Road trip guide: Conquering the Col de Valbelle
Col de Valbelle is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.372m (7,782ft) above the sea level, located in the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France.
The road to the summit is totally unpaved and bumpy with some patched spots. 4x4 vehicles only. Steep, narrow, full of hairpins, the route is partly washed and bumpy. It’s is seasonally impassable during winter. It is not generally snow-free until late June or even July in some years. The trail is mostly used to provide access to maintain ski lifts and lodges. It is rather exposed to the winds. The road is very steep, hitting a 10.5% through some of the ramps.
Starting from Vars, the road to reach the summit is 13.9 km (8.63 miles) long. Over this distance, the road climbs up to Clot de l’Alpe, Col de Chérine, Col de Valbelle, Col du Vallon and Col de Saluces. The drive offers a fantastic view over the Queyras, the Embrunais and the Pelvoux Massif.