Col de l'Echelle is the lowest mountain pass between France and Italy
Col de l'Échelle is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.762m (5,781ft) above the sea level located in the Hautes-Alpes department, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France.
Is Col de l'Échelle paved?
Set high in the French Alps, near the Italian border, the road to the summit, also known as Colle della Scala, is totally paved. It’s called D1T. It is said to be the lowest mountain pass between France and Italy. This pass and the slightly higher Le Mauvais Pass (1.779m/5,836ft above the sea level) are only 2.2 km apart on each side of the flat pass stretch.
How long is Col de l'Échelle?
Tucked away on the southeastern part of the country, the pass is 9.1 km (5.65 miles) long, running from Névache to the Italian border) on the way to Bardonecchia (in the Metropolitan City of Turin, in the Piedmont region of Italy). The road is quite nice at the pass height and the views from the higher section on the Italian side are very good. It climbs through woods and in short time reaches the pass. There are no houses along this road and only an abandoned custom house at the top. The road is better on the Italian side, but two unlit tunnels near the top require care. The road to the summit is steep, hitting a maximum gradient of 12.1% through some of the ramps. It gets a decent amount of traffic in summer. Atop is a small parking lot.