Take the train from Ventimiglia (numerous campsites and hotels) to Breil sur Roya (310 meters). The first trains are around 6am. From Breil traverse the railline direction Sospel on the D2204. After 2 hairpins take a right to the village of Granile on a narrow metalled road. This road climbs into the Maglia valley. After passing through a tunnel  the surface turns to gravel. Just before the car park there is the hairpin descent to the Canyon de la Maglia and the return to Breil by a wide path on the left bank of the river. Continue straight on. About 1km further there is a fork , the left track leads to the Authion by Mont Giagiabella but the track is steep after the Bois Noir and MTBing is banned on the trail. The track leads round the end of the Maglia valley  to arrive at the Baisse de la Colla Bassa (1350 meters). Take the left fork. The track steepens for about 1km then opens out into the upper part of the Maglia valley on a relatively flat and well surfaced trail. There is a road that leads off to the right at the Baisse de Caran . MTBs are banned from this route. Finally you reach a surfaced road, the D68, after some 1400 meters of climbing since Breil. Turn right to first visit the military installations at Plan Caval then the impressive Redoute des Trois Communes situated on a promentory at 2080 meters.
This impressive construction is usually known as the fort de l'Authion?. From here pass the blockhouses  to visit the subterranean fort de la Forca?. Descend a military road on the south-west flanc of the hill to climb to its twin fortress de la Mille Fourches?.
The descent is back to point 1793 meters, the road is one-way so be careful about on-coming traffic. Redescend to the crossroads at Baisse de la Colla Bassa... the nice road that passes by Mont Giagiabella is out of bounds to all vehicles including bikes. At the crossroads turn left to join the D40 at la Castagna and Saorge.
|Summit||Pointe des Trois Communes|
|Maps||Carte IGN TOP 25 3841 OT Vallee de la Roya|
|Equipment||Cross country bike|
|Road Access||Ventimiglia -> Breil (train service)|
|Starting Altitude||310 meters|
|Ascent||1950m / 20km|
25th June 2007
The road up never exceeds 1:12 and rolls pretty well. Setting off from Breil a little after 6am I was at l'Authion at 10am. The section above the Baisse de la Colla Bassa is in the Mercantour national park but I saw a 4x4 and a van use the trail so figured a lone mountain bike would be tolerated. The top of the trail doesn't have any warnings about mountain biking. L'Authion is smaller than I expected but sits like a Crusader castle guarding the valley de Roya. The battle to take the fortress from the Germans in April 1945 - with 1400 casualties - must have been horrific.
I returned to the valley by the trail to the south that climbs around Mont Giagiabella  to the Baisse de la Dia  and then descends through the Bois Noir. This part of the trail is relatively steep and has a poor surface and is best tackled descending. A panel at the start says that mountain biking is banned on the upper sections of this trail.
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Page last modified on June 30, 2007, at 04:53 PM