13 - Cross-country - Red - Mont Cenis Lake

A famous scenic loop to admire the marmots and fortifications around Mont Cenis Lake. With so much to see you might forget to concentrate on keeping your balance. Spectacular is the best word to describe this itinerary.

13 - Cross-country - Red - Mont Cenis Lake Val-Cenis


Departing from Val-Cenis (73500)
Average length : 02h30
Total elevation gain : 490m
Vertical drop : 490m
Signed walking trail

Mont Cenis Pass can be reached by car or by the ski lifts via an easy 3 km ascent from Val Cenis. Find out beforehand about lift opening dates and times.
This high-mountain itinerary explores wide open spaces and keeps you at an elevation of around 2000 metres throughout. You'll start with a warm-up on the Petit Mont Cenis road which then dwindles to a track to take you around the lakeside wilderness. You'll pass below the forts of Pattacreuse and Malamot (look up, the latter stands at an elevation of 2917 metres). After passing Variselle fort, you'll return to "civilisation" via the damn, crossing the road before climbing the "Sentier des 2000" path up to the fort of Ronce. A short descent across Alpine pastures then leads you to a narrow, singletrack balcony of exquisite beauty! But remember to watch your balance as there are a few giddying sections. Once you reach the hamlet of La Buffaz it's a gentle ride down to Mont Cenis Pass. In the Haute Maurienne Vanoise MTB area, this trail is a must-do!

Departs from: Mont Cenis Pass

Total elevation gain : 490m
Altitude max : 2295m
Vertical drop : 490m


French Cycling Federation signposting

Difficult passages

The course is generally not very technical, only a short section before the Ronce fort is spiky. On the other hand, the technical variant is more challenging with a narrow balcony path with a few calls to the void, a good balance is therefore necessary but this passage is magnificent! The climb from the Mont Cenis dam to the Ronce fort is the most difficult part of the route. Otherwise, the climbs are not very steep or too long.

Map references

Haute Maurienne Vanoise mountain bike map sold in the Haute Maurienne Vanoise Tourist Offices.

Topoguides references

Haute Maurienne Vanoise mountain bike booklet sold in the Haute Maurienne Vanoise Tourist Offices.

Further informations

Stone, Ground, Grit

    1 1


    Free access.


    Languages spoken : French

    Period of practice

    From 01/06 to 15/10.

    Subject to favorable snow and weather conditions.


    Col du Mont-Cenis Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis 73480 Val-Cenis
    Departing from : Val-Cenis (73500)
    Latitude : 45.259633 - Longitude : 6.900903

    By car, park at the Col du Mont-Cenis car park.
    In the summer season, possibility to take the bus line S53 (Modane - Bonneval/Arc) and get off at the stop "Télécabine du Vieux Moulin"; bus equipped with a bicycle trailer every day except Saturday. Then take the Lanslevillard ski lifts. A crossing of about 4 km on a mostly downhill track is necessary.

    On : Val-Cenis (73480), Val-Cenis (73500)
    Information update on 28/07/2022 by Communauté de communes Haute Maurienne Vanoise