Chamonix Mountain Biking Guide

Welcome to some of the most challenging, beautiful, invigorating and ultimately satisfying mountain biking in the world. Hundreds of kilometres of singletrack and 4x4 track, incredible views of Europe's highest mountain and a practical and reliable infrastructure of public transportation and lift access mean that this resort, already noted for it's world-class climbing and walking, is just as good for mountain biking. A strong scene of local riders supported by some excellent bike shops in town create a great vibe around the whole valley, which every European biker must experience at least once in their riding career.

To experience this particularly unique bike paradise to it's full potential, it's worth remembering some key points.

  • Firstly – BE NICE! Chamonix is still far more popular with walkers than bikers, and the hiking community has a lot of clout, so when passing walkers on the trail, SLOW DOWN, GIVE THEM A WIDE BERTH and SAY BONJOUR!
  • Next, EQUIP YOUR BIKE WITH A BELL. The sound is way more distinctive and audible than a shout in a fullface helmet.
  • Wear BODY ARMOUR. Chamonix only has one dedicated bike-specific downhill course, the technical and steep Vallorcine descent, so elsewhere you are on walkers paths. This means no berms, no grooming or trail maintenance and no slow signs. Singletrack trails are often exposed on one side, and 4x4 tracks are very rocky; a fall in either of these places can have dire conseauences, so we recommend a full jacket with shoulder, forearm and back protection, gloves, shinguards and a fullface helmet.
  • Finally, TREAT THE TRAILS AS IF THEY WERE YOUR LOCAL TRAILS. This means take litter with you, close any gates you come across, don't hack branches out of the forest and use your common sense.

It's important to remember that the 'Mairie' in Chamonix (the Town Hall) restricts biking in Chamonix throughout July and August to only a handful of trails. There is a lot of sense in this – other trails are full of walkers – and the policy is well enforced, so stick to it. To experience the best of Chamonix's trails, perhaps look at coming earlier or later in the season. September is our favourite time of year, with dry trails, stable weather, fewer people and low-season prices!

NEW for summer 2010 is the Chamonix Bike Park at La Flegere. There will be two different pistes underneath the Index chairlift and a long piste from Flegere all the way back down to Les Praz. The piste have been specially built with modules, passerelles and berms. Not for beginners!