Travel guide to the top of Col des Glières
Col des Glières is a mountain pass at an elevation of 1.440m (4,724ft) above the sea level, located in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. There is a 2 km gravel stretch.
The road over the pass is mostly asphalted, with some unpaved parts near the summit. It’s called D55 and is a challenging climb that winds its way up the side of a cliff, with lots of great hairpins. There is +2 km gravel stretch that then links to the paved route from the even steeper Petit-Grand-Bornand side.
Do not travel this pass in severe weather conditions. The road is quite steep in places and has superb views of waterfalls and various Alps. The pass is located into the very heart of the Glières Mountains. At the summit there’s a monument to the Resistance, called Monument National de la Résistance. During WW2, this plateau was generally inaccessible in winter and the Maquis (French resistance) used it as a base and for weapon drops from the English. It was the site of one of the biggest battles between the Nazis and the Maquis, with 149 of the French resistance killed in March 1944. There are 2 routes to reach the summit. Starting from Nant Sec, the ascent is 9.4 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 672 meters. The average percentage is 7.1 %. And starting from Le Petit Bornand, the ascent is 7.9 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 713 meters. The average percentage is 9 %.