Sommet Bucher on mountain bike
It's long, it's hard, it's technique, get ready to go through difficult times. But the views are gorgeous and the descent is fantastically long.
6 points of interest
Mountain glacierSince the beginning of the Quaternary (2.58 million years ago) glacial periods have shaped the landscape. In a progression phase, the glaciers move forward and dig a hole in the ground. Sometimes they meet harder rocks which they "bypass". At their moving, they leave behind valleys. The hard rocks left behind can form mountain glaciers: hills that make the valley higher and much more narrow. In history, mountain glaciers were strategic venues for homeland defence, like the Fort Queyras.
HoverfliesOften confused with wasps, hoverflies are diptera (a single pair of wings). They have the distinction of having sharp changes in direction, and to practice hovering. They are harmless and very useful. The larvae feed on aphids and protect gardens. As for adults, they feed on pollen and nectar. They play an important role in pollination. Their presence is evidence of biological and ecological wealth. These are very fine quality and environmental diversity indicators. Inventories help to guide management, especially forestry, as it was developed in the National Nature Reserve of Lake Remoray in the Doubs and Jura.
Pointe de la SelleMount Pointe de a Selle is the last summit of Queyras said to be of "limestone". Composed of jurassic limestone,it is surrounded by soft rock (gypsum to the west and shiny schist to the east). During the last ice age, the glaciers have carved the softer rocks. Here, they have scraped the gypsum and the schist. In their moving, they left the less easy to erode rocks.
SinkholesThe sinkholes are circular depressions in the ground. The disintegration of surface limestone (reference made here to gypsum) causes a weakening, leading to its collapse which may be slow or sudden. Their bottom, often waterproof and rich, promotes the development of vegetation. It is advised to be careful going into this "Swiss cheese".
GypsumThe gypsum plaster stone, is a rock which comes from salt crystallisation. It forms in lagoons where salt water is trapped. The water evaporates and leaves salt masses that crystallize. This rock is very sensitive to the action of water. The hydration and dehydration causes increases or decreases of the volume of Gypsum. This characteristic can lead to collapses. The significant erosion of white ruin ravine and sinkholes are examples.
Montbardon, time for a breakAfter all that exhausting descent, another break before heading for the track? Montbardon offers a view of the gorges of the Guil and the comfortable places to enjoy it. A craving? Go to the Fromagerie (cheese shop) in the village centre. It processes in particular goat milk from goats that are year-round in the village.
Cross the bridge at the end of the parking lot, turn right and follow the road. At the first intersection, go straight and go up. Follow the forest road for a climb on 11km until reaching the grazing meadows.
1 - Turn right towards the Saint Simon chapel. Many cattle tracks were formed here, stay on the level as much as possible until you reach the Col des Prés de Fromage. From there, continue to the right towards the Col du Fromage. The trail is wide and smooth, on a descending false flat.
2 - Reach a meadow with a fountain and a picnic table surrounded by a fence. Go across the fence, cross the stream and go back into the forest on a steep and narrow path. After a few curves, reach a peak and go left on an aerial path surrounded by sinkholes.
3 - 300m before the Col Fromage, descend on the right (the detour at the Col Fromage still offers a spectacular view). Down a steep and technical single track with hairpin bends, steps, stony passages and passages much smoother over several kilometres. Leave a parking lot on the right and a bridge on the left and continue down. The descent becomes less demanding to end in a false flat to reach Montbardon.
4 - Cross this hamlet and take a track that remains leveled. At the bridle, stay left and go down the track to access the road uphill. From there, turn left, go down slowly and turn right at the intersection. Follow the road to go back to the starting point.
- Departure : Queyras Château
- Arrival : Queyras Château
- Towns crossed : Château-Ville-Vieille, Molines-en-Queyras, Ceillac, and Guillestre
05 Voyageur: 04 92 502 505 Tourist Office of Queyras: 04 92 46 76 18
Access and parking
Just before Chateau Queyras, take the road going down to the right towards the car park of the via ferrata. Turn right at the bridle and the next crossing on the left. Cross a bridge on the left which leads directly to the parking lot.
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