As winter loosens its grip, Chamonix emerges from its chilly slumber, offering a fresh perspective for outdoor enthusiasts. In this post, we’ll guide you through a curated selection of trails that capture the essence of the season.
From leisurely strolls along flower-lined paths to more challenging routes revealing panoramic mountain vistas, these hikes showcase the natural beauty that blossoms around this idyllic alpine location during the spring months. Plus, the Mont Blanc region is home to some great gentle hikes which are ideal for families of novice hikers. So lace up your hiking boots and join us as we navigate through the rejuvenating landscapes of Chamonix!
The top spring hikes around Chamonix
1. The “Trios Gouilles”
Elevation gain: 250m
Discover this journey through a natural, shaded path adorned with three picturesque ponds, known as “gouilles.” The adventure begins from the Vieux Servoz, where you follow the D 13 road from Passy for approximately 600m. A pathway on the right leads from the parking of Saint Croix, merging with the route from the village. Ascend through the forest, until you reach an altitude of around 1040m, where the first gully awaits. Keep going, pass under the parking of the Coast, descend to the right near the second gully (crossing a bridge), and then find the third gully before reaching the pinnacle of the village.
Alternative routes from Servoz provide extra options for varying levels. For more details, visit the Tourist Office, the Office de Haute-Montagne, or consult the Chamonix trail guide. Be cautious, as trail conditions may change, so make sure you gather updated information before embarking on your journey.
Despite its impressive features, this trail is easy to complete, particularly along the valley bottom. The 2.5km distance unfolds amidst a starting point altitude of 850m, with the highest point reaching 1070m. The elevation gain and losses balance out at 250m each, and the round trip can be managed within a leisurely 2 hours.
So, whether you are a novice hiker or seeking a tranquil nature escape, this trail promises a pleasant and accessible adventure through the idyllic landscapes surrounding Vieux Servoz.
Elevation gain: 900m
Situated within the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve, Lac Blanc offers a captivating frozen vista, showcasing the Massif and its Aiguilles.
Starting from the village of Argentière, the journey unfolds with a right-hand path through the Bois du Plagnolet. Navigate a series of switchbacks, ascending to the Baraque Forestière at 1865 m. Ascend further above the forest to reach the Chalets des Chéserys at 1998m within a 2-and-a-half-hour timeframe. For those seeking higher altitudes, the trek can extend to Lac Blanc.
Alternatively, Lac des Chéserys is accessible from the top of the Flégère cable car or the Col des Montets. Keep in mind that trail conditions may fluctuate, so check before heading out.
With a challenging difficulty level marked by a high gradient, the 9.6km journey spans from a starting point altitude of 1259m up to 2159m. The elevation gain and losses balance at 900m each, and the round trip takes an estimated 5 hours. This demanding yet rewarding trek promises stunning views and a deep immersion into the natural wonders of the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve.
3. The Gures Trail
Elevation gain: 120m
Perched above the Le Chatelard road and railway tunnels lies an ancient Celtic camp, steeped in historical significance. Commencing from Vieux Servoz, the journey towards Le Châtelard takes you past the Pont des Lanternes, where the first path on the right ascends the Gures massif. Traverse the plateau amidst lush vegetation to uncover the remnants of this ancient camp, offering insights into the lives of Allobroges, Ceutrons, and others. Noteworthy landmarks, such as the Stone of Sacrifice, the Dolmen of Laby, and the Table, punctuate the exploration. Keep an eye out for a subtle Roman gallery adjacent to the ascending road tunnel, too.
For those seeking an extended route, the Berges de l’Arve rive droite path spans from Pont des Lanternes to Pont de l’Avenue in 1.5 hours. It’s crucial to remain vigilant as trail conditions are subject to change, so if in doubt, check with the Tourist Office for more information.
Despite the trail’s historical richness and cultural significance, its ease is reflected in the ‘valley bottom’ difficulty level. Covering a distance of 2.6km, the trail begins at an altitude of 820m, reaching the highest point of 940m. With a modest elevation gain and loss of 120m each, the round trip can be comfortably completed within a leisurely 2 hur timeframe. This gentle exploration not only unveils the Celtic past but also allows hikers to absorb the scenic beauty of the surroundings at a relaxed pace.
4. Lac Vert
Duration: 1h 35m
Elevation gain: 188m
Lac Vert is nestled in the embrace of the Rochers des Fiz and was formed after the Le Dérochoir landslide. The trail is accessible by car and also features a chalet restaurant.
Commencing the journey from the La Côte hamlet’s end, a forested path, intersecting with the one from the departmental road, guides you to Lac Vert. For a panoramic view, you could consider extending the hike to Plaine-Joux or le Châtelet.
Alternatively, embark from Vieux Servoz or the village centre, which requires around 2 hours of ascent.
Marked by its ‘valley bottom’ difficulty level, the 2.4 km trail commences at an altitude of 1082m, reaching its highest point at 1270m. With an elevation gain and loss of 188m each, the round trip can be comfortably completed within a leisurely 1 hour and 35 minutes, ensuring a family-friendly day out by the water.
5. Argentière to Lac des Cheserys
Elevation gain: 900m
Located within the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve, Lac Blanc offers a unique panorama of the Massif and its Aiguilles.
For those venturing from the village of Argentière, the journey begins by taking the right-hand path through the Bois du Plagnolet. Ascending through a series of switchbacks to the Baraque Forestière (1865m), hikers can explore the Chalets des Chéserys (1998m) within 2.5 hours. From there, the adventure continues to Lac Blanc, situated a bit higher up.
Alternatively, access to Lac des Chéserys is available from the top of the Flégère cable car or the Col des Montets.
The difficulty of this trail is marked by a high gradient, so it’s a relatively demanding journey. Covering a distance of 9.6km, the route spans from a starting point altitude of 1259m up to 2159m. With an elevation gain and loss of 900m each, the round trip requires approximately 5 hours.
Please note, swimming is now prohibited at Lac Blanc and Lacs des Chéserys to preserve mountain lakes.
6. The Barberine Waterfall trail
Duration: 1h 30m
Elevation gain: 97m
Situated beneath the Emosson dam, the waterfall is an impressive display, especially during periods of increased river flow.
Starting in the picturesque hamlet of Mollard, a scenic path meanders through meadows, which transforms into a trail. Following the Nant du Rand, a small stream, the upper path along the hillside converges with the one from Barberine, leading towards the waterfall.
Upon completion, head home via the same route and explore the village of Barberine along the way.
From a starting point altitude of 1251m to the highest point at 1322m, with a modest elevation gain and loss of 97m, the round trip is estimated to take around 1 hour and 30 minutes. This trail not only invites nature enthusiasts to revel in its simplicity but also offers a glimpse into the cultural richness of Vallorcine.
7. The Granite Path
Elevation gain: 68m
Embark on a thematic trail unveiling the secrets of the “Tailleurs de Pierre” sector, where many architectural elements in Chamonix, such as brackets, window frames, and paving stones, originate.
Commencing from Les Bois village, pass by the Biathlon shooting range, traverse the Arveyron, and direct your steps towards the Norway sector. Follow the markers guiding you along the thematic trail, offering insights into the history and significance of the stonecutting trade.
Marked by its ‘easy’ difficulty level, this 1.9 km journey begins at an altitude of 1096m, reaching its highest point at 1153m. With a gentle elevation gain and loss of 68m each, the round trip is anticipated to take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Beyond the picturesque landscapes, this trail offers a cultural immersion into the heritage of Chamonix, unravelling the stories behind the stones that shape the town’s architectural character.
If you’re walking with young children or dogs, be careful of the fast-flowing river when you head back into town.