If you are looking for a heart-pumping experience, mountain biking in Courmayeur is a must-try. Courmayeur has some of the best mountain biking trails in the world, with their stunning natural beauty and challenging terrain. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a beginner, you will always find something to your liking. So which are the top five mountain biking trails in Courmayeur, and what should you consider before selecting a trail? Let’s take a look!
Top Mountain Biking Trails in Courmayeur
- Miage Lake via La Visaille
- Rifugio Maison Vieille
- Plampincieux – Rifugio Bonatti
- Maison Vieille Refuge
- Tour Celtico nella Val Veny — Giro ad anello
Miage Lake via La Visaille
The Miage Lake via La Visaille trail is a 7.3-mile out-and-back trail near Courmayeur, Aosta Valley. It is a moderately challenging trail that takes an average of 3 hours and 49 minutes to complete. The trail starts at a car park near La Visaille and follows a trail that becomes a road in some sections. It passes through Val Veny and the Combal Refuge (1969m) before reaching Lake Miage near the Miage Glacier. The route is easy to find and not too steep.
Moreover, the trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and rivers, and it is a popular area for hiking and mountain biking, so hikers can expect to meet other people while exploring. Dogs are also welcome on the trail and may be off-leash in some areas.
Rifugio Maison Vieille
The Rifugio Maison Vieille mountain biking trail is a scenic and challenging 5.3-kilometer loop through the Val Veny valley in the Italian Alps. The trail gains 400 meters in elevation and is rated as intermediate, with some more challenging sections.
The trail starts in the village of Courmayeur and follows a gravel road up to the Rifugio Maison Vieille, a mountain hut at 1,908 meters. The views from the hut are stunning, and on a clear day, Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, can be seen. From the hut, the trail continues through the Val Veny, passing through alpine meadows, forests, and waterfalls. There are several opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery.
The trail eventually leads back to the town, where you can have a refreshing drink and a meal at one of the many restaurants and stay in one of the Courmayeur hotels.
Plampincieux – Rifugio Bonatti
The Plampincieux-Rifugio Bonatti trail is a moderately challenging out-and-back route that spans 12.7 km and has an elevation gain of 535 m. The trail starts from a car park located in Plampincieux, a small village located in the Val Ferret, and follows the paved road along the Dora Ferret River until it reaches a junction for the Bonatti Refuge.
The refuge is a cozy mountain hut positioned at an altitude of 2025 m. From the refuge, the trail takes a dirt path that ascends through the forest and provides awe-inspiring views of the Mont Blanc massif and the Grandes Jorasses.
Depending on the season, the trail can be used for mountain biking, hiking, or snowshoeing. The best time to enjoy it is from May to October when the weather is mild and the wildflowers are in full bloom. The trail is well-marked and popular among outdoor enthusiasts, so it is easy to navigate and safe to explore. However, it is advisable to bring enough water, snacks, and layers, as the temperature and terrain can fluctuate along the way.
Maison Vieille Refuge
This Courmayeur mountain biking trail is a moderate point-to-point route that begins at the top of the Maison Vieille chairlift and ends in the town of Courmayeur. The trail spans about 5.1 km and has an elevation loss of 25 m. It offers spectacular views of the Mont Blanc massif as well as the Val Veny valley. The trail is mostly downhill and shaded by the forest, with some steep and rocky sections that require caution and the use of trekking poles. It is suitable for the entire family and is a popular choice for backpacking, hiking, and mountain biking.
Along the way, you can enjoy the scenery, observe the wildlife, and explore historic sites such as the Castello di Châtelard and the Rifugio Monte Bianco.
Tour Celtico nella Val Veny—Giro ad anello:
The “Tour Celtico nella Val Veny—Giro ad anello” is a gem among the mountain biking trails in Courmayeur. This expert-level trail is short but challenging, covering about 6.88 km. The journey starts in Zerotta, in Val Veny. After crossing a bridge at Purtud, follow a farm track until you reach a crossroads, then turn left. The trail takes you through the Peuterey woods and past Freney, eventually leading you back to the main road. The fast and exhilarating descent includes a beautiful ledge that takes you back to asphalt. This trail offers the perfect blend of challenge and natural beauty.
What to Know Before Choosing a Courmayeur Mountain Biking Trail
Skill level and experience
When choosing a mountain biking route in Courmayeur, it is essential to consider your skill level and experience. The Courmayeur trails are not lift-accessed, so you will need to be prepared to exert some effort to reap the rewards. The riding in Courmayeur is split across two valleys, the Val Ferret and the Val Veny. Both valleys offer stunning views and well-groomed singletrack. The riding in Val Ferret is more flowing than technical, while Val Veny is dominated by the incredible, jagged Aiguille de Peuterey and the tumbling glaciers of Tre la Tete.
Trail difficulty ratings
Trail difficulty ratings are a way of indicating how challenging and skill-intensive a mountain bike trail is. They are typically based on factors such as the steepness, roughness, width, and exposure of the trail, as well as the presence and size of obstacles, jumps, and bridges. Different regions and organizations may use different rating systems, but a common one is the IMBA Trail Difficulty Rating System, which uses five symbols to classify trails from easiest (white circle) to extremely difficult (double black diamond).
Types of terrain and landscapes
When choosing one of the mountain biking trails in Courmayeur, it is also important to consider the terrain and landscape. The region offers a variety of terrain, from rocky paths to forest trails. Rocky terrain requires technical skills and a sturdy bike, while forest trails are smoother but can be slippery. However, elevation changes add to the challenge and thrill. The beautiful landscape, with views of Mont Blanc, is a bonus.
It is worth reiterating that before embarking on any mountain biking trails in Courmayeur, it is important to consider your skill level and make the necessary preparations to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. The Courmayeur trails offer a unique and thrilling blend of adventure and natural beauty, highlighting the town’s diverse landscapes. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, these trails will leave a lasting impression on your heart, so get ready, gear up, and embrace the challenge!