It's impossible to ignore the draw of the mountains surrounding you in Aosta. Steep, severe and dramatic. The adventurer in all of us wants to know what lies at the top, to take in the highest view possible. What's difficult to comprehend until you physically get up into these mountains is the scale
Beyond Aosta town, the peaks you see from the valley floor give way to a whole plateau of amazing scenery and riding potential, with further mountain tops rising up through the terrain giving a whole new perspective and understanding of the word epic.
In anticipation of launching the Aosta Valley as a new destination to MTB Beds in 2019, we took several research trips to expand our knowledge of an area we've been riding for years. Toward the end of the Summer season in August, we hooked up with Daniele, one of our local contacts to explore something new.
Unfortunately due to a broken hand Daniele could not join us on the descent but was more than happy to get us on the right trail to ascend to the top of the mountain and hit the Becca France trail.
Sometimes you have to put the effort in!
Hopping aboard the Transporter we drove for half an hour through La Salle, backing onto Aosta city centre. Rising quickly through the valley the chalets are quickly replaced by trees and open countryside. Only the odd small farming refuge would break through the greenery.
Before we could get too settled in Daniele pulled up at the base of a fire road, heading straight up the hill and to our immediate left, but some 600m vertical up, the ridge line we were headed toward. Ever get the feeling when you're about to undertake an adventure that involves considerable effort, that feeling of excitement for how incredible it's going to be but that inner sense of trepidation? Well, you get plenty of that in Aosta, but climb in the knowledge that every pedal stroke is leading to something truly special.
The climb to Becca Franca's trail head is around 2 - 3 hours. If you were feeling fit and strong, without stopping to chill, take photos or get a bit lost, it could be done in under 2. Though It's a fairly gentle climb, it's long, forcing you away from the direction you'd rather go in in favour of less incline. Passing a couple of old farmsteads, it's a beautiful landscape up there. Almost moor like as it breaks through the trees and the vast alpine landscape opens up.
The effort is always worth it in Aosta
The trail starts with wide open landscapes and fast singletrack that cuts along the hillside, giving way at different points to some breath taking scenery, it takes effort to keep your concentration on the trail as you rail the corners, grinning ear to ear. This is the ridge you see from the bottom of the climb and t's every bit as awe inspiring as you think it's going to be here!
After a short detour to a stunning outcrop for some rampage-esque exposure for Rich and Fergus, we headed into the woods already full of stoke, unaware that we'd only ridden about 10% of the descent!
The views and the riding are out of this world!
Ducking and diving through incredible natural dips, corners, depressions and technical rock sections, this trail is mind blowing. So much variation, fun and tech in one trail. It sums up Aosta perfectly. It has steeps, roots, rocks, loam, pine needles, slow and fast. Though you must be respectful of nature and the fellow trail users such as hikers and farmers, it's tough not to get carried away!
We set out to ride the high alpine. But of course every trail has to find a way to the valley floor at some point and it's typical of this region that each and every trail throws in the unexpected.
This of course is but one of the many routes and trails on offer in the valley, and certainly not the only one with amazing views and epic ridgelines. Truly a treasure trove of outstanding riding not only in the Valley's network of trails but also in the bike parks of La Thuile, Pila and Cervinia.
Hunting For Ridgelines in Aosta
Becca France is an optional trail on our Aosta Valley Riders Week package. It also possible to ride on a day trip on your holiday in Morzine.
Climbing - 82m from trail head 663m from drop off point
Vertical Drop - 1049m
Fitness - 4
Skill Level - 4
To book onto our Aosta Valley Riders Weeks click the link below!