Col de la Croix Haute (1179m)

Col de la Croix Haute is a proper col by anyone’s reckoning, but I had not really thought of including it in this list until now. I’ve ridden it several times, as it comes between rhe far ends of cols de Menée and Grimone. So why have I omitted it till now?

A couple of reasons, I suppose. Firstly, I’ve only ever ridden a few kilometres either side of it, in order to get somewhere else. And that’s related to the other reason, that it’s the big col on the main road between Grenoble and Aspres-sur-Buëch, only really makes sense as a col if doing the length of it, and carries much traffic, even more so in the summer weeks. Today, an August Sunday, had no lorries, but long bursts of cars, mostly queued behind caravans and motor homes.

There are narrow bike lanes on the ascents, but nothing on the descents, so I’d not recommend it for families, or twitchy cyclists. It definitely has the feel of a main road.

That said, it does have good views in both directions, and carries history from the Second World War: you’ll recognise the narrowing of rocks near the top where the Résistance and American paras made an attack on a German convoy, with the loss of life of Louis Picard.

So, a suggestion: do ride it, for the views and history, but choose a quiet day, and limit your ride to a few kilometres either side – there are good options east or west of the road.


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