Col de la Moutiere

Col de la Moutiere is a road with intimidating drop offs

Col de la Moutière is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.450m (8,038ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary of Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. The road is extremely narrow and the drop offs are a bit intimidating. There’s only enough room for one car to go up. There is no turning around if you change your mind.

Set high in the French Alps, the road to the summit is entirely paved – if bumpy. It’s very narrow. There are precipices at all times on one side or the other or both sides. Be aware that this drive is not for timid drivers or those afraid of heights. This quiet road enters a different valley, climbing through sparse woods before opening up above the tree line to great views — dominated by Cime de la Bonette far above.

The road to the summit is a France’s hidden gem. Starting at Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage, the road is 11.1 km (6.89 miles) long. It’s a very steep drive, hitting a 15% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The elevation gain is 952 meters. The average gradient is 8.57%. There is a long series of hairpins in the somewhat wooden landscape, but there are also fine views. The road is often at around 14% until one eventually reaches a plateau, which is also the place the few cars go to when going up here.

Tucked away in the Mercantour National Park, this road is usually impassable from late October through late June or early July. The summit hosts a military fortification, known as Ouvrage La Moutière (Fortification du Col de la Moutière), of the Maginot Line's Alpine extension. North of the pass there’s a short gravel road leading to Faux Col de Restefond, at 2.656m (8,713ft) above the sea level, within the ravin de Restefond. The track is 3.2km long. It’s gravel. 4x4 vehicles with experienced drivers only. This section is very prone to mountain slides. You will see the Cime de la Bonette on the last part to the pass up to the right above you.

 

 

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