Road Cycling: Col des Aravis, Croix Fry and Marais, Savoie, France - 1,486 m. (4,876 ft)

Wed, 19 October 2022


Minimum altitude: 357 meters

Distance: 85.5 km

Slope Aspect: Various

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 1,883 meters (6,178 feet)

Vertical Descended: 1,858 meters

Rating: 5



A long loop with a lot of vertical covering 4 cols. Starting at Ugine take the cycle path toward Annecy. After about 9km of false flat you cross a bridge over "la Chaise". Take a right to a round point then continue to St Ferreol. This is the start of the Col de Marais climb, 10km long gaining 326 meters of vertical (although a descent before the col means it is more like 500 meters of V+). The road is not busy with an excellent surface. The climb is around 6%. The KoM is held by pro Kenny Elissonde who took 17 minutes.

You drop 200 meters towards Thones then take a right hand hairpin to start the altogether more serious col de la Croix Fry. 11km long with 800 meters of climbing. KoM is Romain Bardet in 30m44s ! The average slope is 7% but there are about 3km of switchbacks at more like 10%. The road has an excellent surface.

From the Croix Fry you drop 250 meters down to l'Etale where you begin the short, 300 meter climb over 5km to the Col des Aravis via the west side. If the wind is blowing from the North or East this can be a real wind tunnel at the end. There is a cafe and a souvenir shop selling the usual nonsense such as singing marmottes. The views over the Mont Blanc range are superb.

700 meters of descent on a switched back road over 16km through the chalets of la Giettaz and the town of Flumet brings you to the junction with Hery where, instead of the cold Gorges d'Arly you can climb 220 meters over 2.7km to follow a balcony road and switchback descent to Ugine. Except for the climb the south-east exposition means this option is at least in the sun, the entry price is the short climb which Warren Barguil covered in just under 8 minutes. YMMV as they say.

Trip Report

A long day in the saddle with Stein and Mike. We took it pretty leisurely under the warm autumn sun for this adventure covering 4 cols. The Col de la Croix Fry was a surprise, quite hard. The Marais excellent, never too steep and on calm, well surfaced roads. The ride over the Aravis with its stupendous views of the snow covered mountains of le Mont Blanc soon may you forget the kitsch tourist shop. The descent on wide, safe switchbacks through autumn leaves and golden woods, a delight. A final sting, the climb to Hery to avoid the cold, damp and busy gorges was made in good humour knowing we had another superb switchback descent to Ugine. 85km, not quite a metric century but a good day in the saddle.


Warm 9C at the start at Ugine but 20C in the mountains due to an inversion layer. Damp, a bit slipping in the shade. Gravel on the descent to Ugine but not too bad. Very Sunny.


Download GPX File