Classic Climbs of France, Day 7, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Glandon

Alan Gilbert
3 min readJun 28, 2023


This is part of a series of posts from my cycling trip to France to experience the “classic climbs” of the French Pyrénées, Alps, and Mont Ventoux.

Today’s Ride

Our routes so far in the Alps region. Today’s ride in red (with much of it repeated, out and back).


Today was spectacular. The weather was great with temps in the low 70s. My legs felt great. And the climbs and descents were magnificant. We checked out of the wonderful Hôtel Edelweis and started the day with an easy, flowing 2,500 ft. descent over 15 miles. Relaxing and beautiful. Then we started the long ascent up to Col de la Croix de Fer — 4,500 ft. over 19 miles. It was a long morning’s work, but never too steep and gorgeous the whole way. The highlight was riding along the beautiful Lac de Grand’Maison reservoir. My biggest problem was remembering what the top was called. Col, de, la, Croix, de, Fer.

As we approached the top, there was a photographer on the side of the road taking our pictures. They had a sign a few hundred feet up the road with their website, so that I could go back later and buy the photo. Pretty clever business model. We saw the same thing on Mont Ventoux. I actually bought this one for $20 (well worth it!) as shown below.

After we reached the top, we backtracked to Col du Glandon, which was mostly downhill and then a very short climb, maybe 100 ft. And then back down 4,200 ft to the Lac du Verney reservoir to catch a shuttle up to Alpe d’Huez. On the way down we stopped for a great lunch at a crêperie. A few of the more hard-core riders rode up the extra 3,500 ft., the back way up to Alpe d’Huez, in only 12 miles. Even without the avid section, this was our biggest day at 7,273 ft. and 59 miles.

Sadly, we had to leave the beautiful environs of the Hôtel Edelweiss in our rear view mirror
Starting the long climb up Le Croix de Fer
Up we go, along the Lac de Grand’Maison reservoir
Photo credit:
Lovely streams and waterfalls meandered through the landscape
After Col de la Croix de Fer, it was a quick run over to Col du Glandon