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The Vosges has a long history as a major mountain bike venue, producing top riders such as Jérome Clementz and the Absalon brothers. The area has all the ingredients as a great mountain biking destination: vast and beautiful forests (where you half expect to see pixies and fairies) with a superb network of singletrack trails, as well as panoramic viewpoints overlooking the surrounding mountains. A 3 hour train ride from Paris, the Vosges Mountains may be smaller than other ranges, but they have just as much to offer: mountain lakes (such as Lake Gerardmer), ridgeline trails, mountain pastures, and great singletrack… Coupled with comfortable hotel accommodation, this circuit offers all the ingredients for a great mountain bike adventure!
Itinerary start: Rendezvous on the first day is at 10:30am in front of Saint Dié des Vosges SNCF railway station (88). We will leave directly from the railway station. Please arrive in your cycle clothing.
Welcome to the Vosges! Rendezvous mid-morning in Saint Dié, the capital of the mountainous part of the Vosges. Once the introductions are over, we head off in the direction of the Massif du Kemberg, a sandstone range full of great singletrack, a lot of which is known only to the locals… The range rises to almost 800 metres, and offers a great playground for our first day of riding. At the northern end of the range we pass the famous Roche Saint Martin, offering a beautiful panorama of the surrounding peaks and ranges.
Once we've crossed the Kemberg and its pretty woodland trails, we join the village of Corcieux, and our first night's accommodation. Dinner and night in a hotel.
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / ascent: approx. 900 m
Corcieux lies at 539 metres above sea level, and this evening we'll be sleeping at 820 metres. Between the two we tackle a great stage that sees us climb two distinct valleys and almost cross the border from the Vosges to the Alsace, but not quite... We pass through the narrow gorge of Straiture, a remarkable natural area of steep mountains that is home to some of the oldest spruce pines in Europe. We shouldn't have any trouble finding a shady spot for our picnic! We continue our journey south east, before joining the small village of Le Valtin, close to the source of the Meurthe River. We settle into our hotel, before discovering a local culinary speciality at the hotel restaurant…
Distance covered: approx. 35 km / ascent: approx. 1300 m
The third stage of our week in the Vosges (and possibly the most memorable stage) is all on high altitude terrain, leading us to Le Hohneck, a major green tourism destination of the Vosges. We start the morning with a climb, rewarded at the top with superb panoramic views of the surrounding summits of the Alsace and the Rhine Valley. A strong smell wafts up from the valley... a reminder that the town of Munster (home to the famous cheese) is only a stone's throw away! A superb ridge leads us towards Le Hohneck, where our route takes us almost to the summit (1363 m). Surprise! Our overnight accommodation is merely a few metres below the summit, in a comfortable mountain refuge.
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / ascent: approx. 1400 m
If the weather is on our side (which we don't doubt for a moment!), we can look forward to a beautiful sunrise from the top of Le Hohneck, third highest summit in the Vosges. The morning mist and the sun's rays on the surrounding peaks offer a great spectacle. Another great day's riding awaits us as we leave the peaks of Le Hohneck and make our way to the highest village in the Vosges (800 m). We play a game of leapfrog with the two valleys we need to cross in order to reach Le Haut du Tôt: the valley of Chajoux and the valley of Menaurupt. Both valleys are fairly deep, which means only one thing... a big day of climbing and descending. We arrive late afternoon in the pretty village of Haut du Tôt before settling into our hotel for the following two nights.
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / ascent: approx. 1100 m
We take a break from our route in order to make the most of a day of riding in the superb area around Haut du Tôt. Possibility of a rest day for anyone who feels the need, or just fancies a break from the riding. Today's riding? Singletrack, singletrack and more singletrack. It's no coincidence that we've chosen to stay an extra night in Haut du Tôt... The surrounding forests are full of narrow, flowy, fun singletrack, and we'll pack in as much as we can! We then return to our hotel mid-afternoon.
Distance covered: approx. 35 km / ascent: approx. 800 m
Today offers the chance to discover one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in France: the Lake Gerardmer, where we stop for a well-earned picnic. The lake reveals its diverse beauty from one season to the next, changing from deep black in winter to bright blue in summer. We take the time to visit the small town of Gerardmer, a popular summer destination nestled on the banks of this glacial lake that sits at 660 metres above sea level. But we've still got some riding to do before the end of the day! We leave the lake behind us and climb, heading north west, through the area of Rougimont. A series of small climbs and descents leads us to the small village of Granvillers where we settle into our hotel for the last night of our trip!
Distance covered: approx. 40 km / ascent: approx. 1200 m
The final day of our trip through the Vosges. This morning we discover the Massif de Borémont, with some great ridgeline singletrack, offering superb views of the surrounding area. Two small north west/south east orientated valleys are overlooked by 3 ridgelines perfect for mountain biking. A fairly big stage in terms of distance, but with less climbing than the previous day. Coupled with the training of the last few days the stage shouldn't be too difficult... Before long the start point of our journey, Saint Dié des Vosges, comes into view. We reach the town late afternoon, heads full of the memories of the last 7 days of riding!
Distance covered: approx. 45 km / ascent: approx. 1200 m
Distances and altitude gain are an indication only and may vary.
Itinerary end: Separation on the last day is at Saint Dié des Vosges SNCF railway station at around 5:30pm.
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