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3 Day Mountain Biking Itinerary

Level 1 - Beginner (Suitable for all of the family and any skill/fitness level)

Day 1

Giffre river loop – This is a short and very enjoyable bike ride along the shores of the Giffre river.   Starting in Samoens you will ride West on easy going single and double track trails which meander through enchanted woodland along the river bank. You will arrive in the neighbouring village of Morillon where you can enjoy a swim in the very fresh, Lac Bleu. After crossing the river in Morillon you return in a Easterly direction back towards Samoens on more meandering trails through the woodland. For those who are not that confident riding on roots and rocks there is an option to return by road. This trail is not very technical, has very little climbing and is mainly on flat ground. In Morillon there is a mini pump track/bike skills course where you can improve your skills and learn to ride berms etc.

Length: 8kms / Time: 1.5 to 3 hours / Descent 54m / Height gain 54m / Difficulty 1/5

Day 2

Sixt Fer a Cheval – This bike ride leads away to the East from Samoens, again along the banks of the River Giffre. Due to multiple trail options you can choose whether to ride on slightly more technical ‘rooty’ terrain, or stick to the easier going gravel tracks. Once you reach the hamlet of Le Perret, the trail crosses the river and heads through a field before arriving at the spectacular Gorge des Tines... a must see! From the gorge you will descend towards the quaint village of Sixt Fer a Cheval. Enjoy a coffee in the riverside cafe and take a look around this historic village before jumping on the bike and heading back along the same track. For the fitter/more skilled riders there are variations of this trail which involve more climbing/descending. For less confident riders there are lots of opportunities to join the road at multiple points throughout the trail.

Length: 11kms / Time: 1.5 to 3 hours / Descent: 59m Height gain: 59m (undulating) Difficulty 2/5

Day 3

Cirque du Fer a Cheval loop –   This trail begins in the Cirque du Fer a Cheval, a beautiful natural amphitheatre at the end of the Vallee du Giffre. First you need to drive the 12kms up the valley to the Cirque car park. From there you will embark on an amazing ride which takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in the Alps. The trail heads up hill towards the border of Switzerland. Again, multiple trail choice means you can decide whether to stay on easy gravel double tracks or challenge yourself on more technical single track. During peak months you can make a stop at the Buvette in the Cirque to get some lunch and soak unbelievable surroundings! The trail crosses over the Giffre river not far from its source... le Bout du Monde. After crossing the bridge you start to come back downhill through the national park... stop at the little lake to cool your feet down before returning to the car park. Some riders may need to dismount and push their bikes over some more technical terrain for a short section of trail on the West side of the river.

Length: 6kms / Time: 1.5 to 3 hours / Descent: 102m Height gain: 102m / Difficulty 2/5

Level 2 Intermediate (Suitable for all riders with some MTB experience and an above average fitness level)

Day 1

La Bourgeoise – This is a fantastic ride with some technical sections and exposed trail. There is an option of getting an uplift to the Lac de Joux Plane which reduces the climb to just under 100m, for fitter riders you can start the climb from Samoens (over 1000m vertical)... either by road or by following the single track up the mountain. Once at the top of La Bourgeoise (1770m) you can enjoy   one of the most spectacular views of the Samoens valley before embarking on an epic single track descent... one of the best you will ever ride. There are multiple trail choices down but the best one tacks down the side of the mountain and then into the back of Les Suets forest... the trail in this   forest has some exposed and narrow sections of trail so you need to be a confident rider (or walk the difficult sections). The descent ends right in the centre of Samoens where you can reward yourself with a beer in Bar Le Savoie!

Length: 14kms (7kms if only doing descent) / Time: 3.5 – 5 hours (with climb) / Descent 1050m / Height gain 1050m / Difficulty 3.5/5

Day 2

Downhill day in Samoens – Samoens is one of the best areas in the Alps for natural, flowing downhill trails. You won’t find the braking bumps and badly worn tracks of neighbouring Morzine here. As well as the official way marked downhill tracks there are a few secret trails built by the locals which are not to be missed... ask for details of how to find these! The trails are assisted by the Grand Massif   Express lift during July and August which provides an 880m descent through some amazing woodland. 2 days a week, the Chariande Express is open which gives you access to 1398m of decent! The Chariande lift also gives easy access to the Paraments forest trail, one of the best in the area! You can also access Morillon and Les Carroz easily via this lift. For those keen to pedal, there are some brilliant enduro loops accessible from the top of the Grand Massif Express lift.

