Why you should go there: The amount of great natural trails that are accessible with the public shuttle are amazing. Additionally, the bike park Les Saisies has a few very good trails that are worth a few hours of travel.
As a starting point, you can either base yourself in Albertville or one of the mountain towns higher up. Even though Albertville has hosted the winter Olympics, it is quite small and not very picturesque. There is free a bus leaving several times a day from Albertville to Beaufort where you can change to other bus lines as well. If you want to enjoy a long run at the end of the day, it can make sense to base yourself down in Albertville. Stay higher up for the rustic mountain feeling. Most towns have a good bakery (well, we are in France) and a few decent restaurants.
Who is it for: If love to maximise your downhill meters and you are a trained and technically fit rider, this is your location. In order to have fun, your bike should be equiped with decent brakes as you will need them almost permanently.
Who should avoid it: Beginners and riders with less technical abilities will have very few options here. Apart from a few runs in the bikepark, there is hardly anything that will make you happy. Additionally, if you look for flow trails and love to pedal, we would suggest to look elsewhere.
The are mainly three different types of trails in the region:
Bikepark in Les Saisies: The bike park has several lifts and some great descents in varying difficulty levels. There is even a jump trail with some larger gaps, step-ups and step-downs.
Shorter descents in the valley: There are some great descents from Les Saisies (la Croix de la Coste) to the Beaufort valley. Additionally, we would also recommend the runs from Col du Pré to Beaufort. They are all between 700 and 1100 meters of descent. With Up’N Down Shuttle you can cover most of them in one day (highly recommended).
Long descents to the valley floor (Albertville): There are two great long routes all the way down to Albertville: La Dev’Albertville and La Toutafond. They are both epic, long descents and take several hours.
For the latter two, you can either pedal yourself (not recommended as most uphills are shared with cars on busy roads), use the public bus with bike trailer (see below), private shuttles (see below) and cable cars. If you use the public bus, make sure to check the schedule and arrive early to get a spot on the bus. The cable cars outside of the bike park only run on certain days of the week which makes it harder to plan your tours. Especially it is hard to understand why certain lifts do not run on weekends.
Guides, Shuttles and Uplifts
- Free Shuttle: Public bus with trailer. Amazing service of the region. Sometimes it´s hard to combine the different lines and no guarantee that you get a spot.
- Up N’Down Private shuttle with single uplifts or daily offers. Also offers guided tours with some “secret trails”. Highly recommended
- Cable cars in Arêches: Including opening times – Start of Toutafond
- Les Saisies Bikepark: Incl. opening hours. Access to start of many trails outside the park as well
- Touring Map: Available for 3 Euros at the tourism office
Most shops in the area are general sports stores that carry the most common spare parts and rent bikes/ebikes. If you have a bigger issue with your bike, you will have to drive a bit further.
- Les Saisies Bikepark: Incl. opening hours
Food & Drinks
As the area we are covering is large it is quite difficult to point out the best places. Here are a few that we liked:
Le Patio (Albertville): Good local and vegetarian options. Reserve up front. $$
La Républic, (Alberville): Local dishes and meats. Reservation recommended $$
Yeti Bar (Les Saisies): Good, quick burgers – giant sizes available. $
Red Bus (Beaufort): Hip Place at the main square in Beaufort. Hard to miss. Bring enough time for your stop. $$
There are a few campsites in the region, choose carefully as the drive through the valleys might take a while…
More than Biking
The content of this website is just an opinion of a few individuals. It is not based on scientific research and some facts may have changed since the last visit. Feel free to leave a comment with suggestions for anything we have covered on this website.
You might be riding on shared trails! Yield to other trail users and animals! Control your speed, leave no traces and don’t shortcut corners! Thank you!
Last on-site research: 2022
entries with this icon have been recently tested by the author