This fabulous forested walk with incredible views is a perfect morning or afternoon outing for active families.
- Difficulty: Medium
- Altitude: 1475m
- Ascent: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Descent: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Elevation gain: 337m
- Distance: 7.25km
There is plenty of free parking at the Col de Croix Fry. The walk starts from the end closest to Manigod and the Hotel les Sapins, which makes a great stop at the end of your walk.
The Climb to the Croix de Colomban
To find the start of the trail follow the road by Veyrat Sport to the first bend where you will find a signpost saying ‘Sous les Rosiers (nord)’. Take the shady footpath off the road towards ‘Croix de Colomban’ and ‘Sur les Frêtes’ which climbs gently through the forest. Shortly afterwards you will get the first of many incredible views over Mont Charvin, Mont Sulens and La Tournette. Continue on the path until you reach a small chalet on the left with more spectacular views.
From here take the footpath up into denser forest opposite the chalet. The footpath becomes steeper and more uneven underfoot. The path climbs fairly steadily for some time through the forest. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of the mountain ranges through the trees.
After 20-30 minutes the path levels out a fair bit and weaves it’s way through the forest and alpine pastures. These pastures occasionally contain grazing cattle so please ensure that you keep any dogs under control. When you are passing through the fields be sure to look over to the Col des Aravis, through which, on a clear day you can see Mont Blanc.
A final short climb brings you to the Bassin de Colomban where you will find a pretty wooden water trough where any thirsty dogs can have a well deserved drink. To get to the Croix from here, take the wider path to the left towards ‘Colomban’ and ‘Croix de Colomban’. Upon arriving at the open pastures of the Colomban you are treated to another incredible panoramic view of the entire Aravis mountain range, Mont Lachat and back over towards La Tournette. This makes for a lovely sunny picnic spot, but if you are after a spot of shade continue on for only five minutes to the Croix de Colomban.
The Croix de Colomban is a large metal cross which is typical of the Alps. It’s elevated situation gives you an impressive perspective when you look down to Thônes 1,000m below!
The Return Route to Croix Fry
After taking a well deserved break at the cross, return the way you came until you reach the Bassin de Colomban again. From there take the left fork up the hill towards ‘Sur les Frêtes’ and ‘Col de la Croix Fry’. After a short climb you will find yourselves atop a ridge of sorts with yet more stunning views, this time over the plateau de Beauregard and the Aravis mountain range.
The fairly level path takes you along the ridge, over roots and bedrock until you reach Sur les Frêtes at 1701m. From here the path descends, quite steeply in places, all the way down to Croix Fry. Keep an eye out for breaks in the trees where you can spot Mont Blanc again.
Before reaching Croix Fry the path levels out. Be sure to look out for the yellow arrows through this section as there are a number of intersecting trails and it is relatively easy to lose the correct path if you are not paying attention!
The walk finishes on a short descent from Les Maisons du Bois (sud) to the Col de la Croix Fry. As mentioned before, the large shady terrace at the Hotel les Sapins makes the perfect place to refuel after the walk.
Where to stay
Family friendly Chalet Arsene et Lea is only 1km from the Col de la Croix fry making it a perfect summer base for hiking and other activities. To view all of our four and five star properties visit OVO Network.