Cross country mountain biking is perhaps the most popular version of mountain biking, and it is also the least extreme. For those looking to gain altitude while enjoying the peace and quiet of the mountains, and then enjoy a fun single track or 4x4 road descent, then this is the sport for you. Options also include the ability to just enjoy the descent by taking a car shuttle to the top.
Enduro mountain biking is an incredible mix of downhill and cross country, in an all-mountain environment. This type of riding can be more adventurous and backcountry than the two other disciplines. An enduro ride often includes ascending on 4x4 roads, which leads to a steeper trail that requires pushing or carrying your bike uphill. When you reach the summit of your climb, the riding varies from amazing single tracks, to steep sections with roots, technical rocky corners, and usually not many other people around. The mountain biking around La Grave usually has a combination of enduro and cross country styles on a single ride, but the majority of the trails are enduro.
Col du Galibier to Villar d’Arène (15 km, +170m, -1059m)
Technique 1/4, Endurance 2/4
A perfect entry into mountain biking, this trail is mostly an old 4x4 road with sections of hiking trail. It is a spectacular descent of 1059m, with only 170m of ascent. Come experience this amazing ride off one of the most iconic mountain passes in the Alps while facing the glaciers of La Meije.
Grand Tour of the Hamlets of La Grave (30 km, +1109m, -1109m)
Technique 3/4, Endurance 3/4
A scenic loop for intermediate riders that tours La Grave and its neighboring hamlets: Villar d’Arène, Pied du Col, Les Cours, Les Hières, Ventelon, Les Clots, Le Chazelet, Les Terrasses, and finishing back to La Grave. This route tours mostly on the south side of La Grave, providing views of the glaciers and peaks surrounding La Meije.
Tour of Plateau d’Emparis (27 km, +922, -922)
Technique 3/4, Endurance 3/4
Perhaps one of my favorite tours here in La Grave, the views of the glaciers across the valley from the Plateau d’Emparis are incredible. Starting from the village of Chazelet, we cruise up the 4x4 road into the vallon de la Buffe. Once at the back of the valley, we make our way up to the Plateau with a mix of riding and pushing our bikes. The initial trail on the upper plateau is an incredible single track. As we loop around, the views of the opposite side of the valley start to come into view. The last descent is a fun, technical enduro track with tight corners to work around, packed dirt, roots, and alpine rocks.
1/4 : Very Easy. Typically a 4x4 road with maybe a few sections of easy hiking trail.
2/4 : Easy. There may be some difficulties in the trail, but they are few and far between.
3/4 : Difficult. There will be numerous technical sections, some of which could be engaging due to duration, steepness, or exposure.
4/4 : Very Difficult. Reserved for experts only.
1/4 : Beginner fitness. Ride is usually about 10 km, and has minimal climbing.
2/4 : Moderate fitness. Ride is usually over 10 km, has minimal climbing, and sometimes a longer descent.
3/4 : Advanced fitness. Ride is usually over 20 km, and more than 800 meters of climbing and descending.
4/4 : Expert fitness. Ride is usually over 30 km, and more than 1500 meters of climbing and descending.