Highlights: Lac des Chavonnes (1,700m); Solalex; St Maurice Abbey
MTB Route 68: Section 2 (Les Diablerets 1,162m–Bex 419m)
Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch (www.mountainbikeland.ch/en/routes/etappe-0977.html): 55km (1/3 unsurfaced), height difference 1,600m Les Diablerets–Bex (2,300m if opposite direction). Their website has the full profile.
Note that about 25km are at the altitude of 1,600-1,800m.
June 2017 (1-day trip)
We tried this Mountain Bike (MTB/VTT) Route, high above the east end of Lake Geneva, to escape the sizzling heat and humidity that has engulfed EVEN Switzerland these days . However, we soon found out that 1,800m was not high enough……..
The total elevation of the route was challenging and the unpaved trail, although in good condition, made it even tougher.
Additionally, after about 40km of unsurfaced trail, the tire of one of the bikes went flat, derailing the rest of the adventure.
As a side note, this is the 4th time I try mountain bike routes with the hybrid bike (so not VTT), and each and every time I run into technical issues. SO, I need to forego VTT/mountain bike routes with my bike and try to fight off the next “urge”. Too bad that it’s only with these routes that one can go to such beautiful and untouched places, high in the mountains where roads can’t reach. I guess next time I want to do it, I will rent a real e-mountain bike!
But back to the tour description, we started at Les Diablerets, a nice Swiss-style village and popular mountain destination. From here, there was a continuous ascent to 1,600m and then 25km of high altitude panoramas with alpine peaks (Vaud Alps) and blue lakes.
In fact, we stopped for a picnic break at the idyllic Lac des Chavonnes. This is a small blue lake reachable only on foot or by mountain bike and one can swim in it. The small restaurant by the lake is a great place to rest in the shade for some food.
Soon after, we found the hamlet of Bretaye with another lake and a couple of restaurants. This place is indeed in the middle of the Villars ski area.
From then on, we entered the most picturesque part of the trail (in addition to Lac des Chavonnes), with the stony Vaud Alps in the background for many kilometers .
Solalex was another alpine hamlet with amazing views, nested between two rocky alpine massifs (Diablerets & Miroir d’Argentine). It is also a great hiking destination (Tour de l’Argentine) and can be reached by car or by bus (but the bus does not take e-bikes).
Thankfully, the second half of the route was downhill, with occasional brief climbs. However, downhill on unpaved road is rough and must be done slowly.
At last I reached the asphalted road and had an exhilarating 10km downhill ride to Bex (436m).
Link to Introduction and other Sections