Route: D902 Bourg St. Maurice to Bonneval sur Arc (39 miles)
At 2,770m this is the highest pass in the Alps (although the Cime de la Bonette at 2,802m is the highest paved road). It forms part of the French Graian Alps, near the border with Italy, and it’s also part of the Route des Grandes Alpes. It connects the valley of the Isere and the valley of the Arc River between Val d’Isere in the north and Bonneval sur Arc in the south. The north side of the pass road is well built with a number of galleries and tunnels, with a maximum grade of 12%. On the north, are the popular ski resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isere. The pass is only accessible by road during the summer months and in the winter it falls within the Espace Killy ski area. Starting from Bourg St. Maurice, passing through Val d’Isere, the northern ramp goes up and down and through tunnels past the lake of Tignes for a distance of 31 miles before reaching the top. Over this distance, the climb is 1,955m with an average grade of 4.1%. The last part of the climb starts at Val d’Isere and is approximately 10 miles long at a consistent average of 6% climbing 895m. A spectacular road. The southern ramp from the top of the pass down to Bonneval sur Arc is 8 miles long with an average of 7.3% descending 977m with several sections in excess of 10%. We didn’t actually ride the southern ramp – once we reached the top we retraced our steps back down – but by all accounts it’s equally spectacular but not as well surfaced.