Col d'Allos

On a north-south tour, this pass can be an alternative to Col de Cayolle. Both of them are part of the classic one day loop: Cayolle - Champs - Allos. Of the three, this is the one road with most of the automobile traffic and the ski resorts.

1.(00.0km,1085m) START-END SOUTH ALT: jct D908 - D62, north of Thorame Haute
2.(11.3km,1245m) START-END SOUTH: Colmars
3.(13.7km,1304m) Clignon Bas
4.(18.6km,1412m) turnoff towards Villard Bas, before reaching Allos
5.(27.4km,1998m) la Foux d'Allos, switchbacks begin shortly afterwards towards right
6.(33.6km,2247m) TOP: Col d'Allos
7.(49.4km,1226m) road crossing: left to Pra Loop; right connects to Col de la Cayolle approach
8.(53.2km,1133m) START-END NORTH: Barcelonnette, bridge over Ubaye


From South. The ride between Colmars and Allos has a little more traffic on it, than one has come to expect by now on the Cayolle - Champs - Allos loop. The town Allos has a supermarket along the road (but closed on Sunday) that offers the opportunity to purchase a few more calories for the remaining climb. The scenery remains in a natural, harmonious state past the next small village. Then it becomes dominated completely by ski resort condominiums. After passing under a ski run, I was wondering if I had taken a wrong turn somewhere and the road would dead end at a lift ticket station. It was hard to imagine where this road could climb out of the valley in the relatively short distance that cyclist directed signs had advertised a few km back. But, even though hard to believe, I was still on the Col d'Allos approach. The road now becomes much smaller and climbs in ramps to the right up a steep grassy slope. This is not one of the solid, old wall supported road beds, that are common further south. But the road still crosses a large number of drainage embankments.

From North. (described downwards) The view from the top now leaves behind the ski area constructions. Looking down to the north is especially impressive with late light. The road makes a large loop to the west, and on the opposing side you recognize a lower part of the road, as it cuts across the middle of a cliff face. The day becoming very late now, soon you are traversing that section and are looking up the gorge of the Bachelard, where the ride began early in the morning. Now the road descends into forest, crosses a picturesque stone bridge and keeps on descending all the way into Barcelonnette to finish a glorious day.

Col d'Allos
Col d'Allos - descending into Barcelonnette at the end of a glorious day

Historical Notes:

Like many of the passes in this area it owes its reason for being to military strategies, involving the defense from Italian and German attacks. Allos opened in 1891, that is 22 years before another option to cross this ridge via the Col de la Cayolle was added. This idea to have two alternate routes on strategic ridge crossings was also applied when the vulnerabilty of nearby Col de Vars was reduced by constructing the Parpaillon tunnel crossing.

Col d'Allos

Cycling - Tour de France: Unlike the other two passes on the Cayolle - Champs - Allos loop, this one has been on the Tour de France route 33 times until the year 2000. Only 8 of these crossings happened in the post WW2 period.

just north of summit of Col d'Allos

A Dayride with the Col d'Allos as intermediate summit is on the Col de la Cayolle page.

The last pass ride with different start and end points on this Extended Tour is: Col de Larche

Col d'Allos southern

Col d'Allos

Highest Point: 2247m

Southern Approach:

from jct D908 - D62, north of Thorame Haute (1085m) 1162m
from Colmars (1245m)
Northern Approach:

from Barcelonnette, bridge over Ubaye (1133m) 1114m