Col de l'Iseran is the King of the Alps

Col de l'Iseran is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.764m (9,068ft) above the sea level, located in the Savoie department of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in France.

Col de l'Iseran

Where is Col de l'Iseran?

Tucked away on the south-eastern part of the country, the summit is part of the Graian Alps, and it is situated near the border with Italy. The climb is included in the touristic Route des Grandes Alpes. It links the valley of the Isère and the valley of the Arc River between Val-d'Isère in the north and Bonneval-sur-Arc in the south.

Is Col de l'Iseran worth it?

Located within the Vanoise National Park, the pass is a bucket-list-essential. Known as the King of the Alps and the holy grail for many motorcycle and bike tourers, the pass is wild, intimidating, lonely and epic. The landscape is desolate, rough and untouched. It will leave you breathless and you must do it.

Can you drive through Col de l'Iseran?

The road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called D902 road. The road runs north-south from Val d’Isère to Bonneval-sur-Arc. At the top there’s a sign saying a height of 2.770m but it’s wrong. Maps report 2.764m. It's one of the highest roads of Europe.

Is Col de l'Iseran open?

It's one of the highest roads of the country. This road is open only in summers, from May or June to October. On certain summer days, the road from Val d'Isère to the Col d'Iseran is closed to all traffic except cyclists. 

When was the road to Col de l'Iseran built?

The route has existed for hundreds of years as mule pass and became an official road following a presidential decree in the 1920’s, with 600 workers toiling to make the road which was opened in 1937 by the French president, Albert Lubrun. The col road was constructed between the First and Second World Wars and took an astounding 34 years to complete, finally joining the Maurienne and Iseran valley systems for the first time in history.

Is the road to Col de l'Iseran difficult?

At this elevation, the road is not easy. The north side of the pass road includes several galleries and tunnels, with a maximum grade of 12 percent. Since 1947 the pass has been featured many times on the Tour de France race. On both sides of the pass, milestones mark the distance to the summit, the current altitude, and the slope.