Col de la Cayolle

Col de la Cayolle, a balcony road in France

Col de la Cayolle, at an elevation of 2.326m (7,631ft) above the sea level, is a high mountain pass located in the French Alps at the border between the departments of Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. It’s one of the French balcony roads.

The asphalted road over the Col de la Cayolle, located in the Parc National du Mercantour, links the municipalities of Barcelonnette in the Ubaye Valley and Saint-Martin-d'Entraunes. The road leads to the red-rock Gorges de Daluis. The road over the pass is closed from October to June-July. The pass is traversed by the scenic Route des Grandes Alpes.
The part of the road running through Gorges du Bachelard, is one of the most famous balcony roads in the country. A balcony road is a hair-raising lane cut into the sides of sheer cliffs. It’s a kind of road not for those who fear heights. There is little room for error on these roads. It’s normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos, imagine what it must have been like before the barriers. It runs as a single track road along the mountainside for some distance with nowhere to pass another vehicle. Here one says a prayer that nobody is coming towards you until the road widens some kilometres further.

To get this pass there are 3 possible routes. From Barcelonnette, the ascent is 29.15 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.190 meters and the average percentage is 4.1 %. From Jausiers, the ascent is 34 km long and the elevation gain is 1.105 meters with an average percentage of 3.3 %. And from Saint Martin d' Entraunes, the ascent is 20.5 km long, with an elevation gain of 1.291meters and an average percentage of 6.3 %.