Alpe d’Huez the ultimate destination for steep hairpin turns

Mountainbike routes

Famous for the megavalanche.
Plenty of enduro options a bit spread out over different lifts.
Free shuttle from allemont to oz
Steep loose rubble. capitol of hairpin turns.

Mountain biking in Alpe d’huez

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The village

When you’re spending your holiday in the Alpe d’Huez region you have several options. You can stay up in the Alpe d’Huez ski resort, which is spaciously set up compared to some other resorts. There is a busy shopping street with bars and restaurants, but some of the residential areas can feel like a ghost town during the summer.
Another option is to stay down in the valley in or around the busy market town Bourg d’Oisans. Or maybe you would prefer the relative quietness of the villages Oz and Allemont.
From Oz-station you can take the gondola up to Alpe d’Huez. There are free shuttles from Bourg and Allemont to Oz. But there is no direct public transport link from Bourg to Alpe d’Huez.

All three options are set up for tourism in their own way.

Hotels and apartments

Booking.com

Campings

There is no real camping in Alpe d’Huez, there is however a paid aire de camping car near the airport. (about 10mins. cycling to the lift)
During the Megavalanche it is allowed to camp under the DMC lift, the rest of the year you are likely to get a knock on the door from the Gendarmerie.

Near Bourg d’Oisans are several campings like Camping Piscine and Camping La Cascade. They are close to the town and supermarket and the famous road bike climb to Alpe d’Huez. But they tend to get crowded and the road creates some noise early in the morning from rally delivery drivers.

Around the corner in Allemont are several more campings. Like Camping Le Grand Calme and Camping Le Plan that cost about half of the campings near Bourg and are in a quieter location. There is a paid swimming pool in between the campings. The free shuttle bus stops at the entrance and then takes you to Oz-station from where you take the gondola up to Alpe d’Huez.

Mountainbike trails

There are trails for all levels and interests in Alpe d’Huez, 13 downhill trails, 10 enduro trails (including the famous Megavalanche track) and 13 XC in and around the lift area. And another 28 XC and enduro routes in the surrounding valley.

Downhill trails

There is a small bike park around the DMC lift with three green and three blue flow trails, that usually get eaten up by rental bikes and then shat out in the form of never ending brake bumps. If you’re a bike park novice I think you will have more fun in nearby Les Deux Alpes. Otherwise they are a nice warm up for the red trails.

D4 Huez Coast is a flow trail, with plenty of berms, no technical challenges other then a couple of small drops you could easily go around. The lift back up doesn’t connect to the DMC lift, so you will have to pedal a bit.

The red trail D5 Rock & Wood is more worthwhile, it has a natural character, with a couple of rock gardens and north shores with reasonable sized drops. You might want to check them out before you commit.

Now this is a real trail! D3 Poutran. 500 altimeters descent in 2km’s means the average grade is -25%. Throw in some rock gardens and a load of loose rocks and you will have a lot of fun (or an uncomfortable walk down)

A PROPER DOWNHILL TRACK! black run "Poutran" Alpe d'Huez -subtitled-
Watch this video on YouTube.

There are four more downhill trails at the Sures lift in Auris en Oisans.
Two greens, one blue and one red. They are all in a similar flow style, with large berms and the blue and red have some easy jumps. The trails do not see a lot of traffic, I had them all for myself the entire morning I was there. So they are nice and smooth, no brake bumps.

Enduro trails

This is what Alpe d’Huez is famous for, steep trails with a lot of hairpin turns.
The most famous of all is of course EN1 Megavalanche. The course starts on the Pic Blanc at 3330 m. and descents all the way down to Allemont at 720 m. Yes that’s 2610 m’s of descending! The best way to experience it is during the event, a mass start, music blaring, a helicopter just above you.
But you can ride the megavalanche track at your own pace for most of the summer. It takes the fastest guys 40 mins, but feel free to stop and enjoy the views. (and let your brakes cool down)

Megavalanche 2018 - Damien OTON POV Winning run
Watch this video on YouTube.

EN8 Chemin du Lac du Verney a fun trail that takes you down from Vaujany to Allemont. It’s perfectly doable on a XC bike. Where the main road winds down the mountain this trail just goes straight down, crossing the road several times and going past peoples back gardens.

EN3 La Foret de la Sardonne shares the first part with the Mega track but then takes an easier route, that still requires technique and commitment. The last part is a horizontal traverse back to the lift, a bit of a slog on a heavy DH bike, but no problem on an enduro.

EN4 Le Boulangeard continues further down to Allemont in a similar style.

EN7 Crazy Mustang takes the long way round to get down, so if you came to this area for steepness and hairpins than you can skip this one. But if you’re looking for a more relaxed trail, this might suit your needs. 

EN9 Les Balcons 3km -700m  = -23% that’s the whole story! Steep, loose rocks, but no rock gardens or other difficulties like on the Poutran.

EN6 Foret de l’ours is a fun single trail, with no technical difficulties like rocks and roots. But the steepness might be a challenge for some, others will be screaming with joy while they drift their bikes through the steep successions of hairpins.

EN10 LA Klif This is the qualifying track for the Mega. Prepare for a lot of rocks, bedrock, loose rocks, big rocks, small rocks, it rocks! Some berms and one crappy north shore with a drop off right underneath the gondola.

XC trails around Alpe d’Huez

Although Alpe d’Huez is mainly known for the enduro trails, there are plenty of XC trails. But the valley walls are steep, so you can choose between an easy family ride on the valley floor or a more challenging ride that goes up a steep climb and then comes down on an even steeper trail.
Most of the XC trails on the bike park map are the first kind, but there is also a little book that you can pick up at the tourist info for free, called “VTT en Oisans”.
You can also download the book and GPX tracks on bike-oisans.com.
That website also has clear descriptions of the signposted trails, so I will not describe them here. But make sure you don’t miss the Malaine track(/Le chemin de Malaine) with it’s 84 switchbacks.

Books and maps

GPS

There are GPX tracks on bike-oisans.com for the signposted XC routes.
Off course all the bike park trails are clearly signposted, but since most trails are long and spread out over a larger area it might be a good idea to download the GPX tracks for safety anyway.

Mtb trailmap

mountain bike map bike park alpe d'huez carte karte kaart
Map of bike park, XC and enduro routes Alpe d’Huez (Click for a bigger version)

Bike shops/ guiding/ Mountainbike rental

There are three rental shops next to the DMC lift.
Richard3 sports
Alpe sports
Henri sports

There is enough fun to be had h=on the signposted trails, but if this isn’t enough the guys at Legenduro will shuttle and guide you to even more trails.

Tips and tricks

Other useful links

Nearby

Les Deux Alpes is so close you can see it, it’s a similar size, but the trails are more machine build and there are more options for beginners.
La Grave is the next stop in the valley, a big mountain, with big trails.
Valloire is a smaller bike park, with natural trails.

Similar

La Thuile and Breuil-Cervinia both offer long natural lines. Breuil even has it’s own version of the Megavalanche.

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