Mountain Biking in Aosta Valley, Italy

A Guide


A relatively unknown area to many, the Aosta valley is located in the far northwest of Italy. You’ll find the Swiss Valais to the north, the Italian Piedmont to the south, and France to the west. In the heart of the area is the city of Aosta, located in the main Aosta valley, with several huge finger-like valleys leading off it.

The area is known for its wine growing, historic castles, and of course, very good mountain biking.

In terms of the climate, expect hot and dry, with an emphasis on dry. It gets significantly different weather from the nearby French Savoie and Haute Savoie regions despite only being separated by a few miles, and the not-so-insignificant Mont Blanc Massif. It’s not uncommon to find rain on the French side of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, and simultaneously, glorious unbridled sunshine of the Italian side.

The Mountain Biking

When it comes to riding in the Aosta region, you’ll find it all. For a relatively large area, there are few major bike parks – three to be exact. Although they are few, they are of a high standard, varied, offer everything that you could look for in bike park riding, and are absolutely worth a visit.

But forget about the bike parks.

Explore a bit further, and you’ll find endless natural singletrack better than anything you’ll find in a bike park. In my opinion, there are few better places for big mountain riding and adventures.

The Bike Parks

La Thuile Bike Park

Steep. Rough. Technical. Rocky. Rooty. Physical. Fantastic.

La Thuile isn’t a classic bike park, it’s a rare breed. In fact, in the north western Alps, the only other place similar is Samoens. The marked trails are mostly man-made, but feel like natural lift-served singletrack, with a little trail builder love here and there. There isn’t an endless number of trails, but there is more than enough, they’re all unique, excellent, and well maintained. High alpine flow at the top, followed by technical, steep, sometimes very steep in the woods.

Enduro bikes are ideal here given the style of riding and also a few short liaisons, and a few trails are accessed by a short climb above the top lift.

You have to be at least a good rider to enjoy it… to survive it. The Enduro World Series has become seriously popular here, and that says it all about the level of riding required. There aren’t any easy options, so beginners and early intermediates should go elsewhere (Pila would be a good start).

Official website

Pila Bike Park

Dust. Berms. Jumps. Flat out. Epic scenery

Pila is definitely more of a classic bike park with flat out DH style trails, big berms, and dust. A lot of dust. They regularly water the trails, and bike rental shops often wash the bikes with an air compressor. As a Scotsman, this is utterly incomprehensible. The majority of the trails are smooth, with the exception of the braking bumps which can be savage.

There’s something for all levels here. Cruisy greens for beginners, even kids, up to the old World Cup and IXS tracks which is suitably full on. The never-ending trail from Pila village back to Aosta is excellent, and if you link it together with the trails from the famous Pila ridge, offers over 2000m of descending in one hit. There’s something unique about rolling off the trail and straight into a bar in the centre of Aosta city unlike probably anywhere else.

There is some excellent natural singletrack accessible from the lifts which, in my opinion, is significantly better than the bike park trails.

Official website

Big Mountain Riding

As the least populated region of Italy, it’s stacked full of 4000m peaks, glaciers, lakes, top class refuges, and a dry and hot climate. It has endless, meandering, dusty, perfect singletracks.

Pretty much everything required for big mountain adventures then.

When it comes to this type of riding the Aosta valley is world class. The sheer number of stunningly good natural trails in the area is outrageous, with the vast majority working freakishly well on a mountain bike. A combination of big but not so steep mountains, dusty dry climate, and hill forts which, back in the day, required a substantial network of access trails, has led to 2-wheeled Italian nirvana. Whoever built the trails here all those years ago is a mountain biker. Absolutely No doubt.

You can split the area up into two fairly distinct areas – The Gran Paradiso National Park, and the rest.

Cogne & Gran Paradiso National Park – wild, big, and stunningly beautiful. Access is limited to the valley floor, so there’s no chance of shuttling here, it’s all human power. The climbs are generally pushing/carrying and the area has big opportunities for multi day adventures. Big mountain, big cols, big climbs, big descents.

The rest – From La Thuile and Courmayeur, to the north of Aosta city, and as far as Lac de Places de Moulin in Valpelline you generally find slightly better access. Either 4×4 tracks allowing easier climbing, particularly for e-bikes, and some good options for shuttling.


If you happen to be visiting the area with at least a couple of vehicles then shuttling is definitely a good option, with lots of trails accessible by at least partial uplift.

However, recruiting help of a guiding company is always a good way of getting the best out of a trip, as well as getting to the top with less effort. Aosta Valley Freeride offer all kinds of trips, and are without doubt one of the best in the area.

Where to Stay

Options will depend on budget, where you are planning to ride, and time of the year.

Aosta City

If you are planning on riding a wide area, riding Pila bike park, or fancy the nightlife and attractions of a city, then staying in or around the city of Aosta makes sense. At only 500m altitude this is a good option if visiting in spring or autumn.

There are loads of Airbnb options, or a some great campsites.

Cogne/Gran Paradiso National Park

Perfect location if you are planning on riding this area, or you want the proper mountain experience. Again, it’s a beautiful, beautiful area, and the village of Cogne has a few bars, restaurants and shops.

You can even drop off the back of Pila Bike Park straight into Cogne. Handy.

At an altitude of between 1600-2000m, you’ll be fine temperature wise in July and August, but check the weather beforehand for Jun and September. Probably forget about it May and October if you are camping as it can get cold at night.

La Thuile/Morgex

A great option if you plan on exploring the western end of the area, or if you want to be close to the tunnel to pop over to France for croissants and terrible coffee. La Thuile is a great little village with plenty going on. But again, it’s a bit of a mission if you plan of riding down towards Aosta/Pila regularly.

Getting There


From the UK and the north and, the obvious route is via Geneva, Chamonix and the Mont Blanc tunnel (€50/70 car/van each way). From the east and south, it’s the E25 from Milan/Turin.

From Switerland, the Grand Saint Bernard tunnel (€30/50 car/van each way) or Col Saint Bernard.

From the French Savoie region, the Col du Petit Saint Bernard (or take the longer route round via the Mont Blanc tunnel).


Geneva, Turin and Milan all provide regular flights. Turin and Milan airports offer good train links straight into the valley

Places of Interest

Would you believe that there is actually more going on in this area than mountain biking?

Lac de Places de Moulin, Valpelline

A beautiful lake at the end of the Valpelline valley that is definitely worth a visit. Vivid blue water surrounded by huge mountains and overhanging glaciers on the Swiss-Italian border. There a 4×4 track running alongside the lake which is an almost flat pedal or walk. Rifugio Prarayer, located at the end of the lake, offers great refreshments.

Aosta Valley MTB Trails

Col d’Invergneux, Aosta Valley

Location: Cogne, IT Ascent: 1550m Descent: 1550m Distance: 35km TIme: 6-8hrs

Tête de la Tronche, Aosta Valley

Location: Aosta Valley, IT
Ascent: 1100m
Descent: 1400m Distance: 22km TIme: 5-7hrs

Punta Leysser, Aosta Valley

Location: Aosta Valley, IT Ascent: 1700m Descent: 1700m Distance: 29km TIme: 6-8hrs

Punta Della Croce, Aosta Valley

Location: Aosta Valley, IT Ascent: 550m Descent: 1550m Distance: 20km TIme: 3-4hrs

Photos by Mathias Reding on Unsplash