Downhill trail difficulty...   ranging from 2/5 to 5/5. Samoens can be steep and technical but there are some easy going trails too.

Day 3

Cirque des Fonts loop – You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness for this ride... there is quite a big climb (some pushing the bike) which is rewarded with an amazing single track descent. First you need to drive to Le Lignon (above Sixt Fer a Cheval). The trail leads up hill and traverses under the   impressive Pointe de Sales before reaching a plateau, after which you descend to the Refuge Alfred Wills where you can enjoy lunch and recharge the batteries before the final climb to le Petit Col d’Anterne (2038m). From there you charge down a long exhilarating single track decent, against a   stunning backdrop of the Cirque. The track meanders its way down the side of the mountain, maintaining height by not dropping too steeply. Then you arrive at the Chalets des Fonts... a charming settlement in the wilds of the Alps. Follow the valley back down on the fire road before turning left on to the last little section of single track before reaching the road and returning to the car.

Length: 10kms / Time: 4 to 6 hours / Descent: 1042m / Height gain: 1042m / Difficulty 3.5/5

 

Level 3 - Advanced (Suitable for riders with lots of MTB experience a very good fitness level)

Day 1

Col de Joux Plane to Verchaix   – A great technical flowing single track. There is an option of getting an uplift to the Lac de Joux Plane which cuts out any climbing, for fitter riders you can start the climb   from Samoens (over 900m vertical)... either by road or by following the single track up the mountain. From the Lac de Joux Plane you descend through farmland before reaching the trail in the woods. Rooty, rocky and technical with natural berms... this trail gets the adrenaline going. After a stream   crossing you get some rest bite on a flowing double track before more steep single track. Once you reach Verchaix there is a nice XC trail which traverses just above the valley floor and back to Samoens.

Length: 14kms (8kms if only doing descent) / Time: 3.5 – 5 hours (with climb) / Descent 971m / Height gain 971m / Difficulty 4/5

Day 2

Downhill day in Samoens and Les Carroz –   Samoens is one of the best areas in the Alps for natural, flowing downhill trails. As well as the official way marked downhill tracks there are a few secret trails built by the locals which are not to be missed (Chicken Run in particular)... ask for details of how to find these! The trails are assisted by the Grand Massif Express lift during July and August which provides an 880m descent through some amazing woodland. 2 days a week, the Chariande Express is open which gives you access to 1398m of decent! The Chariande lift also gives easy access to the Paraments forest trail, one of   the best in the area! You can also access Morillon and Les Carroz easily via   this lift. Les Carroz has more purpose built trails with jumps, berms and   North shore thorough the woodland.

Downhill trail difficulty...   ranging from 2/5 to 5/5

Day 3

Tour du Grand Massif –   Starting in Samoëns, take the lift up to Samoëns 1600 then enjoy a mix of descent and pedalling as you traverse across to the top of Morillon. From here a brilliant descent into Les Carroz, where you’ll board the telecabine ‘la Kédeuze’.  Once at the top, make your way to Lac de L’Airon, the perfect place for a rest-stop. Then after around another 1 hour of pedalling progressively uphill but through some beautiful scenery, you arrive in Flaine. The DMC takes you to les Grand Platières (2480) where you can take in the unbelievable view of Mont Blanc and lunar landscape of Flaine, before saddling up for one of the best back country descents ever! Dropping 1701m over 12kms, there are 2 trail choices, the best being via Cascade des Sales – ATTENTION, it is techy! This trail will bring you out in SixtFer a Cheval; from there it’s a 30 minute pedal back along the river to Samoens. Alternatively, follow the start of what is the Cascade ski run in winter, but stay high to descend directly into the Combe de Gers and Refuge du Lac de Gers at the bottom. Grab a quick coffee (or a beer) before heading back to Samoëns via Bemont.

Time: 5 to 8 hours / Difficulty   4/5