on a lot or the trails though.
 
Excellent.

It woujd be good to have a collection of off-road routes. I know that there is some reticence in some quarters to doing this, which I have never quite understood. Those unwilling to do it, do not ‘own’ the routes, so should not keep them secret.

When giving them, it might be an idea to (sensibly) say how difficult they are. The ones in the pictures look OK, especially in the dry; I think even a numpty like me, could manage them on my Himalayan…. But I could be wrong?
I’m certainly up for that if you fancy giving it a go sometime!
 
Yep will do. A few of the tracks are dead ends, but take us up to some spectacular places so worth while.

I would do any of these alone on a big bike, but thats up to individuals choice.

Bike has been brilliant, really impressed with how it rides.
 
I got a map and info from Bardonechia Tourist information centre.
Nice and easyish trails that can be high and into snow even in summer.
The "Stella Alpina Rally" is always the second sunday in July.
I heard the track is now a toll road too
There was a good scenic track on west side of lake Cenis too
Also dont forget the Ligurian Ridge road further south Alps most of it is at 2000m or above
HTHY
 
Cheers Mick

A few more from today - mix of tiny tarmac and gravel. We thought we were really rufty heading up one grave track - to be confronted by a couple of locals coming the other way in a Merc 350SL.

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Terrific to see you are getting out Nin and putting the awesome bike you built to good use. Top marks!

Here is some info on alpine routes that may be of use to someone:

Parpaillon: very nice, easy to ride and amazing views all around. DF (dificulty factor from 1 to 10, 10 beeing almost impossible) 5 to 6.

Valbelle/Cloch: Less interesting, though still a nice track, do take the track to the viewpoint Belvedere de L'Homme de Pierre. DF 5 with a section (about 1km) of 7.

Moutire: tarmac from St. Dalmas to the intersection, from there it's an easy trail to the Bonette road, or a much less easy trail down to Bayasse, on the road to Cayolle. Great views, nice track to ride. DF 6 to 7.

Tende, the old road on the northside: Loads of hairpins, some not so easy to handle. Great views when the weather's any good. DF 5 to 6.

Via del Sale, also known as Ligurian ridgeroad: an 80km long stonetrail, which is best to start at Col de Tende and its Fort Central. Starts easy, but within a few km's you'll receive the toughest stretch of gravel/stonetrail you've probably ever ridden. From Col de la Boaire to Col des Seigneurs, it's nothing less than hell, but if you make it through, you'll feel king of the world. Going back down the valley using Pass du Tanarel, near Monte Saccarel, might be a bit tricky too, watch out in the woods, the trail might be slippery, since there is no sunlight. Amazing stuff, and probably the most challenging stretch of gravel/dirtroad in the Alps. Make sure you start real early, 'cause it takes an entire day to ride. DF goes from 5 to 9!

Sommet Bucher: A dead end trailroad going up to a 2257m high point of view. Easy to ride, the view is nice. Starts in Chateau Queyras, take the bridge across the river, and take right, into a narrow gorge. DF 3.

Assieta routa di cresta, or ridgeroad: Really nice trail, not difficult, starts in Sestriere, the hardest bit is going up Col Basset, from there it never gets any harder, so no panic. Great views al along the trail, you can even see the track to Fort Jafferau. DF 5 to 6.

Sommeiller: Known from the Stella Alpina, though not many reach the summit then, since the road is most likely to be covered in snow. Some hard parts, which can make you wonder to continue, but do, since it's the highest you'll ever gonna get in the Alps on a bike. Great views along the way, the summit itself is not really special, but still, you can walk to the flagsposts, and you'll be over 3000m high. Just because it's the highest do it anyway, but it's worth more credit than that, it's a real nice trail, which leads you up to the Glacier Sommeiller. DF 6 to 8.

Fort Jafferau: Most beautiful trail in the Alps. Great views all the way up, don’t forgot to go and see Monte Pramand though, scary tunnel section which is never dry, and not so hard to ride. Highly recommended, DF 5 to 7.

Forcella Lavardet: Easy to ride dirt/gravelroad on the northside of this pass. Starts in Campolongo, than a gravelsection, than a tarmacsection with the famous hairpins going up the mountain, than agin it's gravel, and the famous "concrete tunneled bridge" up to the top. Nice and easy to handle, don't go there when there's a rainstorm, 'cause the track is right next to the river. DF 5.

Pla de Beret/Montgari/Allos d'Isil: Easy to ride trail along the river La Noguera Pallaresa. Go up to Pla de Beret, continue straight, and at the last skilifts, the trail starts. About 35Km, great views of the Pyrenees, some watercrossings but nothing to panic. DF 4.
 
Thank Hatter - some really excellent suggestions in there. We've some domestic constraints that mean we won't be able to get the far south this trip but I'll bank them for next time.

TBH there is so much to go at here that actually getting out and following your nose, with a good e-map like IGN Rando (French equivalent of OS maps) is a good option. We've only had one encounter with a slightly grumpy woman (the folded arms walk towards ...) but a cheery 'Bonjour' and wave and don't stop seemed to work ok. Apart form yesterday's run along the Rte du Cormet d'Arêches, which was pretty busy, we've not seen another bike or vehicle on the off-road parts.

Beginning to realise how old my knees are now though ...
 
Maybe that is a tiny warning to people who ride off-road on their own, particularly in the wild, where you don’t see too many people, let alone other motorbikes. Don’t bugger your knee, by (for example) ripping your cartilage, it is bloody painful and then very difficult to help yourself…. and try not to break a limb.

Beginning to realise how old my knees are now though ...
 
Maybe that is a tiny warning to people who ride off-road on their own, particularly in the wild, where you don’t see too many people, let alone other motorbikes. Don’t bugger your knee, by (for example) ripping your cartilage, it is bloody painful and then very difficult to help yourself…. and try not to break a limb.

Good advice from a fellow sufferer. Even turning these bikes around on a gravel track is tricky, I wouldn’t want to do it alone.
 
Ha, by mistake I once took a short cut up a street (or what I thought was a street) in the Vosges on my Honda Blackbird.

As I rode up, I saw that it petered out into a near vertical footpath, with drops into fields. Like an idiot, I thought, that’ll be OK….. until, on something like the north face of K2, the footpath ended. I was completely stuck but had to turn the bike around on a path that was narrower than the Blackbird is long. I was nearly crying when, it got stuck across the width of the path, at right angles.

I think it took me half an hour to turn around, unable, due to the angle, to even put the side stand down to rest. I was crapping myself, that the heavy bike would topple with me under it. How it never did, I have no idea.
 


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