A 5 stars road to Col d’Izoard in the French Alps

By dangerousroads

Col d’Izoard is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2,367m (7,765ft) above sea level located in the Hautes-Alpes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France.

Col d'Izoard


Where is Col d’Izoard?

The pass is located in the southeastern part of the country. Part of the scenic Route des Grandes Alpes, it’s one of the great passes of the French Alps.

When was the road to Col d’Izoard built?

Few Alpine passes are more mythic than the Izoard. The first road over the otherworldly, lunar landscape of the Col d’Izoard was constructed in 1710, and the current one was built between 1893 and 1897 by an army General, Henry Berge.

Is Col d’Izoard paved?

The road to the summit is totally paved. It’s called D902.

How long is Col d’Izoard?

The pass is 19.8 km (12.30 miles) long, running north-south from Cervières to Arvieux. The road to the summit is steep, hitting a maximum gradient of 12% through some of the ramps. It gets a decent amount of traffic in summer.

Is Col d’Izoard open?

Set high in the French Alps, this road is usually impassable from late October through late June or early July.

Is the road through Col d’Izoard worth it?

From the green wooded mountainsides above Briançon to the sandy-colored, eroded cliffs above the Casse Deserte and the Col, the scenery is amazing. At a certain altitude, the scenery completely changes and becomes widespread and rocky.

Why is Col d’Izoard so famous?

It’s one of the most famous mountain passes in history. While it’s rightly famous for the part it has played in Tour de France history, the Giro d’Italia has ascended it many times. There are certain climbs in the world of cycling that capture the imagination, not just because of their difficulty and/or beauty, but because of their place in the annals of cycling history. Also known as the Casse Desert, the road hosted many great duels in the 1950s between the legendary Italian Fausto Coppi (the first to win the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in the same year) and the French Louison Bobet (the first to win three Tours in succession in 1953, 1954, and 1955). A small cycling museum is at the summit, and on the southern side of the Col d’Izoard, 2 km from the top, there’s a memorial to Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet in the Casse Deserte.
Image credit: Depositphotos