Wow! Awesome trails, loose rocks, steep, hairpins and great views.
Guillestre and Queyras have everything a mountain biker needs to be happy!
- 1 Mountainbike routes
- 2 Mountain biking in Guillestre and Queyras
- 3 The village
- 4 Other activities
- 5 Hotels and apartments
- 6 Campings
- 7 Mountainbike trails
- 8 GPS & Mtb trailmap
- 9 All day epics
- 10 my favorite up and downs:
- 11 Books
- 12 Bike shops/ guiding/ Mountainbike rental
- 13 Tips and tricks
- 14 Other useful links
- 15 Nearby
- 16 Similar
There are some shorter and easy rides for beginners, if you want to just ride a long distance without any technical challenges, then you should bring your road bike.
But if you want never ending technical mountain bike trails then Guillestre and Queyras is the place for you.
This riding area is split in two parts, Guillestre is in the main valley between Briancon and Embrun. And is therefore slightly more busy. During your mountain bike rides you will encounter some small villages, farmhouses and hikers.
Whereas the national parc Queyras is more secluded, without any main through roads. When you leave the villages on the valley floor, you might find an occasional shepherds hut, but not much more.
Both sectors have a good mix of “quick up on forest road, down on single trail” and all day epic loops.
There are enough trails to not get bored for at least two weeks, so you can have a nice long holiday here.
Mountain biking in Guillestre and Queyras
- Long technical descents
- A lot of signposted routes and a good working websites to download gpx tracks (see below).
- All (tourist) facilities you might require, combined with the remoteness and stunning nature of the national parc.
- Enough entertainment for non-cycling family members.
- Not a lot of options for inexperienced mountain bikers.
Guillestre is named after the river Guill, which flows from the Queyras into the Durance in the main valley. This is not just a simple market town, because the control of the valley has always been of strategic importance. There is a lot of history, with some buildings dating back to the 11th century.
The main attraction is the imposing Mont Dauphin fort, designed by Vauban and built between 1633 and 1707.
There is an open air market on Monday morning and there are two medium size supermarkets (intermarche and carrefour) just outside the village.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants to recover from your mountainbike rides.
The Queyras has a lot of history too, it is speculated that this is where Hannibal crossed the alps with his elephants in 218 BC. There is also a spectacular castle from the 13th century built on a rock island, cut out by glaciers, which is certainly worth a visit. There are eight villages in the Queyras, with smaller supermarkets. Saint-Véran is the highest village in France (2042 m)
In short if you want nature and stillness find an accommodation in the Queyras, if you’re looking for a bit more facilities and entertainment stay near Guillestre.
There are the usual mountain activities like rafting, rock climbing, via ferrata and parapenting. There are a couple of outdoor companies near the Chateau Queyras.
And there are lots of options for hikers and nature lovers.
There is a swimming pool to cool down.
Don’t miss the awesome rock formations near the Col d’Izoard.
Hotels and apartments
Just outside the centre of Guillestre there is a road called “route des campings” surprise, surprise there are four campings on this road.
All four campings are medium sized and offer sufficient shade in the warmer months. The prices for a 2 person pitch are roughly the same. I’ve listed some of the differences below.
The local swimming pool is also on this road.
- Several chalets and mobil homes for 4 to 6 persons and one big chalet for 19 persons
- natural swimming pond on the campground.
- wifi access on the entire campground payable per hour or per week.
- 2 person rental caravans
- no pool or river access on the camping.
- Chalets, mobil homes and luxury tents available for 4 to 6 persons
- a small swimming pool
- free wifi
- this campground is slightly more expensive then the others
- luxury tents and caravans for 4 to 6 persons.
- wifi payable per week
In the Queyras there are a couple of campgrounds that are bigger and in a more natural setting, but the facilities are simpler.
GPS & Mtb trailmap
You can buy the map with signposted mountainbike routes for the Guilestre and Queyras area at the tourist information centres in the centre of Guillestre and in Ville Vieille. It costs 2 Euro’s.
Routes and gpx files around Guillestre are on this site.
Routes and gpx files in the Queyras are on this site.
All day epics
No. 27 La furfande Queyras gpx 1100m of climbing and just 21 km doesn’t sound like much, does it? The climb is ok, it gets a bit steeper near the Col de Furfande, the descent is a lot of technical fun, but never just easy rolling, you have to work your way down.
No. 8 Sommet bucher gpx A steady 10% climb on forest road, then after 10 km’s of climbing, just before the top turn right. When I was there the sign was missing, there are two paths, that join after 400m., so it doesn’t matter which one you take. The next 7 km’s goes up and down (a bit more up) towards the Col Fromage. Make sure to enjoy the views of the Queyras, because once you point your mountain bike down, the trail will demand all your attention.
The trail down is fun and fast on the one condition that your comfortable riding loose rocks. The trail feels like it will never end, sadly it does.
