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7 Spring hikes around Saint-Gervais-les-Bains

As winter loosens its grip, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains 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 to challenging routes revealing mountain vistas, these hikes showcase this idyllic location during spring. Plus, the 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 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.

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The top spring hikes around Saint-Gervais-les-Bains

1. Mont d’Arbois loop from Demi-Quartier

Distance: 10.9km
Duration: 3h 45m
Elevation gain: 586m

This intermediate hiking tour takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete, covering a distance of 10.9km and ascending 586 metres in elevation. This tour demands relatively good fitness but offers easily accessible paths, making it suitable for varying skill levels. Plus, the starting point is conveniently reachable via public transport.

A notable highlight of the hike is the breathtaking view of Mont Blanc, providing a picturesque backdrop throughout the journey. Additionally, there’s a charming park along the route, offering an ideal spot to pause and enjoy a picnic, making this hike perfect for a springtime outing.

A map of the Mont d'Arbois loop from Demi-Quartier
Maplibre | © komoot | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

2. Le Mont Joly

Distance: 17.1km
Duration: 7h 9m
Elevation gain: 1186m
(There are shorter routes available, see below.)

Embark on a scenic hiking adventure leading you to the summit of Mont-Joly, towering at an elevation of 2525m. Upon reaching the summit, a breathtaking 360° panorama unfolds, offering stunning views of Mont-Blanc, the Beaufortain, the Aravis, and the Fiz mountain ranges.

For the more athletic enthusiasts, the journey can commence from Le Bettex. Begin by following the Chateluy trail towards Mont d’Arbois, then proceed to Mont-Joux and onward to the Mont-Joly refuge. The final stretch involves an invigorating ascent, rewarding hikers with unparalleled vistas. The return journey retraces the same scenic route to get you home.

Map showing the route from Le Bettex - Mount Joly
The route from Le Bettex – Mount Joly © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap

For added convenience, an alternative starting point is available by taking the gondola from Saint-Gervais to Mont d’Arbois. This option reduces the ascent time by 1 hour and 15 minutes, offering a time-saving and comfortable experience for less confident hikers.

Alternatively, why not begin from Saint-Nicolas de Véroce and the Plateau de la Croix, with access provided through the refuge and the quaint hamlet of Porcherey? This route provides additional options for exploration, showcasing the versatility of the Mont-Joly hiking experience.

3. In the footsteps of the first guides

Distance: 7.8km
Duration: 3-3.5h
Elevation gain: 300m

Starting off from Champel, a vantage point overlooking Val Montjoie, this family-friendly trail offers an immersive journey into the rich history of mountaineering. Spanning a distance of 7.8 kilometres, the trail typically takes between 3 to 3.5 hours to complete.

Ideal for families seeking both an active and cultural experience, this trail is not only free of charge but also welcomes pets to join the adventure.

A map of the route named In the footsteps of the first guides
Leaflet | Esri | © IGN | © OpenStreetMap | TouristicMaps

4. Le Tour de la Tête de Charme

Distance: 4.7km
Duration: 1h 30m
Elevation gain: 239m

Discover this scenic adventure by boarding the Tramway du Mont-Blanc from the TMB car park in Saint-Gervais. In just 30 minutes, the tramway winds its way through picturesque mountain pastures and forests, transporting you to the enchanting Col de Voza.

From the Col de Voza via the TMB, follow the path beneath the ski lift, situated on the left side upon disembarking from the train. At the first intersection, proceed straight ahead. After approximately 20 minutes, at the junction of Prarion and La Charme, make a left turn towards La Charme. Continue along the wide, flat track, passing a farm, and make a right turn uphill after 100m (ignoring the downhill track opposite). After 45 minutes, ascend straight to the top of the hump, then take a left to join a more distinct path.

After an hour of trekking, you’ll reach the Hôtel du Prarion, where you should turn right, descending towards the Col de Voza to reconnect with the Tramway du Mont-Blanc.

A noteworthy highlight of this trek is the opportunity to watch paragliders taking off just after the Charme farm, particularly in the afternoon and evening, as the site faces west.

This family-friendly excursion is best enjoyed from mid-May to October. Check the website (French only) for specific opening times, ensuring a delightful and memorable experience amidst the natural beauty of the Charme trail.

A map of the route of Le Tour de la Tête de Charme
Leaflet | Esri | © IGN | © OpenStreetMap | TouristicMaps

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5. Bionnassay – Nid d’Aigle

Distance: 7km
Duration: 8h
Elevation gain: 1144m

This challenging hike retraces the footsteps of the valley’s pioneering chamois hunters, where the journey towards the glacial world unfolds gradually. The trail, starting in the forest, ascends through mountain pastures and meadows, offering a dynamic shift in vegetation and a cooler temperature. As you make your way, the Bionnassay glacier comes into view, and eventually, you skirt its edges until you reach the Nid d’Aigle. And a passage equipped with cables and metal steps adds a touch of adventure to your ascent.

