Most often associated with road biking, Alpe d'Huez is home to one of the most underrated bike parks in the Western Alps. Perched above the commune of Huez at a height of 1800m, Alpe d'Huez Bike Park offers a variety of trails for all abilities. The bike park is one of 4 making up the Alpe d’Huez MTB Area, alongside Vaujany, Oz en Oisans and Bourg d'Oisans. Situated well above the tree-line, this area has a truly alpine feel with incredible views over the valley.
The main area is serviced by the DMC lift, which rapidly transports you from the village to the heart of the bike park. Exit the DMC at the mid station for access to a number of trails from green to black. Stay on-board and continue your journey to 2700m where you will be greeted with stunning views over Lac Blanc. Bear in mind that the only way down from here is a technical black run (K-Lif or EN10) or a ride back down the DMC. The Pic Blanc cable car takes you right up to 3330m, to the glacier and the start of the Megavalanche trail.
Rock & Wood (DH5)
A fun red run featuring a mix of natural and man-made obstacles, Rock & Wood delivers the goods on so many levels. Featuring big drops, gaps and some technical natural features, Rock & Wood ticks all of the boxes, with so many great photo opportunities along the way. All of the bigger features are avoidable, making it the perfect run to session and dial in.
Leave the DMC at the mid station to hit this super fun blue flow trail. Hot Road takes you along 2 sections of swooping berms before hitting two medium sized tabletops. A flat-ish section brings you to a long set of small tables running parallel to the road. A couple of mellow (avoidable) doubles are thrown in to the mix to keep you on your toes. Hot Road is the perfect warm-up trail, or chiller trail to finish a big day on the hill.
You couldn't write a blog post on Alpe d'Huez without mentioning the Mega. The EN1, or Megavalanche, starts at 3330 meters high on the glacier and finishes in Allemont, 2600 meters below. Every year, over 2000 participants line up to race this 30km trail in the biggest mass start event in Europe. The track is accessed via the Pic Blanc cable car at the top of the DMC where course starts on the glacier. After a gruelling 5km or so (depending on the previous winter's snowfall) you'll find the most glorious natural singletrack with breathtaking views from start to finish.
There are loads of accommodation options, both in the resort and in the village of Bourg d'Osain and the foot of this iconic mountain. Prices can get pretty steep during big events (notably the Marmotte sportive in early July or the arrival of the Tour de France later that month) but are generally quite affordable, moreso in Bourg. There are some great camping options right on the foot of the mountain. Bear in mind, if you are staying in Bourg, you will have to drive up the mountain as there is no bike shuttle. Allemont offers some alternative camping options with a regular bike shuttle to the village of Alpe d'Huez throughout the day.
Grenoble airport is a short drive away, at just over an hour, however, flights from the UK to Grenoble are infrequent and expensive during the summer. Geneva airport on the other hand, while nearly 3 hours away, offers daily flights in and out of the UK from your favourite budget airlines. Scheduled airport transfers are really hard to find so hiring a car is recommended during the summer months.
Flying with a bike and hiring a car is a hassle no-one needs and it's often cheaper and easier to drive down. The drive can take the best part of a day once you land in France and you'll need to budget around €80 each way for tolls.