What Does it Take to Reach Level 12 on Zwift?

Alpe du Zwift is only available to Zwifters at Level 12 or higher, unless you access it with a friend or two). A GPS-perfect replica of the iconic Alpe d’Huez, this 1000 meter+ climb is the biggest in Zwift.

Some see it as an impossible goal, while others see it as another day at the office. Regardless, every Zwifter should attempt the Alpe at least once.

Above the clouds!

So what does it take to reach level 12 and gain unfettered access to the Alpe? If we take a look at XP, Levels, and Unlocks in Zwift Ride we see you need 23,000 points (XP) to hit level 12.

So how do you get those points, and just how much work will it take? Here’s one way to do it, with the numbers broken down:

  • Riding one lap of the Volcano Circuit on Watopia gets you 80 XP for the distance alone (4km x 20 XP).
  • You would also receive 10 points for crossing the start/finish banner each lap.
  • We’ll keep it simple and estimate you’ll get the Small Bonus power-up 1/4 of the time when you ride through the lap banner. That means you’ll get an extra 10 XP every fourth lap–averaging 2.5 XP per lap.
  • Add it all up and each Volcano Circuit lap will see you receiving 82.5 XP on average.
  • If you average 35km/hr you will complete a Volcano Circuit lap in 6:51. Let’s round that to 7 minutes.
  • 82.5 XP every 7 minutes equals 707 XP per hour of riding.
  • 23,000/707=32.53 hours needed to hit 23,000 XP.

And that’s your answer. Ride the Volcano Circuit route for less than 33 hours at a decent pace and you’ll hit level 12.

Get There Faster

Want to reach level 12 a little faster? Do 10 laps of the Volcano Circuit in one ride for a 1000XP bonus. Do 25 laps in one ride for another 1000XP! If you get both of these achievements you’ll knock your total time down to 29.7 hours.

Time to get to work! The Alpe awaits…

Eric Schlange
Eric Schlangehttp://www.zwiftinsider.com
Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava


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Kevin Swab
Kevin Swab
3 years ago

I’m a Zwift noob and love your site! I was able to hit level 12 in just over 20 hours. I wasn’t too scientific about it: I rode the Tour De Zwift (which kept speeds higher and times lower than what would be normal for me). I also tried the volcano laps trick you documented (10 laps on the TT bike). Otherwise, I just picked routes that were new to me with decent route achievement XP bonuses. 379.7 miles, 24,052 ft of climbing, 20h, 13m. (19 total rides) This even allowed for a little error – there were two rides… Read more »

3 years ago

Do 10 laps of the Volcano Circuit in one ride for a 1000XP bonus. Do 25 laps in one ride for another 1000XP! 

Do we get the 1000XP bonus each time after doing 10 laps? If so, wouldn’t it work better to stop the ride after 10 laps, and then start another one, to get 2000XP after 20 laps only instead of 25?

3 years ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

I see, makes sense. Thanks Eric!

3 years ago

thanks for all your awesome blog posts and tips. Do I gain XP crossing a banner while riding in a group ride? Riding by myself is boring..

Regina Crozier
Regina Crozier
3 years ago

Hiya, Love this site! I wasn’t doing much to get XP at all at first until finding this site. Once I knew how, I still managed level 12 in around 29 hours doing workouts in the 6 weeks FTP Builder for beginners while completing route badges at the same time. One exciting workout, I got four badges doing the Volcano Circuit x 5, then did a U-turn for the CCW plus the XP for the workout. Wished I knew the total XP for that ride. Lots of great advice on here!

3 years ago

Hi all, maybe something changed a year later, but now in order to climb Alpe de Zwift before reaching level 12, just select the Watopia Fire and I’ve route. The Alps starts at 12.9km in 🙂

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