For the descent, a convenient option is to take the Tramway du Mont Blanc (TMB) to the Col de Voza. This descent provides breathtaking views of the Bionnassay glacier and the picturesque Combe de Tricot.

Commencing from the Saint-Gervais Tourist Office, the trail leads to the village of Bionnassay. Heading towards Les Contamines and turning left at Bionnassay, follow the small mountain road to the starting point at the Le Crozat car park. The route begins by descending slightly down the road above the village of Bionnassay, then taking the first left path leading to the Nid d’Aigle.

Along the way, significant waypoints include the Planet (approx 35 minutes in), where you continue straight on a charming grassy path. At approximately 1h10 into the hike, you’ll come across an intersection of paths; after a robust climb, you ignore the path on the left indicating “Bellevue” and proceed straight. As the terrain levels out at 1h15 in the flat section of Are, continue straight ahead, avoiding the path to the right towards “La passerelle du glacier.” At 1h25, as the flat section concludes, the slope rises, guiding you on a winding path to the Nid d’Aigle.

Reaching the Nid d’Aigle at 3h15, you’ve conquered the steepest part of the climb and stand at the gateway to the high mountains. Adjacent to the Refuge du Nid d’Aigle, savour the trail you’ve conquered before beginning the descent along the same route.

A map showing the route from Bionnassay - Nid d'Aigle
Leaflet | Esri | © IGN | © OpenStreetMap | TouristicMaps

6. Tour de la Crête

Distance: 7.8km
Duration: 4h
Elevation gain: 452m

This walk, characterised by pleasant strolls through woodlands and intermittent steep climbs, forms a loop from the Chattrix to the Communailles, offering exploration at two different elevations.

As you set out from the Chattrix car park, the local heritage immediately captures your attention, featuring the Chattrix chapel and traditional farmhouses in the Plans hamlet. A short ascent to Les Truz in the forest reveals stunning views of the Aravis range, the V of the Cluses valley extending towards Geneva, and the intricate stone lacework of the Fiz range. Continue towards Le Sautet, where glimpses of old farmhouses with traditional “boerne” fireplaces add to the charm.

Arriving at the Sautet farm, take the Chemin du Crey du Tour. From this vantage point, admire the Mont Blanc Massif and portions of the Aiguilles de Chamonix, offering a breathtaking panorama. Traverse the forested path, shaded by spruce trees, with the soothing sounds of the Tour and Tarchet torrents accompanying your journey, occasionally passing under the path and through wooded points that carve out gorges with schistose walls.

After navigating gentle ascents and descents, the path emerges from the forest onto the Crête before leading to Les Communailles. Revel in the expansive panorama extending to the Aiguilles Rouges, which face the Aiguilles de Chamonix, with the legendary TMB line forming a diagonal in the distance. Cross Les Communailles, briefly following the tarmac road, then turn left onto the forest track guiding you back to Longemalle.

Along the route, encounter charming structures like a hayloft and a mazot, each serving unique purposes in the farming tradition. Descend from Longemalle towards Le Sautet and return to Les Chattrix through the original route. A slight detour allows you to appreciate the recently renovated Les Plans chapel.

The route is accessible from mid-May to mid-October.

A map of the route of the Tour de la Crête
Leaflet | Esri | © IGN | © OpenStreetMap | TouristicMaps

7. La Gruvaz – Le Truc – Alpage de Miage

Commencing from the Gruvaz car park, follow the 4×4 path leading to Maison Neuve, meandering through dense forests and open clearings. The well-marked trail guides you to the Truc mountain pasture, providing a spectacular vantage point with panoramic views of Mont Joly and the Dômes de Miage.

The descent to the Miage alpine pasture involves navigating a steep path, offering a breathtaking perspective of the torrent and the Miage chalets nestled below. In the foreground stands the Col du Tricot, reaching an elevation of 2120m.

From Miage, the route continues along a broad 4×4 path, ensuring an easy return to the Gruvaz car park. This hike, available for exploration from May to October, is well-suited for those with good walking training, as it traverses well-maintained paths and tracks.

Leaflet | Esri | © IGN | © OpenStreetMap | TouristicMaps

Discover all hiking routes in Saint-Gervais below…

The hikes around Saint-Gervais are particularly beautiful in spring, whether you’re travelling alone or in a group, as a couple or a family, from the most sedate to those who love a challenge.

However, even if you’re heading off on an adventure, don’t forget to be properly prepared when it comes to mountain safety. Before you set off, make sure you tell someone your route and find out the local emergency numbers. Your outing will be all the more enjoyable for it!

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