Grande Alpine Traverse - Bikepacking the Alps MTB

Alps Divide - Bikepacking Off-Route the length of the Alps

Alps Divide is a mixed-terrain bikepacking route, weaving along the Western Alps, from the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Geneva / Lac Léman, crossing back and forth along the national borders of France, Italy and Switzerland.

We spent three years piecing together a 1000km journey, that showcases many of the amazing diverse landscapes the Alps has to offer, whilst taking you on paths less travelled. Spectacular and remote scenery filled with high mountain passes, alpine pastures, turquoise lakes, and historic military gravel roads. To show you beautiful parts of the Alps that you might have not been to before.

The route includes a mix of gravel tracks, quiet paved lanes and a little single-track. There are a few sections of hike-a-bike, but be rest assured that they are well worth the effort for the views and to get to hidden quiet valleys. Nothing has been included just for the sake of it or to make the route harder. However, we have included several alternative route options for those looking to avoid these sections where possible.

The route goes South to North, starting in the picturesque town of Menton on the Côte d’Azure and finishing on the shores of Lake Geneva / Lac Léman in the small town of Thonon les Bains. It is possible to reverse the route, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to minimise walking with your bike. Hike-a-bike would be greatly increased going north to south. When we created the route we were mindful of making ascents as ridable as possible and descents as fun as possible. Turn the route around and you change that on a good number of the climbs. So north to south is doable, but less optimal.

You can find out more on the dedicated Alps Divide website, including advice on travel and logistics.

The route has been divided into 5 sections to be more navigation-device friendly than one large file would be. The sections have not been designed to be ridden as stages. The start and end points of the sections are just convenient places to break the route roughly into 200km chunks.

You can ride this route on a hardtail mountain bike or a gravel bike. Whether you choose to have front suspension or no suspension, is completely down to how much comfort you need, your bike handling skills and what bike you have available to you. We would recommend very low gearing, definitely less than 1:1, as the climbing is very steep in places and the climbs are long! We also recommend tyres that are at least 50mm / 2.0” wide.

In addition to the bikepacking route, which you can tour at a time that suits you, we also have the Alps Divide ULTRA and RALLY. See alpsdivide.com