The Col de l’Iseran is a stunning mountain pass located in the French Alps. It stands at an impressive altitude of 2,764 metres and is known as the highest paved pass in the Alps. The road along it connects the Isère and Arc River valleys, near the area of Bonneval-sur-Arc. Typically, the pass is open from June to October, but the exact Col de I’Iseran opening hours can vary due to weather conditions, so it is important to do your research ahead of your trip.

In this post, we will share all that you need to know before visiting Col de l’Iseran, including what to do, summer routes and trails, skiing and of course, offer some advice on the best accommodation for your trip to the French Alps.

Without further ado, let’s get into Col de l’Iseran in Bonneval-sur-Arc.

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What to Do in Col de l'Iseran

For anyone who loves nature then Col de l’Iseran is an ideal holiday destination for you. Regardless if you are visiting in the summer or winter months for a romantic getaway with your partner or a fun trip with friends and family, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Cycling and Motorcycling Adventures

For those who love high adrenaline, taking your bike (motorised or not) can be a rewarding challenge. Going up the iconic ascent of Col de l’Iseran is a must for any cycling or motorcycling lover. Routes such as the climb from Val d’Isère provide you with both challenging ascents and exhilarating descents. You surely will have an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Alps.

Hiking Trails Galore

Meant for both beginner and experienced hikers, discover a wide network of trails that cater to all. Our suggestion for less experienced hikers is the path to Lac de l’Ouillette, as it is a relatively easy hike, offering amazing views and the perfect picnic spot. Plan ahead to go to the local market to pick up some local cheeses, cured meats and fresh bread. For the more adventurous and experienced hikers, the trek to the Glacier de Pissaillas has some outstanding views and is totally worth the more difficult hike up.

Stunning Panoramic Views

Embrace the pure tranquillity and awe-inspiring views from the peaks of the Col de l’Iseran. For those who enjoy photography, an ideal spot and viewpoint that we recommend is near the Chapel Saint-Pierre d’Extravache. Get here early to capture the most serene sunrise over the mountains.

Culinary Stops

Try the local cuisine at places like La Fruitière in Val d’Isère, where traditional Savoyard dishes are served. Try some local dishes and Fruitière specialities like duck foie gras, beef steak tartar, roasted lamb or the traditional Fruitière tiramisu.

These are just some suggestions of activities and spots around Col de l’Iseran that will make you fall in love with the French Alps.

Ou-est-Col de l'Iseran

Routes and Trails to Explore in the Col de l'Iseran

There are so many different types of routes and trails in the Col de l’Iseran area that cater to different types of sports and activities for the spring and summer, like hiking by foot, cycling, or driving. Here are a few suggestions:

A classic route which is best done by car is from Val d’Isère to Bonneval-sur-Arc. It is widely known for giving tourists some of the most stunning views of the mountain range, with a stop at the Col de l’Iseran summit. If you prefer to hike, a highly regarded trail is the Pointe de Charbonnel starts from Bonneval-sur-Arc. The trail takes you through meadows and along some crystal-clear lakes. We suggest preparing ahead of this hike with proper hiking gear and some snacks.

Mountain biking enthusiasts can take the route from Col de l’Iseran down to Tignes, where challenging terrain and stunning scenery will test your skills and endurance! Meanwhile, for those who prefer to cycle, the Solaise Loop is a circuit around the Solaise Mountain that takes you through some prestigious Alpine nature.

Finally, for those of you who are trail runners, you can explore the path leading to Lac de l’Ouillette from Val d’Isère, an excellent trail that offers a variety of terrains and spectacular lake views.

With such diversity, there is always some fun activity to do to get your and about in the Alps!

montagne-Col de l'Iseran

Ski at Col de l'Iseran

Winter transforms the Col de l’Iseran into a snowy paradise, perfect for anyone and everyone who loves winter sports. In these heavy snow months, the pass is inaccessible to vehicles but is perfect for anyone ready to discover the area on skis or snowboards. This time of year, the area surrounding Col de l’Iseran becomes a highly sought-after ski destination.

The Espace Killy ski area is a great option within the French Alps. The ski range has a variety of slopes, and caters to every skill level, from beginner to more experienced. Espace Killy is named after the Olympic champion Jean-Claude Killy and is made up of the ski resorts of Tignes and Val d’Isère, with over 300 kilometres of ski runs, lifts, and eye-opening Alpine views.

However, the skiing season is not limited to the traditional winter months. Remarkably, in the early summer, you can still ski! This year, from Saturday, June 8th to Friday, July 5th, the Pisaillas Glacier near Val d’Isère is giving ski lovers a rare chance to enjoy summer skiing in the Alps, of course, weather permitting!

If you are new to the world of winter sports, don’t worry! The area has plenty of ski schools and instructors offering personalized lessons and group courses.

Whether you’re gliding down the pistes of Espace Killy, or trying the Pisaillas Glacier in the warmer summer months, the area around Col de l’Iseran has so many different skiing experiences.

Visit the Col de l'Iseran

Col de l’Iseran is so much more than just a holiday destination; it’s a place that offers many exhilarating experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime. Whether you’re winding through its roads on a bike, trekking its paths, or skiing its slopes, the beauty of Col de l’Iseran is undeniable. Remember to always plan ahead for any excursions you wish to do, regardless of winter or summer, as the weather conditions can change quickly. Pack comfortable clothing to take you through the slopes and forests with ease and do not forget to book your stay in the Alps with Alpvision Residences. Our accommodations cater to any party size and needs.

So why wait? Plan your visit to Col de l’Iseran and let the adventure begin!