No. 5 Les crêtes de Catinat gpx This is truly an all day epic, it starts out alright with a gentle but long climb on tarmac, later on a good forest road all the way to Lac du Lauzet, you’re almost there, but the hard work is not over yet. When your descending on a forest road, the road turns right, but you have to continue straight on. Don’t miss this!
Then there is a short hike a bike section, the trail is not always clear in this moon landscape, just follow the cairns. When you join the path coming from the Col du Garnier, the terrain becomes easier and faster, mostly on an eroded forest road. The last part is on a fun singletrack, back down to Guillestre.
There is a small enduro bikepark near Abriès in the Queyras, with 4 descending routes, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 red and 1 black. And 6 other routes where the lift doesn’t bring you all the way to the top, so you’ll have to do some pedaling.
Bikepark Vars (click for map) mostly blue and red routes that involve some pedaling, it’s more natural enduro than gnarly downhill. The routes are more spread out than in most bikeparks, so you’ll feel more like you’re in the mountains instead of a playground.
There are three multi day Mountain bike routes that go through the Guillestre and Queyras area:
1 Grande Traversée des Hautes-Alpes 350 km 17.000 m. climbing
2 Tour du Queyras 210 km 10.000 m. climbing
3 Tour du Guillestrois 85 km. 6200m. climbing
I haven’t ridden these routes, but judging from the parts where they follow the same trails that I have ridden they are not just mile munchers, but proper mountain biking. If you have ridden these routes please tell us more in the comments below and I will add your remarks to this text.
my favorite up and downs:
vtt No. 1 Les Grangettes (gpx) Climb up on tarmac and good forest road to the remote village of les Martins, it starts out with a fast descent (don’t run over the squirrels) which gradually becomes steeper with a variation of switchbacks on rocky terrain.
vtt No. 11 La combe Chauve (gpx) This route is also in the vtopo book, but in the book it climbs approximately 200m. further. The climb is on a forest road with a couple of descending sections followed by steep climbs. The first part of the trail going down is rough double track left by forestry work, which then turns into fun singletrack with plenty of hairpin turns, a couple of tight ones, but the majority are rideable for most mountain bikers.
If you aren’t tired yet you can add on route No. 10 Panacelle, which is short, but has a steep and technical descent in a ravine, you don’t want to miss.
vtt No. 21 La Crete du Penon (gpx) This route starts in Risoul, but you can also choose to start in Guillestre and do the short climb by mountain bike up to Risoul, otherwise you will have to do this climb at the end of the ride anyway.
From Risoul to Risoul 1850 the climb is on an old doubletrack with loose rocks and steep sections, you definitely have to earn your turns here.
Then there is a 5 km. long traverse through a forest where you can catch your breath and enjoy one of the pick nick spots.
Before you start the descent make sure to enjoy the view, you can see the Durance flowing 1200 m’s below you.
The trail starts with some exposed rocky sections and tight hairpins, but then opens up and becomes faster and flowing. The old hiking trail has been improved for the enduro foret blanche event, with jumps and other technical extra’s. The trail has an average gradient of -20% and the forest soil is slippery when wet.
vtt No. 18 Les Bertins(gpx) When you leave Abriès the climb immediately starts with some steep ramps, but it quickly mellows out into a relaxed pedal in the forest. There might be sheep, accompanied by some noisy but friendly dogs. When you are past the bergerie (sheep pen) you turn left and follow the GR 58 hiking trail down.
When it’s wet the top part will be a bog, but the trail quickly dries out and turns into a playful singletrack, that isn’t steep. But has a couple of rock gardens, where some might choose to walk a couple of meters or have a good look, walk back up and try again!
Near the end of the descent at altitude +/-1700 m. , you will get close to the track you rode up on, you can choose to pedal up again for 300 m. and ride down the Tirail trail No. 31 gpx, which isn’t always clearly visible due to vegetation, but is a quick fun blast.
It’s also possible to combine this route with No.24 La Queyrassine gpx. This is quite a long route for the amount of descending on singletrack, for this reason I’m not including it as one of my favorites, although the descent has some fun turns and fast steep sections.
There is also a book from vtopo hautes alpes est- 43 circuits sportifs (2007) and hautes alpes est- 43 circuits extremes with more technical routes, but it is no longer on their site, hopefully it’s still available in local shops.
Bike shops/ guiding/ Mountainbike rental
planete-vtt mountainbike and e-mtb rental and lessons located in Risoul 1850.
sport-altitude mountainbike, e-bike and road bike rental in Guillestre, Risoul 1850 and Queyras.
guil-ebike mountainbike and e-mtb rental, lessons, guiding and uplifts, based in Eygliers near Guillestre.
Tips and tricks
Bike setup: The terrain is steep so I would recommend a dropper post.
Your tires should have good grip on wet forest soil and have strong enough sidewalls for the rocky trails.
Optimal bike is anything from a playful hardtail to an enduro.
Some knee en elbow guards are recommended.