Alpe d’Huez – via the Pas de la Confession balcony road.

This guide provides you with the Alpe d’Huez alternative route. On this ride, you will be incorporating the lesser-known climb of the Pas de la Confession. This is a magnificent balcony road that eventually links up and joins with the more infamous hairpins of Alpe d’Huez.

To ride the Alpe d’Huez alternative route you will depart from Bourg-d’Oisans and head towards the village of Rochetaillée before turning onto the D526. Once you reach Lac du Vernery you will turn onto the D44b and begin the climb known as the Pas de la Confession. This is a balcony road that traces a ridgeline along the side of the mountain. From here you have commanding views back down across the valley. Just before the village of Huez, you will take a short descent and then link up with the infamous hairpin road of the more traditional climb of Alpe d’Huez. From here continue climbing until you reach the summit.

Views of the hairpins on the Alpe d'Huez cycling climb in French Alps

Quick Stats

Gradient profile of Alpe d'Huez alternate route

Alpe d’Huez (alternative route) via Pas de la Confession

Length: 19.5km / 12.1mi

Average gradient: 5.6%

Start point: Borg d’Oisans

Elevation at top: 1,815m / 5,955ft

Ride suggestion

Distance: 46.5km / 28.9mi

Start elevation: 720m / 2,361ft

Max elevation: 1,858m / 6,088ft

Metres climbed: 1,340m / 4,395ft

Metres descended: 1,340m / 4,395ft

Categorised climbs: 1


  • Riding the lesser known Pas de la Confession – balcony road which traces the ridge line of the mountain before linking up with the road to Alpe d’Huez.

Food and water

We recommend setting off with plenty of food and water before leaving Bourg-d’Oisans. You can top up once you reach the village of Huez or even at the summit of Alpe d’Huez itself where there are plenty of cafes to choose from.

Discover our comprehensive guide to Cycling in the French Alps

The Pas de la Confession balcony road climb of Alpe d’Huez is just one of many great cycling routes in the French Alps which you can enjoy. This area of the French Alps is very popular with cyclists year-round owing to the great weather and variety of terrain on offer.

If you are not familiar with this region then, our comprehensive guide will help you plan everything you need for your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:

  • a map of the French Alps with climbs and towns marked
  • where to base yourself whist on your cycling holiday
  • cycling hotels and lodges
  • bike hire outlets
  • getting to and from the French Alps
  • non-cycling attractions and activities in the region

Click here to see a list of cycling routes available in the French Alps.