Guidebook

Gravel Grinding Chamonix's Quad-Shredding Steeps

Chamonix offers gravel riders several high passes to choose from... but they aren't easy!

Greg Heil

Description

There’s a reason that gravel biking as a dedicated cycling discipline rose to prominence in Kansas: the heartland of the United States is covered in thousands and thousands of miles of smooth gravel roads with mellow grades. What better way to explore these wide-open spaces than on a drop-bar road bike with slightly wider, more aggressive tires?

From its humble origins in Kansas, gravel biking as a dedicated discipline and breed of bicycle has spread around the world. Here in Chamonix, you can indeed tackle stunningly-beautiful dirt roads on your gravel rig… but be forewarned that almost all of the roads here are steep. These roads were not designed with cyclists in mind whatsoever. Whenever there’s elevation to be gained, the roads tend to rocket straight up the mountainside.

In order to tackle these steep roads, mount up the easiest gearing that you possibly can. In fact, if you have the option to swap a mountain bike drivetrain onto your gravel bike, do it. Your knees will thank you later!

While most of the routes in this guidebook consist of the afore-mentioned quad-shredding steeps, there is one mellow gravel route detailed here that runs up and down the floor of the Chamonix Valley. So if you do enjoy gravel cycling but don’t enjoy brutalizing your body, opt for the Chamonix Valley Gravel Ride.

Posettes Ridge
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Posettes Ridge

Chamonix
21.5 km
969 m
969 m
A scenic tour at the northern end of the Chamonix Valley.
Moderate
Private
Prarion Gravel Lollipop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Prarion Gravel Lollipop

Chamonix
30.6 km
1,801 m
1,801 m
An ambitious lollipop route that crosses le Prarion ridge twice.
Severe
Private
Buvette des Mottets
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Buvette des Mottets

Chamonix
9.5 km
596 m
585 m
A quick hit of gravel pedaling directly from downtown Chamonix.
Difficult
Private
Grands Montets Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Grands Montets Loop

Chamonix
11.6 km
1,087 m
1,087 m
A great loop through terrain which is busy in winter but pleasantly quiet in summer.
Moderate
Private
Chamonix Valley Gravel Ride
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Chamonix Valley Gravel Ride

Chamonix
32.5 km
751 m
749 m
A mellow ride up and down the Chamonix valley that's mostly on gravel.
Moderate
Private