“The western half of the long distance Portes du Soleil circuit in the French Haute-Savoie region”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
This is an abridged version of the awesome Portes du Soleil (Gateway to the Sun)
circuit along the Franco-Swiss border in the foothills of the eastern Alps. The route is well marked with consistent signage across both countries and a single ticket covers all the necessary lifts. Three separate uplifts take care of most (1700 m, 5550 ft) of the climbing; this leaves only 250 m, 800 ft of climbing under pedal power. That's a small price to pay for nearly 1950 m, 6350 ft of descending through stunning territory. It's possible for more advanced riders to complete the full circuit in a single day. This is the western portion of the circuit for those who want to allow two days to have more time to enjoy the scenery and perhaps a couple of the mountain huts or quaint villages along the way.
This portion of the circuit traverses singletrack high in the mountains, forest roads, and short segments along paved roads and traverses the several French (Les Gets, Morzine, Montriond, Les Lindaretes) villages, some more quaint than others. There are many other trails in the area and several bike parks catering to the downhill crowd (Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz, and Morgins).
Need to Know
You can buy a single lift ticket that allows you to access all the lifts in the area for EUR 26 or CHF 29 (2017 price). Do pay attention to the lift closing times as many of the lifts close at 16:45. While it is certainly possible to do the full loop in one day, it may be more enjoyable to take two days so you have time to enjoy some of the views and stop in some of the mountain huts along the way, while not having to worry about getting stuck in the wrong valley at the end of the day.
See the individual segment descriptions for more detailed information on each of the segments.
To make the full circuit (a) download the GPX to follow, (b) download the MTB Project mobile app
, or (c) memorize the matrix of lifts and segments below. The route is also well marked with consistent signage in both countries.
You can start the circuit anywhere but here we start in Les Gets since that's where I started. Try not to run over any of the goats riding through Les Lindarets.
Take the ____ lift to the ____ segment:
Chavannes Lift to PdS: Les Gets to Morzine
Super Morzine Bubble Lift to PdS: Morzine to Les Lindarets
Continue (no lift) to Primary Road D228 and PdS: Les Lindarets to Morzine
Pléney Bubble Lift to PdS: Morzine to Les Gets
... well, maybe download the GPX or MTBProject.com.
Hopefully you've also saved time and energy to do the other half of the circuit Portes du Soleil Est (Gateway to the Sun East)