Options: le Semnoz, Cormet de Roselend, Col de la Madeleine

Le Semnoz (123 km, total climb 2460 m)

This route allows you to experience the redoubtable climb cycling from Annecy to the summit of the Mont Semnoz, with its extraordinary views over the lake and its surrounding mountains. We begin with a 30 km descent from La Clusaz to the lake side at Annecy, where the climb begins. After 18 km and almost 1200 m of vertical climbing we reach the summit.

We descend the south side of the mountain and then continue via the Col de Leschaux back down to the lake, where we turn right and cycle along the “Voie verte” or “Green trail” cycle path south to Saint-Ferreol. We then have the choice between the relatively easy Col du Marais or the harder – but more scenic – Col de l’Épine to bring us back to Thônes and ultimately La Clusaz.

Le Cormet de Roselend (93 km, total climb 2750 m)

The summit of the Cormet de Roselend (1968 m ), with its stupendous views over the dam and its artificial lake, is 73 km cycling from La Clusaz, via the Col des Aravis and the Col des Saisies, each of which are significant climbs in their own right. Starting in Beaufort, the climb to the Cormet de Roselend itself is 20 km long at an average grade of 6%.

While it is possible to cycle there and back in the same day from La Clusaz, this is a significant challenge for all but the most highly-trained riders. Most people will prefer to stop in Bourg St Maurice, have a good lunch in our favourite restaurant and then take the mini-bus home, making it an “A to B” ride.

Le Col de la Madeleine (116 km, total climb 2630 m)

The summit of the Col de la Madeleine is 97.5 km cycling from La Clusaz, via the Col du Marais and the Col de Tamié. It would be a big challenge to go there and back the same day, so we suggest making it an “A to B” ride and descending after the col for lunch in La Chambre on the other side of the Madeleine. The mini-bus will then pick us up for the ride home.

The climb from the bottom of the valley is 24.5 km, at an average grade of 6.3%. This side of the Madeleine is usually considered a little easier than the other side, because there are a couple of flatter sections, roughly at one third and two-thirds distance. Climbing from the southern side, on the other hand, is unrelenting!