Prepping for the Vosges

Next month, we’ll be heading for Colmar, the self-proclaimed capital of Alsatian wine. While I’m sure that this title alone will make some of my readers go wild, I’m actually just going there because it’s an excellent place to start cycling trips through the Vosges mountains.

Gérardmer – or La Bresse – is probably the more popular choice among cyclists to set up their base camp, but I also want to squeeze in some rides in the Black Forest on the other side of the border, which makes Colmar the better choice.

Climbs in the VosgesThe Vosges mountain area can be divided in three areas: the High, Middle and Lower Vosges, basically corresponding to the height of the summits in each area. As the Vosges are rated ‘low mountains’, they do not rise above 1,500 meters. The highest summits are the Grand Ballon (1,424 m), the Storkenkopf (1,366 m) and Hohneck (1,364 m).

Some of these – like the Storkenkopf – cannot be cycled at all, or not with a normal road/race bike, but between the over 60 that can, and their various starting points, I’m certain that the midweek we’ve booked will not be enough to climb them all.

The Grand Ballon for instance, has no less than six alternatives, although there is some overlap: the climbs from Moosch and Saint Amarin join at Geishouse and the ones from Willer, Cernay, Soultz and Wattwiller join at the Col Amic, near Goldbach.

These are all approaching from the south (-east/-west) – if you want to reach the Grand Ballon from the north, you’ll have to get up le Markstein first – either from Oderen or via the Platzerwasel from Munster/Sondernach – and ride the plateau for some kilometers to reach the final towards the summit of the Grand Ballon.

One interesting ‘Gran Fondo’ challenge, is the ‘Les 3 Ballons‘: with 213 kilometers, and some 4,000 meters of elevation, featuring the Grand Ballon and the Ballon d’Alsace, it advertises as the ‘ideal preparation for the Marmotte Gran Fondo‘.

While I will certainly not be riding the full 213 kilometers, I will construct a stage that will probably have a harder elevation profile – Planche des Belles Filles is no longer part of the official 3 Ballons course, but I’m going to try and include it anyway 🙂

Name Altitude Start Details
Ballon d’Alsace 1,171 m Malvaux Info
Saint Maurice sur Moselle Info
Sewen Info
Ballon de Servance 1,158 m Col des Croix Info
Le Thillot Info
Plancher Bas Info
Servance Info
Col d’Oderen 884 m Cornimont Info
Kruth Info
Col de Boenlesgrab 865 m Buhl Info
Col de Bonne Fontaine 676 m Le Tholy Info
Tendon Info
Col de Bramont 956 m La Bresse Info
Wildenstein Info
Col de Bussang 727 m Le Thillot Info
Urbes Info
Col de Chenau 533 m Dommartin Les Remiremont Info
Vagney Info
Col de Firstplan 722 m D40 / D5 Info
Hattstatt Info
722 m Wihr au Val Info
Col de Fouchy 608 m Fouchy Info
Lièpvre Info
Col de Freland 830 m Beblenheim Info
Hachimette Info
Ribeauvillé Info
Sainte Marie aux Mines Info
Col de Grosse Pierre 954 m Gerardmer Info
La Bresse Info
Col de Hundsrucken 748 m Masevaux Info
Sentheim Info
Thann Info
Col de Kreuzweg 766 m Saint Martin Info
Saint Pierre Info
Col de la Burotte 791 m Saulxures sur moselotte Info
Vagney Info
Col de la Charbonnière 961 m Col de Steige Info
Fouday Info
Saint Martin Info
Saint Pierre Info
Col de la Chevestraye 611 m Belonchamp Info
Plancher Bas Info
Col de la Croix des Moinats 890 m Cornimont Info
La Bresse Info
Vagney Info
Col de la Schlucht 1,139 m Fraize Info
La Bresse Info
Le Kertoff Info
Munster Info
Xonrupt Info
Col de la Vierge 1,067 m Cornimont Info
Kruth Info
La Bresse Info
Col de Lauvy 893 m Cornimont Info
Col de Mandray 694 m Fraize Info
Col de Morbieux 791 m Ramonchamp Info
Saulxures sur moselotte Info
Col de Platzerwasel 1,183 m Munster Info
Col de Sainte Marie 772 m Sainte Marie aux Mines Info
Col de Sapois 834 m Gerardmer Info
Vagney Info
Col de Saverne 413 m Saverne Info
Col de Steige 537 m Saint Martin Info
Col des Bagenelles 903 m Hachimette Info
Sainte Marie aux Mines Info
Col des Chevrères 916 m Plancher Bas Info
Servance Info
Col des Croix 679 m Le Thillot Info
Servance Info
Col des Feignes sous Vologne 954 m Gerardmer Info
La Bresse Info
La Bresse Info
Col des Hayes 887 m Saulxures sur moselotte Info
Vagney Info
Col du Bonhomme 949 m Ammerschwihr Info
Plainfaing Info
Sainte Marie aux Mines Info
Saulcy Info
Col du Brabant 878 m Cornimont Info
La Bresse Info
Col du Calvaire 1,144 m Hachimette Info
Orbey Info
Col du Donon 727 m Abreschwiller Info
Luvigny Info
Moussey Info
Saint Quirin Info
Schirmeck Info
Col du Haut de Fouchure 798 m Gerbamont Info
Vagney Info
Col du Mont de Fourche 620 m Faucogney Info
Rupt sur Moselle Info
Saulx Info
Col du Page 957 m Bussang Info
Les Baranges Info
Col du Petit Drumond 1,150 m Bussang Info
Fellering Info
Col du Praye 785 m Moussey Info
Col du Pré de Raves 1,005 m Fraize Info
Sainte Marie aux Mines Info
Col du Wettstein 882 m Munster Info
Orbey Info
Col Haut de Ribeauvillé 742 m Ribeauvillé Info
Sainte Marie aux Mines Info
Collet du Linge 987 m Munster Info
Turckheim Info
Weier Info
Grand Ballon 1,343 m Cernay Info
Moosch Info
Saint Amarin Info
Soultz Info
Wattwiller Info
Willer sur Thur Info
Grand Ventron 1,148 m Cornimont Info
Les Baranges Info
Grand Wintersberg 581 m Leitzelthal – N62 Info
Niederbronn les Bains Info
Haut du Tot 868 m Crémanvillers Info
Le Tholy Info
Sapois Info
Vagney Info
Haut Koenigsbourg 707 m Kintzheim Info
Lièpvre Info
Saint Hippolyte Info
Lachtelweiher 755 m Kirchberg Info
Le Collet 1,110 m Plainfaing Info
Xonrupt Info
Xonrupt (via le lac de Retournemer) Info
Le Markstein 1,184 m Buhl Info
Oderen Info
Le salbert 651 m Cravanche Info
Mont Sainte Odile 761 m Barr Info
Ottrott Info
Ottrott (via Saint Nabor) Info
Petit Ballon 1,163 m Metzeral Info
Munster Info
Wihr au Val Info
Station de Champ du feu 1,099 m Fouday Info
Obernai Info
Saint Pierre Info
Schirmeck Info
Ville Info
Station de la Planche des Belles Filles 1,148 m Plancher les mines Info
Station du Gaschney 985 m Muhlbach Info
Station du Rouge Gazon 1,105 m Saint Maurice sur Moselle Info
Vieil Armand 906 m Cernay Info
Wattwiller Info