Val Thorens-Orelle Road

The Ultimate Guide to Traveling the Wild Road from Val Thorens to Orelle

Located in the Savoie department of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, the high mountain road from Val Thorens to Orelle is one of the highest roads of Europe, topping out at 3.007m (9,865ft) above the sea level.

How long is the road from Val Thorens to Orelle?

The road is totally unpaved. It’s a ski-lift service road running north-south from Val Thorens ski resort, the highest ski resort in Europe at 2.300m altitude above the sea level, to the village of Orelle. The infamous road is 28.3 km (17.58 miles) long and features 55 hairpin turns. The hairpins are signed and numbered. It’s a brutally tough drive with panoramic views of a thousand summits of France, Switzerland and Italy.

Is the road from Val Thorens to Orelle open?

Set high in the Massif de la Vanoise range, the road is impassable in winters -usually drivable only in July and August-. It is one of the highest mountain roads drivable in Europe. The road climbs up:
Col de la Montée du Fond, at 3.007m (9,865ft) above the sea level
Col de Rosael, at 2.993m (9,819ft) above the sea level
Col de Caron, at 2.996m (9,829ft) above the sea level

Is the road from Val Thorens to Orelle challenging?

Tucked away on the southeastern part of the country, within the Tarentaise Valley, the road is for 4x4 vehicles only. The route roughly follows the line of the chairlift, passing under it now and then. The average gradient is 10.4% but it hits about 17-18% through some of the corners. The road has no protections, painted lines or security guardrails, and features spectacular cliffs and precipices.
Road suggested by: Pim van Dongen
More pictures: http://wonderfulldays.nl/eurotrip/index.html