The narrow, bad and old road to the top of Col de Sarenne

Col de Sarenne is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.004m (6,574ft) above the sea level, located in the Isère department of the Rhône-Alpes region of France. It’s one of the most demanding roads of the country.

Col de Sarenne

Can you drive to Col de Sarenne?

Set high in the Grandes Rousses massif of the Central French Alps, the road to the summit is mostly paved, with a few unpaved sections. It’s called Route du Col de Sarenne. The quality of the road is extremely poor, especially along the sides of the road. The road is not for the faint hearted with steep drops and a few sections of unpaved road to challenge even the most experienced driver. Unprotected by guardrails, a mistake could see you falling straight down 30 metres. It is a beautiful road that although close to civilization feels really quite remote, partly due to the fact that parts of the road are a little rough and partly because it can be very quiet. It’s very narrow in parts, totally impassable for 2 average vehicles at the same time. It's closed to bigger vehicles.

How long is Col de Sarenne?

Above the famous Alpe d'Huez there are 2 climbs that can be ridden. One is Col du Poutran. The other is the Col de Sarenne. Tucked away on the southeastern part of the country, the pass is 20.9 km (12.98 miles) long, running from Mizoën to Huez. The road is pretty steep, hitting a 14.1% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

Is Col de Sarenne open?

The road is closed from the end of October to early June, and runs parallel to GR54 (French long-distance trail) for most of the way. There is a tiny parking and restaurant atop of the mountain. The pass has been used by the Tour de France race.