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Welcome to the singletrack paradise that is the Diois... Nestled between the Drôme Provençale to the south and the Vercors to the north, in the foothills of the Southern Alps! Sunflower and lavender fields, pine forests, vineyards, crystal clear rivers, and beautiful old villages let us know we're not far from Provence, while the mighty cliffs of the Vercors remind us that we're already in the Alps… A quiet, unspoilt area literally teaming with superb mountain bike trails. It's no coincidence that the founder of France Bike Trips chose the area as his home some 15 years ago. Discover the Diois and let him take you on a tour of the area’s best singletrack!
Itinerary start: France Bike Trips services begin on day 1 at 1pm at Die SNCF railway station. On request we can book the previous night's accommodation for you in Die.
We welcome you at the train station in Die and head straight off on the bikes. The stage is set for our arrival, with the massive cliffs of the Vercors and Glandasse overlooking the valley of Die. We take the time to visit Die and its charming narrow streets, before heading into the foothills of the Vercors towards Châtillon-en-Diois. The distinct smell of the local pine forests reminds us we're in the south, while the vineyards evoke the local sparkling Clairette de Die... We get our first taste of the playful singletrack trails that the region is famous for. Our route takes us past the impressive 12th century Abbaye de Valcroissant, as well as several traditional stone villages before arriving in Chatillon-en-Diois, a medieval village nestled at the foot of the Vercors cliffs. The village is full of superb stone houses, narrow alleys and beautiful gardens that make for a pleasant evening stroll on arrival.
Distance covered: approx. 30 km / Altitude gain: approx. 700 m
Today's route sees us climb to the village of Benevise before a great descent to the Cirque d'Archiane.We then follow the Bez River through the Gorges du Gats (great opportunities for a swim). Our route then climbs up out of the gorges on an ancient track to the isolated hamlet of Soubreroche, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. We drop down into the valley of Boulc on a wooded singletrack trail before joining the village. Boulc became famous when its only access road collapsed in 1994, leaving the village cut off from the ouside world for several months, before a tunnel was built. Welcome to the local Gauls!
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1200 m
We gain some altitude on a forest track that winds its way up through pine and beech forests. After a 5 minute push, we reach a viewpoint overlooking the valley and the village of Lesches-en-Diois. We head down a great singletrack descent that leads us to the isolated hamlet of Les Granges, where time seems to have stood still. The hamlet now has only one remaining resident. Another great descent leads us down to the Miscon Valley, where we join a riverside singletrack that winds its way along the banks. We then join Le Claps, scene of an enormous rockfall in the 15th century. The rockfall created the "Saut de la Drôme", an impressive waterfall surrounded by enormous blocks of rock. We then follow a quiet country lane to the hamlet of "Les Grangiers" and our gite for the night.
Distance covered: approx. 45 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1200 m
From here we head south into the wild Haut Diois... Villages are further and further apart, with fewer and fewer inhabitants, valley pastures give way to ever denser woodland. A succession of climbs and descents lead us to La Motte-Chalancon, a characterful village nestled in a beautiful, wild valley. Overnight stop in La Motte.
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1100 m
A remote, mountainous stage that leads us through fields of lavender, thyme and rosemary, on trails nestled between the Diois and the Baronnies. We'll likely see Griffon vultures overhead, a common sight since their reintroduction in the area. We make our way to the village of St Nazaire le Desert, in the beautiful gorges of the Roanne. An optional loop above St Nazaire offers a great singletrack finish to the day's riding.
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1300 m
We're now in Picodon country! The area is renowned for its small round goats cheeses. We enter the bucolic valley of Rochefourchat, before gaining some altitude on the climb up to the Col de Jeannin. A great descent awaits us down to the village of La Chaudiere, at the foot of the Trois Becs peaks. A short climb leads us to the curious isolated chapel of Les Sadous (only accessible by singletrack). A great singletrack traverse and descent follows, before more singletrack perched above the Roanne river. A final climb leads us to our overnight stop in the perched village of Pennes Le Sec, and a well deserved cold drink on the terrace with it's superb panoramic views.
Distance covered: approx. 32 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1300 m
A short climb leads us to a great switchback descent into the Bramevache valley. We then tackle the major climb of the day, discovering the sleepy villages of Savel and Rimon en route. We're rewarded for all the climbing as we cross the beautiful hanging plateau of Solaure, with 360° views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Some great wild singletrack takes us to the Pas du Loup. From here it's almost all downhill on some of the best singletrack the Diois has to offer. We finish the ride with more great singletrack along the banks of the Drôme, before arriving in our final destination, Die.
Distance covered: approx. 34 km / Altitude gain: approx. 1000 m
Itinerary end: The trip ends in Die at around 3pm. On request we can book the following night's accommodation for you in Die.
Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.
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