When the winter snow finally gives way to the summer sun, the Three Valleys suddenly produce some of the most outstanding mountain bike trails in the world. Suffice to say, with thousands of kilometres of marked routes and an even greater abundance of unmarked areas to explore, it is an absolute paradise for bikers at all levels.
Singling out the very best trails in the Three Valleys is difficult, though undoubtedly one of the most popular regions of all is that surrounding Courchevel. Perhaps not the most demanding of areas in terms of the difficulty of the trails on offer, Courchevel remains a firm favourite for offering access to excellent routes and runs for amateurs and professionals alike.
Many of the circuits and descents around the area have full Fédération Française de Cyclisme Approval and can be accessed by way of Courchevel’s excellent lift system. Le Praz, La Tania, Brides-les-Bains and Moutiers can all be reached with ease via the downhill trails. However, there is also a much more challenging 117km marked track that covers all of the Three Valleys with a total descent of almost 4000m. There are however plenty of lifts along the way in case you don’t want to tackle the whole thing.
The Saulire lift also provides easy access to Meribel next door, which once again opens up a world of opportunities for both incredible biking trails and access to the Belleville Valley in Val Thorens. The Meribel valley itself is an absolutely unmissable biking opportunity for intermediate and advanced riders, while the 6.3km long blue downhill descent close to the Saulire mid-station is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable in the whole region. Plenty of lifts, shuttle buses and other public transport services run throughout the summer in order to provide ease of access to a wide variety of towns and resorts across the Three Valleys.
As mentioned above, the Belleville Valley is the absolute highlight for those looking for the very best mountain biking in Val Thorens. The lifts continue running right up until the end of August and allow riders to ride from heights of over 2500m, with the incredibly enjoyable and picturesque descents into Les Menuires and right down to St Martin de Belleville. Cycling routes range from the fantastically gentle to the almost insane, making Val Thorens the perfect choice for riders at all levels.
For those looking to get the very best out of the region or heading on a serious adventure for the first time, professionally guided tours come highly recommended. Under the watch of the seasoned professional who knows every corner of the Three Valleys better than anyone else, you’ll discover hidden routes and secret cycling destinations the likes of which do not appear on any maps. You can also arrange to hire the very best equipment on the market and all necessary safety provisions should you not wish to bring your own bike and tackle with you.
Photo source: radbike.ca