PUNTA DELLA CROCE, Aosta valley

Excellent singletrack, epic views, and it’s on the doorstep of La Thuile bike park

In Stats

Location: Aosta Valley, Italy

Start: Col San Carlo

Time: 3-4hrs

Distance: 20km

Ascent: 550m

Descent: 1550m

E-bike? Yes

Uplift? Partial

Descent

Rideable: 100%

Ascent

Pedal: 60%

Push: 40%

Carry: 0%

The Trail

If you’re knocking around in La Thuile bike park (highly recommended), and fancy something a bit different, stick this on your shortlist. In terms of the ascent, there are several ways of getting there. The stats and GPX represent what I think is the most efficient of those, but you’ll need two vehicles to shuttle it.

The Ascent

Starting from the car park on the Col San Carlo, pedal on up the 4×4 track all the way to Lago d’Arpy. It’s beautiful. You’ll be spending a while there, so take a sandwich. Oh, go round the far side of the lake if you want the best views, it’s worth it. From the lake up to the Col Della Croce is all pushing, some of it awkward on a narrow rutted singletrack, but only 250m vertical, it’s over pretty quick. The remainder to the peak is a simple push. Easy-peasy. The view is ridiculous. Definitively go to the end of the ridge and play around on the castle ruins. I’ll live there one day…

The Descent

The descent retraces the uphill and then just before the Col Della Croce, veers left taking you all the way back to the start point on the Col San Carlo. It’s generally smooth, fast singletrack, with the odd awkward rock. Back at the Col and starting point cross straight over the road, with a short climb up to the next section. As you approach a mast and building, take the 4×4 track on the left which quickly feeds into a singletrack. The next section is brilliant, fast with fairly tight switchbacks. Once you get to about 1900m, the trail steepens up quite a bit, and feels a bit like the stuff in La Thuile Bike Park, if you know it. Loamy, rocky, and with a few tight switchbacks, but it quickly eases off. A lot of fun.

Variations

Morgex Start – If you only have one car, or prefer to pedal the whole thing, then park up in Morgex and pedal on up the SR39 to the Col San Carlo. That’ll add +1000m onto your day, and averages over 10% gradient.

Col San Carlo -> Punta Della Croce – You could probably pedal up almost all of the descent singletrack pretty efficiently, especially with an e-bike, and save a lot of pushing. Seems a shame not to go to the lake though…

Map

Photos

Useful Info

Beer & ice cream: Gelateria Pilier Central – Pasticceria (Excellent!)
Parking: Col San Carlo (free) & Morgex (free)
Map: Monte Bianco-Courmayeur-Chamonix-La Thuile (Fraternali Editore)