Accueil » Plateau d’Emparis : 73km +2880m

Plateau d’Emparis : 73km +2880m

by Kim Gintrand

Alpes d'Huez



Elevation gain




Best seasons

spring & summer



Physical & technical

Starting from Alpe d’Huez, embark on a unique adventure following this gravel route that will unveil the mountain from a new perspective. It’s almost like hiking, but with your gravel bike, you can explore much more in one day!

Plateau d'Emparis gravel Isère les deux alpes paysage

To reach the first gravel section, you will have to take the descent from Alpe d’Huez. A few turns below, you’ll turn onto the first trails. With not much elevation gain and already immersed in the heart of the mountains, you’ll follow a road parallel to the famous Col de Sarenne. However, be prepared to climb the last 200 meters of positive elevation on the road. Then, you’ll begin the second part of the route on the road to reach the start of the ascent to Plateau d’Emparis from Mizoën. These roads are relatively quiet, but stay vigilant nonetheless.

Plateau d'Emparis gravel Isère les deux alpes paysage

Regarding water points, you will find them in every small village you pass through. However, right at the beginning of the gravel climb, there’s a fountain available. I recommend filling your water bottles at this location as there won’t be any other water points until the end of the ascent. Be prepared for this breathtaking adventure in the heart of the mountains.

Plateau d'Emparis gravel Isère les deux alpes paysage

The gravel ascent covers approximately 15 kilometers, with some sections reaching gradients of up to 19%. However, I didn’t have to dismount at any point and managed to conquer the entire climb on my bike. If you are sensitive to vertigo, I recommend staying attentive and favoring the left side of the trail, as some passages can be impressive.

The ascent is made on beautiful switchbacks that reveal their full splendor once climbed. Take the time to take a few breaks and appreciate the magnificent views that surround you.

Once you have reached the famous Plateau d’Emparis, you will start the descent towards Besse. Be cautious during the descent as there are many small rocks and the slope is quite steep. Also, watch out for the ditches along the path, as they are present throughout the descent.

After reaching Besse, you will start the last part of the route, and it is no easy task. The climb of Col de Sarenne awaits you! It is definitely not a piece of cake at the end of the ride! However, it is one of the most beautiful mountain climb I have had the opportunity to ride, despite its difficulty. The slopes are steep at times, and it is also exposed to the sun. Choose riding time wisely to avoid the hottest hours of the day!

This route is one of my favorites of the year. The views are breathtaking, the elevation gain is significant but easily manageable, and you are completely disconnected from the world, experiencing a one-day adventure. I highly recommend it +++

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