Col du Lautaret is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.058m (6,752ft) above the sea level, located in in the department of Hautes-Alpes, in the Dauphiné Alps, a mountain range in southeastern France. The pass is traversed by the scenic Route des Grandes Alpes.
The pass is traversed by the D1091 road, but it can be climbed by the spectacular and narrow D902, beyond the Galibier. Both roads are asphalted. Col du Lautaret marks the boundary between the valleys of the Romanche and the Guisane. The western approach of the Col du Lautaret contains some tunnels up to 800metres in length.
The pass has been climbed several times in Tour de France, and it’s open all year round. It provides good views of La Meije to the south-west and the Grand Galibier to the north. Often ignored because of its location below the Col du Galibier, the Col du Lautaret is still a huge climb.
There are 3 possible routes to reach the summit. Starting from Briançon, by D1091, the the ascent is 27.75 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 853 meters. The average percentage is 3.1 %. Starting from Le Clapier, by the D1091, the ascent is 34.16 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.312 meters. The average percentage is 3.8 %. And starting from Saint Martin d’Arc, by the D902, the ascent is 41.8 km long. This side includes climbing the Galibier before the Lautaret.
The summit provides good views of La Meije to the south-west, the Grand Galibier to the north and over several summits of the Massif des Ecrins. It is France’s highest mountain pass open to traffic year-round. It has been a frequented passage since Roman times. The road to the summit was started in 1880 and completed by the blasting of a tunnel through to the summit in 1891. At the top of the Lautaret you will also find a choice of places to eat or grab a drink and a rest.